Local Search – What is the Correct NAP Strategy?

January 14, 2016

Old telephone

When it comes to successful local search SEO, the most important thing is NAP, meaning Name, Address and Phone Number. You could expand this to NAP+W (website), but what is really vital is consistent accuracy.

Whilst most small businesses are very aware of the importance of being found on local search apps or directories, not many of them actually update their listings. This is perhaps because they feel they don’t have the time to update them all; but the third largest negative local ranking factor for a listing is mismatched NAP. The largest factor is a listing “detected at false business location”, which is obviously related. These kinds of errors will destroy your local SEO. Because the NAP is used by local search as a yardstick of the accuracy of a business’ online presence, you must make sure that every piece of data aligns perfectly.

Differences that seem tiny (for example an apostrophe in a different place, or using the numerals 10 instead of the word ten) can mean the directory might register your business inaccurately. Put simply, is essential to make the time to get your listings consistently accurate.

Achieving this can be a large task; if you’ve ever changed address, phone number, or even slightly altered your business name, your NAP may differ from one listing to the next and this will affect your SEO in a negative way. It might be worthwhile paying someone to track down all your listings; this will cost money, but the alternative is your competitors appear higher in local search and get the business you could have received.

Fill out local directories with as much information as possible, not just NAP. Remember the following: hours of operation, products available, prices, ratings, forms of payment accepted – in fact, anything that is relevant to your business, and follow the same rules, remembering the importance of accuracy and consistency.

Creating local listings is time-consuming and, frankly, boring, but it is exactly what needs to be done for your business to rank, so set your NAP now and stick to it. By putting in the time and effort, your business will soon be climbing up the local search rankings.

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