What is NAP and Best Practices- Local SEO

local search results
local search results

What is NAP

NAP is an acronym short for “name, address, phone”. In SEO NAP is a reference to your location listing(s). The goal is to be consistent both on and off your website with how you represent your brand and your location(s) contact information. This will help your authority, which will, therefore, help your rankings locally.

Where is NAP

NAP is everywhere. It’s the “local pack” listings on Google, it’s your Yelp listing, NerdWallet listing, Bing/Apple/Google maps location listing, it’s your “contact us” address and phone listing on your own webpage – it’s anywhere a listing representing your location (brand or storefront) is listed.

If you are a new business, you’re probably making your listings from scratch so heeding the advice presented in this article now, will save you months of edits in the future. Businesses that have been around a while or have multiple locations – you’re in this for the long haul! But like anything in SEO the work you put in now, will be worth it down the road!

How does NAP affect SEO

The way your address and phone number are listed within directories or on your or other websites may not seem like a big deal – Road, Rd, Rd., it’s all the same, right? WRONG! When it comes to Google and other SERPs we’ve gotten away from exact match keyword phrases and gone semantic with our content, but the same cannot be said for our listings. Spelled out, abbreviated, abbreviated with a period; to Google, these are 3 separate and different listings, this is the case with different phone numbers as well. And having these separate and different listings affects your SEO – your website and listing authority to be exact.

Not to worry, as all good SEO-ers know, if Google has explicitly said “this” is a factor important in your SEO rankings, you can bet there is a coder who has built a tool to acknowledge said factor! There are a number of NAP and citation tools available that will review the internet and scan directory sites for variations of your location listing(s) and provide you with a list to begin tackling – or pay an agency or tool to fix for you.

Implementation and Best Practices

So where to start? Well as Google rules the world of SEO, it’s always been a best practice to follow their word, in this case, it’s a designated naming convention. If you haven’t already – be sure to create a Google My Business listing for each of your locations (HERE is a step-by-step article we’ve written on the process). Google will send a postcard or call the location for verification. Once your location has been verified and published, use the Google-provided address, exactly, (down to Road, Rd, or Rd.) as your set listing address name and phone number, and do not stray from the prescribed wording. Next, make sure your website and social media sites are lists the address correctly – if it’s in email signatures, business cards, letterhead (OK we’re getting a little extreme here), the point is anywhere this address and phone number exist that YOU have the ability to change or edit to be correct, do so! Then, plug this address and phone number into a citation analysis tool such as MozLocal, WhiteSpark, or BrightLocal and follow the steps the tool provides to edit, add or suppress listings of your business.

If you’re new to the game a tool like Yext is going to be your “quick and dirty” secret weapon to getting over 100 listings nearly instantly for your location – but it’s still best to start with a GMB listing for naming convention, you just won’t have as much cleanup to do!

So, Am I Done?

SEO is never done. Be sure to continually monitor your listings, new ones could pop up or user-provided data could alter old location listings rendering them incorrect. It’s also good to monitor for reviews on these directories as reviews are another ranking factor of Google.

In Summary…

Be on top of your location data! Take the version of your address that Google provides (Suite, #, STE, etc.) and treat it like gold – if you don’t have a Google My Business listing for each of your locations, make one ASAP! Use the Google provided address to modify listings you find using a citation analysis tool and edit your website with it as well. Don’t set it and forget it – keep an eye on the tool you choose to use, not only for duplicates and incorrect listings but also for user reviews and sentiment.

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