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SEO, strategy, websites

Why SEO Needs a NAP

Your SEO needs a NAP. Why?

If you’re thinking, “Nancy’s finally giving the whole SEO thing a rest!” That’s not true. 😉

While I can definitely understand that sentiment, I remain passionate about SEO as a marketing strategy–because I’ve seen how effectively it works. And it’s measurable. SEO is a great investment in your business

Regarding your NAP and SEO, your NAP is an acronym for your business Name, Address and Phone. You not only need a NAP. You need a consistent NAP across the internet. These are factors that impact how your company fares across the internet. Having your consistent NAP and company URL on multiple sites across the internet, can help your local business advance in the search engine return pages (SERPs).

It may sound simple. But it’s not. If you think you’ve got this (and maybe you do), scroll to the green box at the bottom of this page to generate your company’s  local seo report.

The N in NAP Is for Your Company’s Name

First, your company’s name needs to appear consistently for SEO.

Do you call your business Acme, Acme, Inc. or LLC? Do you use a comma between the two? A period between the initials? If so, this needs to be consistent on all sites, such as Google My Business, Facebook, LinkedIn, Foursquare, Pinterest, Twitter, Yelp, Angie’s List and other places where your business appears.

Along with your address and phone, your name needs to be on every single page of your website, too.

Example of Inconsistent Use of a Business Name Across 5 Sites:

  1. Acme   
  2. Acme, Inc.         
  3. Acme Inc.          
  4. Acme Inc
  5. Acme, Inc

In most cases, you’ll want to use your spelling of your company the way it appears on the document you submitted when incorporating your business (if you’re incorporated). If not, just be consistent across all those sites.

The A in NAP Is for Your Business Address

Again, make your address consistent across all social media channels, listings, publishers, and aggregators. Apple Maps, Google, Bing Places, and MapQuest are just a few places where you’ll also want to have your correct address.

Example of Inconsistent Business Addresses Across 5 Sites:

  1. 123 W. NW Highway
  2. 123 W. Northwest Hwy
  3. 123 West Northwest Highway
  4.  123 W Northwest Hwy
  5. 123 W. Northwest Hwy.

A best practice is to abbreviate the cardinal directions (N,S, E, W). In addition, abbreviate Hwy, Blvd, St, Rd etc. I prefer to skip the periods as the postal service does (Example 4 above), but your company may choose to use them.

The P in NAP Is for Your Business Phone

This may seem relatively straightforward, but do you choose to use your 800 number or your local number? Do you have multiple numbers? Based on the research that I’ve done, opinions vary. But, for local businesses, I generally recommend using one consistent local number across all listings, publishers,and aggregators.

Example of Inconsistent Business Phone Across 3 Sites:

  1. (847) 123-4567
  2. (800) 123-4567
  3. (312) 123-4567

Challenges in Your NAP

Here are a few opportunities I’ve seen in working with companies who are enhancing their SEO.

  • Not having a NAP document that all your employees use consistently
  • Moving and not updating all your listings
  • Changing phone numbers (eg, old area code) or switching from a landline to a cell phone
  • Switching between phone numbers
  • Updating to an SSL website (https://) and not changing your URL on social media and other listings
  • Being listed on too few sites
  • Not knowing or understanding about the importance of citations
  • Not having a NAP on your website (ask your web developer to use a schema markup)
  • Only having the NAP on your contact page

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