Part Two of this series – How to Execute a NAP Listing Campaign.
It’s probably happened to you. You searched for a place on your phone, got the address and mapped your way there, only to realize “there” wasn’t where you wanted to go at all. Whatever business you were looking for probably hadn’t updated their information across the web. And it wasn’t just your business they lost. They weren’t helping their search rankings either. Which is exactly why N.A.P (or NAP) listings matter.
What are NAP listings?
At the most basic level, NAP is comprised of an organization’s name, address and phone number. However it often includes other information, like a short and long description of the business (with SEO keywords therein), website URL, relevant business categories, hours and company size.
Google places an emphasis on businesses providing consistent NAP information. By some estimates it accounts for 20% of Google’s local Search Engine Optimization (SEO) ranking factors and also weighs heavily in non-local or national search. Bing & Yahoo have indicated a similar emphasis. The information also needs to be consistent on lower-tier directory sites, from Angie’s List to Zomato.
NAP listings are the same thing as “directory listings” or “citations.” Business information aggregators (e.g. Dun & Bradstreet, Infogroup, Acxiom, BBB, etc.) clean and sell this data for marketing purposes. Direct listing tools (e.g. Google My Business, Bing, InsiderPages, FourSquare and hundreds more) independently maintain business data for their own purposes. For example, when you ask Siri about the nearest dry cleaner, Apple queries its own database of business information.
Why are NAP listings important?
The most obvious reason for having the correct information out there is so people can find your business. It’s not a one-and-done-deal either; you have to maintain the information and update it whenever necessary, like when your hours of operation change or you move to a new location. You don’t want to lose prospective customers because they got angry about your restaurant being closed when Yelp said it was open or were served up the wrong directions.
Search engine bots also digest this information when ranking and displaying the best results. Google and other search engines use the information to produce the most relevant, localized results and to ensure that your business is legitimate and, ultimately, build trust around your business. The more listings you have with the exact same information (down to the last detail, like the consistent use of “St.” versus “Street”), the more trustworthy your business appears.
NAP is also an excellent link-building mechanism for SEO. One of the biggest factors in search ranking is the number and quality of inbound links. Simply making sure that each directory has an associated website can result in hundreds of new links.
The best way to harness the power of NAP listings is to correct all the incomplete, inaccurate and inconsistent information in as many directories as possible, which is what I’ll look at in my next post: how to execute a successful NAP campaign.