Every industry has its acronyms. For Local SEO, one you’re most likely to hear a lot is NAP. It stands for Name, Address, and Phone number. NAP plays a critical role in getting your business listing onto the map of local search results.
These main bits of information are essential for your local marketing efforts and you must handled them correctly – and if you don’t, your local online presence could be lost in the digital-sphere. It is critically imperative that the NAP be consistent not only throughout your website, but also anywhere it listed online. Why? Because search engines use NAP data when figuring out which companies to display in area-targeted searches. If your NAP is inconsistent across the Internet, it will damage your business local SEO efforts.
Here’s what’s most important as you work on your NAP:
Search engines use NAP as a way to verify the existence of a business. In order for the search engine to confirm the existence and legitimacy of your business, it is programmed to ensure that every data point matches exactly.
How bad is it if your NAP is inaccurate? Bad. A conflicting NAP is one of the main negative local ranking issues impacting how a business is locally ranked. In fact, according to a recent Google study, the number one negative ranking factor is a listing detected at a phony or incorrect business location. The same study said the number three negative factor is a conflicting NAP. Obviously, these kinds of inaccuracies will be detrimental to your local SEO efforts if they’re not quickly revised.
Accuracy is one issue, and consistency is another. The NAP information on Yelp.com must be consistent with Foursquare, which must also be consistent with Kudzu, and so on throughout the entire Internet. You might be surprised to see how many business listings online are out there for your business that are incorrect – a wrong street number, a misspelling, or even an incorrect phone number. Once you start looking, you’ll probably wonder how these incorrect NAP elements got out there, because certainly if you’d created the listing, it would have been correct!
Sometimes the problem originates with a change in your business contact information. It’s not always easy to maintain consistency, especially in today’s fast changing business environment. For example, you may decide to move, or get an 800 number, or make a small change to the business name. So how do you ensure that all your NAP listings are consistent? You can either hire somebody or do it yourself. Most small business owners don’t have time for this so hiring someone is the only sensible option. NAP Placement When it comes to local SEO, your NAP should be generating local citations. It’s important that your NAP appears in any and all legitimate directories, especially local and industry related directories. Aim to get listings in your local Chamber of Commerce directory, Yelp, Citysearch.com, BBB, and many more.
Pay particular attention to getting listings in directories that have a local focus or a local section in order to strengthen your local SEO strategy. In addition, your business should be listed in any trade-specific directories. The more appropriate the directory in which you are listed, the more searchers will see you. The big traffic directories, like Google+, that get thousands of visitors a day, mean tons of exposure for your business to local customers.
Directory Listing Information
Studies have shown that when consumers search directories for local listings, they would like to see the following information within the listing, by percentage requested:
Name – 77%
Address – 77%
Phone Number – 78%
General Proximity to Location – 58%
Hours of Operation – 58%
Website – 75%
Prices – 53%
This clearly demonstrates why it’s so important to provide directories with as much info as possible. Each additional citation gives your local SEO efforts a little boost.
Additional high-value data that boosts local search rankings
Whenever possible, add the following types of high-value data to enhance your listings:
Call to Action
Some of the top local business directories:
Google My Business
Local Chamber of Commerce directory
Local Better Business Bureau directory
Creating quality local listing data is time consuming. However, it is absolutely essential if a business wants to enhance its search results rankings. Every single directory should have as much data as possible, especially high value data.