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Your SEO needs a NAP. Why?

SEO is a great investment in your business. In fact, if you’re a local company, local SEO is one of the most effective SEO strategies you can implement for your business.

Regarding your NAP and local SEO, your NAP is an acronym for your business Name, Address and Phone. You not only need a NAP. You also need a consistent NAP across the internet.

Your NAP impacts how your company fares on SEO across the internet–and particularly for local seo. Having a consistent NAP and company URL on multiple sites across the internet can help robots know that you’re a legitimate business in a specific region.

Your NAP can help your local business advance in the search engine return pages (SERPs)–particularly in your local area. This is called “local SEO.”

It may sound simple. But it’s not. We run reports that show many clients do not fare well in local SEO. And we can help.

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 Hwy 14
  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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Nancy Burgess

Nancy Burgess is the owner of Nancy Burgess Strategic Marketing, a marketing consulting firm and online agency. In that role, she integrates her corporate success as a digital marketer along with her marketing agency experience in marketing communications and branding to help businesses prosper. Nancy's specialties are search engine optimization (SEO) and content creation. She graduated from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana, holds a master's degree, and also multiple marketing certificates from DePaul University's graduate school. She is a frequent presenter on SEO strategies and has worked in digital marketing since the late 1990s. As someone who can strategize AND execute, Nancy offers digital and traditional marketing services to SMBs. Agency value without agency fees. Along with SEO and content strategies, Nancy's agency offers website design, marketing automation, integrated marketing strategies, and branding to her clients.