What is NAP and Why is it Important to SEO?

Updated: Jan 6

What is NAP and Why is it Important to SEO
What is NAP and Why is it Important to SEO

No, it’s not a nap as much as we all probably wish it was. (Maybe it’s just me wishing for a nap) There are a lot of marketing acronyms out there and if you’re not in the marketing industry, they may not make a whole lot of sense. Let’s dig a bit deeper here.

Before we can really dive into NAPs, let’s take a minute to talk SEO. There are three main elements to SEO:

1. On-Site SEO

2. Off-Site SEO

3. Local SEO

If you have a website, chances are pretty likely you’ve heard of SEO and you understand that it’s important to your digital success, but don’t really know much about it. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and is the art and science behind getting found online. When a user queries a search term related to your business, you want to be one of top results that show up to increase your chances at them becoming a customer. Here’s the thing, SEO is not a one and done. It is a continuous process and a balancing act. What I mean by that is that you can’t just optimize your website with on-site SEO and expect to achieve the coveted top result on Google.

What is On-Site SEO?

On site SEO consists of keyword optimization, Header Tags (H-Tags), Alt-Text, meta descriptions, etc. They are all of the ways in which you tell the search engines how to classify your website. Having poor on-site SEO may confuse the search engine bots that trawl your website. If the bots don’t know how to index your website, it’s likely that your website will then be downranked.

What is Off-Site SEO?

Off-site SEO is optimizing your website in places other than your website through backlinks. Obtaining backlinks from websites that have a high domain authority can help to prove your credibility and legitimacy to search engines, helping your website to rank higher.

What is Local SEO?

Local SEO is just that - optimizing your website for local traffic. If you’re a financial advisor, you’re likely looking for clients in a specific location. You wouldn’t be looking for clients in another state necessarily. Local SEO would be getting your company listed in local directories to prove that you’re legitimate as well as improve your local ranking. Just like regular search results, places like Google Maps also has a ranking algorithm for local searches and of course, you want to be one of the top results to drive more traffic to your business.

If we were to query the search engines (Google in this example) for “financial advisor in Annapolis, MD” this is what might show:

What is NAP and Why is it Important to SEO
What is NAP and Why is it Important to SEO

Those three results are in the coveted top three positions and are likely to receive the bulk of traffic from that query. How did they get there? SEO, my friend.

What is NAP?

When discussing marketing, the term NAP stands for Name, Address and Phone Number. NAPs are one of the fundamental components to high visibility in local search results (i.e. ranking higher on Google or other search engines for local goods or services). A good example of a NAP citation would be social media. On Facebook, the About section normally has the business’ contact information:

What is NAP and Why is it Important to SEO
What is NAP and Why is it Important to SEO

A citation is a listing on a website or directory that contains the NAP of a business. There are times which the citation may also contain more information, such as a website. This is the case in our Facebook example above.

There are some websites that scrape your information from other sources such as your website or other listings to create an entry on their own website with your information. If your business has been around for a while, I guarantee you have listings you didn’t even know existed. Try to carve out about 30 minutes (or less) to go through the first 5 - 10 pages of Google (or other search engine) after you’ve queried your company’s name. Look at each listing to see if there are issues with any of your NAPs, if there are, you’ll want to get them fixed.

Benefits of Having Accurate NAPs

You may be wondering if it’s really all that important if one or two results have inaccurate information. Outside of potentially losing business because of incorrect information, it can also harm your legitimacy and cause the search engines to downrank your website.

The first impression a potential client gets from your business shouldn’t be inaccurate contact information. Unless there’s a very specific reason for choosing your company, many aren’t going to chase up the correct contact information but will rather choose your competitor instead. And let’s face it, bad information can leave a bad impression.

The search engines have a complex algorithm. It the search bots come across multiple addresses, names or phone numbers it will be confused by which information is accurate and therefore, downrank your website. Your on-site and off-site SEO game might be strong, but without accurate NAPs, you’re not doing yourself any favors.

Cleaning up and building those local citations can be both time consuming and rewarding. If you’re willing to put in the work, the reward can be exponential.

Pendragon Consulting, a digital marketing agency based out of Maryland, can assist you with your local SEO needs. Let’s work together to create a customized plan to put your business on the path to high visibility. Schedule your free consultation today.

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