Table of Contents:
- What does NAP stand for?
- What are NAP Citations?
- NAP Citation Inclusions
- NAP Citation Generation
- NAP Citation Consistency.
What does NAP stand for?
An NAP Citation stands for Name, Address and Phone Number Citation.
NAP or Local Citations, occur on local business directories, apps, social platforms and websites. NAP citations are ‘cited’ throughout the internet and social spaces. They provide information about your business or service to people searching for you.
For businesses targeting local search users, this is incredibly useful, especially if it’s a service based business. NAP citations are a very important local SEO ranking factor as such.
What are NAP citations?
The most typical NAP citation that will be displayed to users searching for your business are those on your Google MyBusiness Page.
But they can also be displayed in literally hundreds of other places.
Typically you’ll know you’re looking at an NAP citation when your business name and additional information is being listed.
They are a grouping of information about your business.
You can’t necessarily control where or when your NAP citation shows up.
But, as long as your NAP data is consistent between your website, social accounts, business directory listings, that’s what’s important.
Search engines will aim to show your NAP citation to search users as long as they are consistent.
More on the importance of NAP consistency in their relation to local SEO later…
What is included in NAP citations?
NAP citations are very useful for search engine users.
They provided quick access to clear data on a number of your business’ services, operating hours, and general information such as:
- Hours of operation
- Location and address
- Images, logos, and brand identification
- Taglines or slogans
- Email addresses
- Fax numbers
- Phone numbers
- Cell phone numbers or office numbers
- Names of employees
- Names of owners or operators
- Links to social media and other forms of media
- Business descriptions
- Business service categories
- Driving directions
How are NAP citations made?
At some point when you created your business or personal brand you may have advertised NAP(and associated details) information. But, that doesn’t mean you’re responsible for every NAP citation listing throughout the wild world of the web.
We can think of citations in two ways.
1. NAP citations are scraped and collected.
Major search engines such as Google have a tough job. Search engines base the effectiveness of their service on the accuracy, speed, and thoroughness by which they provide their search engine users the information they are looking for.
Sometimes, search engines have such a tough job doing this, so they collect information from or with other data sources.
In USA or Canada, some data aggregators and other data sources include:
- InfoGroup(now Data Axle)
- Neustar Localeze
- YellowPages(Yellowpages.ca or Yellowpages.com)
- Google Maps
Honestly, the list of companies and databases that can hold your NAP citation information is so large it’s not worth listing.
You can think of these databases and information holders as the local search ecosystem. Atleast that’s what’s relevant for your business.
What’s important to you is that if your business information is incorrect, with any provider, it may override what major search engines(Google/Bing) have in their data bases.
Thus, search users could be provided incorrect information.
That’s why it’s important to keep NAP citations consistent through all databases.
This way you can ensure potential customers and leads looking up your business get served the correct NAP information.
2. NAP citations can be manually entered.
At some point whether you registered your business with a government database, or submitted your business information to a directory, you would have provided NAP information.
Thus began the cycle of scraping and collection from other search engines, data bases and websites that you may not even know exist!
Manual entry of NAP information will ensure accuracy.
But think, how many manual entries do you have to do?
This really depends on the accuracy and consistency of the information out there in relation to your most current NAP information.
With NAP citations, consistency is king(or queen)…
As mentioned earlier, search engines aim to only display the most consistent NAP information to search users.
Consistency will reduce your website’s likelihood of search engine penalization and web page de-listing.
This makes NAP citations a local SEO ranking factor.
Local search engine optimization from any reputable search engine optimization agency will include NAP citation review for consistency and accuracy.
There’s a whole strategy behind correcting and optimizing for NAP local SEO.
As a business owner, it’s crucial you provide accurate information to your SEO for NAP.
When you update information, let your SEO professional know.
They’ll be able to advise what it’s going to take to ensure consistency throughout the web.
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