Three letters may not cast much of a shadow, but NAP is more critical than its stature may have you believe. This acronym is vital to local search success and can impact the online visibility of any local business.
What does NAP stand for?
NAP is shorthand for three powerful pieces of local business information commonly found in directory listings, review sites, and other business profiles:
- Phone number
Each element of the NAP trio conveys a vital chunk of information to a local consumer, making it easier for them to contact or visit you. If any one of the three foundational elements is missing from a business mention, it’s known to be a partial NAP.
Your Local Citations and NAP Data
As NAP data is commonly shared as part of any online mention of your business, you might find many of these citations you haven’t purposefully created yourself.
Have you received coverage in a local newspaper article or presented at an industry expo? Have you hosted a local event or sponsored a local community sports team? These are examples of where a NAP citation may have been created without you realizing it.
Having others do some of the heavy lifting by creating NAP listings on your behalf can be both a blessing and a curse. The more of these citations you have, the bigger the SEO benefit you can expect to receive, and the more visible your business becomes to local consumers.
However, that’s only the case if your business name, address, and phone number are accurate in each of the listings.
It’s quick and easy to create inaccuracies but time-consuming to fix them. For example, a local reporter might get your zip code wrong in their write-up about your latest award. Likewise, that industry seminar you’re speaking at may inadvertently share an outdated phone number or old address.
Each time one piece of information differs, confusion and uncertainty are created. This can erode trust, leave consumers unable to contact you, and cause Google to place less trust in your business.
How do you make a NAP citation?
Any time your business name, address, and phone number are mentioned online, a NAP citation is created. This means there are a few different options for building your pool of listings:
- Claiming your business profile on review platforms
- Adding your business to directory sites
- Creating social media profiles with all profile information filled out
- Creating events listings
- Local media mentions
- Putting out press releases
- Through local business organizations, such as Chambers of Commerce
- Exhibition listings
- Industry award nominations
- By authoring guest blog posts
Another way to build local citations is via your business website. The content on your site should naturally include your organization’s name, address, and phone number on various pages.
For example, it could appear on your contact page, in the footer on each page of your site, or be covered in a press release you publish on your news page. Whether you present that data together or split it across the page, it still has value for your local SEO efforts.