What is a NAP citation?
At FreshOnline we get asked about NAP all the time, so we thought we’d throw a bit of light on this lesser-known but vital aspect of any small business’ Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).
We know NAP may sound like the highly technical ‘dark arts’ end of the digital marketing spectrum – it really isn’t – but seriously, it IS important to all small businesses with an online presence.
NAP stands for: Name, Address, Phone Number.
It’s that simple. NAP comprises the basic details (citations) we list online about our businesses so customers looking for our services and products can find us easily.
But your NAP details require online housekeeping, to ensure they are 100% up to date. The online price of overlooking or underestimating this simple task can be high stakes for small local businesses. In this blog FreshOnline explains why.
Consider these NAP basic contact details to be your online business cards, dotted across the web. The problem is, if they don’t all have the same information on them, then this confusion could lead to questions of trust – and trust is a big issue when it comes to the algorithms of the search engine giants trying to syphon the best and most reliable and relevant information to their ‘users.’
Here is Google’s mission goal to its users: “Our goal is always to provide you with the most useful and relevant information.” So getting accurate information to their users is Google’s A1 priority.
Search engines like Google evaluate the information you provide about your business, deciding whether or not your company is the best fit for their users’ online searches.
With this in mind, the Google algorithms (the actual real ‘dark arts’ of digital marketing) and other search engine providers like it, set about filtering through all the citations to find the most relevant for each search.
One of the ranking signals these search engines use is NAP, which they authenticate by cross-referencing the information over different listings, local directories and websites to ensure it is the same and therefore accurate. So in answer to this question, yes, accurate NAP really does help your SEO.
Why is NAP especially crucial to small local businesses?
]Small local companies don’t usually have the marketing might of the big guys, but if monitored and kept updated, NAP could be your new best friend to get you noticed and moving up the search engine rankings locally. Best of all, it’s FREE!
Ideally, you want your company listing to be as high up the first page of search engines rankings as possible. If you’re not even on the first page, then you need to do some diagnostics to understand why – and it could well be that inconsistent NAP listings are to blame.
When Google does geo-targeted searches for its users – so searches that are location relevant – it sifts through all the local organic listings and directories it can find online. If it finds your company’s information in a few places, with consistent and correct details, then it recognises you as reputable and is likely it will promote you over others that are not.
It actually costs nothing to upload your company details to directories and listings, you can have them everywhere. It is a brilliant FREE marketing tool. The thing is, these details must be consistent and accurate – otherwise, you’d be better off not having them there at all.
If you get it right and keep your contact and listings details all up-to-date and consistent, then you can use NAP to reap the rewards of higher search engine rankings for FREE.
Here are a few FreshOnline suggestions to get the most out of your NAP:
- Get listed in as many reputable local and national directories as you can. Especially the more well-known ones, like Yell.com, but also any local directories for your area, plus any specialist listings particular to your industry.
- Accuracy is EVERYTHING! Take time out to make sure all your listings are correct across the board. A wrong telephone number or a misspelled address could see you being penalised by the algorithms that are busily cross-referencing your online information. Consistency is key.
- Make sure any changes to your listed information are updated EVERYWHERE. Each of your online directory footprints needs to be identical.
- Root out any duplicate listings. These confuse search engines and make them suspicious.
- Set up a Google My Business Page and keep it updated. Google authenticates this page themselves, and so rate its integrity.
- Also check your social media contact details, even the ones hidden from public view – as Google and others can still see these.
- Finally, keep a list of the directories you have signed up to – so you can change and update as needed.
We hope FreshOnline have answered all your questions about NAP
We know how confusing technical lingo and abbreviations can seem for small businesses – especially when you are having to balance so much else. That’s why we have put together a number of support and training packages especially for you.
The FreshOnline courses have been designed to empower small businesses to get the most out of their online profiles and platforms. Giving you the skills needed to move forward with confidence.
Check out our range of training courses, or get in touch.