Do You Know NAP? The Local SEO Component
When was the last time you used a phone book for anything other than a paperweight or dust collector? If you’re a millennial like me, the answer is probably never. We live in the digital age of “if you have a question, you Google it.” The problem with that is the vast amount of results you will get online. For example, there are nineteen pages of options for “good restaurants in the Quad Cities.” The challenging part for each restaurant in the QCA is to be at the top of page one in that search. (1)
Search Engine Optimization, or SEO for short, is defined as the process of promoting a website in order to increase the number of visitors that site receives from a search engine. SEO is everything from the keywords on a website to how sites link to each other on the internet. Search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo are designed to provide people with information relevant to whatever they search in a short amount of time, so it is important for a business to make sure its site is built for maximum search engine results. The organic search results of a company depend on the success or fail of its SEO. (2)
To go one step beyond SEO, some companies aim to rank well in local organic search results. Those companies need to know NAP. NAP stands for Name, Address, and Phone Number (of the company); the information that search engines like Google and Bing take into account when determining which companies to show for geo-targeted searches.
As a marketer of a company interested in local business, it is important that your NAP is correct on your website as well as every other site on the web. Keeping NAP consistent is important to receive more citations and improve search engine rankings. It is believed that search engines cross-reference the NAP information of a company across a variety of websites to validate the legitimacy of the business. It is highly unlikely that a fake business will have consistent NAP information across a number of sites.
NAP is especially important for small businesses wanting to increase awareness in its community. 85 percent of small businesses find it important for them to be found on local search apps and directories, but only half of those businesses have ever updated their online listings. For starters, the name, address, and phone number on a company website should be 100% accurate. It is also helpful to list company information on any reputable local directory like Yelp, Glassdoor, Manta, local chambers of commerce, the BBB, and Angies List. (3) The information listed on those directories should match the business filings with the state and the post office.
As a small business, it is important to frequently check those online directories to make sure all of the information about your company is correct. Having incorrect information available to customers can jeopardize the credibility of your company. If your company does find inconsistent NAP, start with big data providers like InfoGroup and Acxiom to start cleaning up the problem. Next move to authoritative directory sites like Yelp, Google+, and Bing, and then move to lower tier directory sites like Yellowpages.com and Angies List. (4)
It is very possible for incorrect listing to continue popping up even after cleaning up any inconsistencies found, but it is important if your company wants successful local SEO.