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N.A.P. – What does it stand for in Local SEO?

Put simply, NAP is a shortcut for Name, Address, Phone Number.  A variation on the NAP is NAPW or NAP+W, where the W stands for website.

That little cluster of information is a key data point for search engines to understand unique entities.  This allows businesses to have many separate locations, and still be part of the group of businesses.  It also allows single location businesses to share premises with other businesses and not get confused.

Imagine going to a networking event, and being introduced to someone.  They’re introduced as being the owner of a particular business. When they give you their business card you notice a different business name and their business address. As you leave, you pick up their brochure from the members table and notice the address and website is different from the card.  Later you look them up on the web only to discover a completely different street address! Wouldn’t it make you wonder?

The same goes for search engines.

Use:

If you wish to appear in local search results, one of the first things to check is your NAP is up-to-date and consistent.  Start on your website and then look at other places around the web where your business is listed.

Search engines consider this data in deciding which businesses to show in geo-targeted results. They also use your NAP information across many websites, to confirm yours is a legitimate business. For example, businesses that don’t have an address on their website and have inconsistent info are seen as less trustworthy.  Just like humans, search engines aim to recommend trustworthy businesses.

Tip:

To make your life a little easier, Google in particular “normalises” some of the info in the NAP.  This means you don’t have to fret about details such as Ste versus Suite and St versus Street. Check out this nifty article from Whitespark on what types of data Google normalizes: https://whitespark.ca/acceptable-google-maps-nap-abbreviations-and-variations/

In the internet world, NAP stands for Name, Address, Phone Number. If you wish to rank high in the local organic search results, making sure your NAP is up-to-date is imperative not only on your website but also on other sites where your business is listed.

Google, and other search engines, consider this data in determining which businesses to show in geo-targeted results. These search engines also use your NAP information, across many websites, to validate that you are a legitimate business. For example, those businesses that don’t have a physical address listed on their website, have incorrect addresses on their business listings, and don’t have consistent NAP information may be look upon as a “made for SEO spam site.”

If you want to boost the local search ranking for your business, be sure to build up multiple local citations, make all the NAP information consistent and correct, and list your business on reputable directories including local directories and industry-specific directories. Some examples are Yelp, Citysearch.com, foursquare.com, etc.