Local SEO

NAP SEO: What it means and why you have to get it right

The cornerstone of a well-maintained online presence comes down to three little words.

Quick Summary
  • NAP is your business’s Name, Address and Phone Number, specifically the ones used in online citations.
  • Getting your NAP data right isn’t just important for better user experience, it can also impact your local search rankings.
  • Busy business owners and local SEOs use Semrush’s Listing Management to quickly distribute NAP and make sure it’s 100% accurate.

What is NAP SEO?

NAP stands for Name, Address and Phone number. It refers to the most essential information about a business that’s distributed in online directories.

It’s sometimes referred to as NAP+W to include the business’s website URL as another important piece of data.

NAP SEO (search engine optimization) refers to the careful distribution and maintenance of this data to help your business appear higher in rankings.

Google, as well as other search engines and voice assistants, use SEO NAP data to verify a listing’s details to make sure users are getting the most accurate results when looking up local businesses online.

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Distributing and checking NAP data is one of the main jobs of a local SEO, a task that’s also known as citation building.

But without a specialized tool to help manage your NAP data, inconsistencies can easily pop up and spell trouble for your local rankings.

The easy way: Take the stress out of SEO NAP management and leave it to Semrush’s Listing Management to distribute and monitor your essential details, while also allowing you to make edits to all your listings in one go.

Why is correct NAP data so important for local SEO visibility?

When it comes to local SEO, NAP data is one of the most important things to get right to avoid confusing both search engines and customers.

In fact, Think with Google claims that 60% of users never click through to a company’s website and just grab the NAP data they need from the SERP (search engine results page).

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One incorrect digit in your phone number or old address could send a potential customer down a frustrating dead end that could lose you their business.

Companies with inconsistent NAP data are also unlikely to rank as highly as a business with a uniform profile of citations that’s being properly looked after.

Power NAP: Manually scanning the web for duplicate profiles and inconsistent NAP data is a tall order for most small businesses. Instead, trust Semrush’s Listing Management to keep a constant eye out for your SEO NAP data and blow the whistle the second it discovers anything is amiss.

Best practices for SEO NAP data distribution and management

One of the first tasks to check off when embarking on a local SEO campaign is a full analysis of your NAP SEO.

Start with an audit to check your current NAP SEO situation. You can do this for free with Listing Management’s audit tool , which allows you to scan up to five locations a day.

Stay alert! Social media profiles are a common place to find NAP inconsistencies, especially older profiles that have been abandoned.

Once your current NAP SEO data is all lined up, it’s time to turn your attention to missed opportunities for more citations.

Distributing your NAP to the web’s top directories is an easy win for getting more eyes on your business and also racks up several backlinks for your website.

Start with the essential listings directories and make sure you’re present in all the ones that are relevant to your business (or use a listings distribution platform to make life a lot easier).

Your SEO NAP data should, of course, be present in your Google Business Profile so it stands a chance of appearing in Google’s local pack and Maps results.

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Distributing your NAP to directories like Yelp or Tripadvisor might also see your business featured in directory lists, which will actually appear in a prominent spot above the Places section on Google SERPs.

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Don’t forget to publish your SEO NAP data on your website in a prominent position (in the footer, for example) and on the contact page, ideally with a Google Map for your business embedded beside it. You should also make your website NAP data easy for search engines to discover by highlighting it with local business schema markup .

Fast visibility: Get your NAP SEO data distributed to 70+ of the best directories in next to no time with Semrush’s Listing Management and quickly move on to better uses of your time.

How perfect does my NAP data need to be?

Your business name must reflect the way you present it offline, so don’t try to game the system by cramming it with extra keywords. Google will probably send you an email saying they went ahead and changed it.

According to Google's John Mueller, phone number formatting isn’t an issue, so there’s no need to worry about whether it’s (123) 456-7890, 123-456-7890 or 123.456.7890. Same with addresses: if you have one citation that uses the word “Street” and one that abbreviates it to “St.”, that’s not an inconsistency.

Call tracking doesn’t have to cause SEO NAP inconsistencies either. For example, in Google Business Profile you can add your call tracking number as your primary number and your actual business number as a secondary number.

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Semrush’s Listing Management: Always wide awake when it comes to your NAP SEO

Looking after NAP SEO by yourself is the last thing a busy small business owner or marketer needs when there are hundreds of better things to dedicate your attention to.

Constantly scrolling SERPs and directories looking for mistakes is not likely something you can keep up for long; if you don’t give up due to the time it takes away from your business, you’ll certainly succumb to the monotony of the task.

Fortunately, Semrush has taken care of that problem with an affordable solution that gives you the peace of mind that your NAP is free of inconsistencies and where it should be.

A simple distribution process

You could pull up a list of the top online directories, create a profile on each one, and save each password in a spreadsheet for when you need to make a small edit to all of them.

Alternatively, you can free up tons of time with Semrush’s Listing Management, which publishes your NAP to the web’s best directories–and you only have to enter your data once.

You’ll get a satisfying green tick to confirm that your NAP is uploaded correctly, and you can easily opt out of any directories you don’t want to be a part of.
An example of Listing Management’s listings distribution interface

Put duplicate listings to sleep

Duplicate listings are not only confusing, but they often include inconsistent NAP data that could put your local SEO rankings in danger.

They can pop up for any reason, from an overly ambitious intern taking an ill-advised initiative, to a directory generating profiles itself from an out-of-date source.

Semrush’s Listing Management is always on the lookout for duplicate listings and brings any possible issues to your attention so you can make the decision to suppress or let them be.
Possible duplicates flagged by Listing Management

Make edits to all your listings at once

Whether you’ve identified an error or you’ve moved offices and need to update your address, logging into each platform one by one to make a simple change is a real headache.

And what if you do all that work only to discover the boss has changed her mind and the company won't be extending its opening hours after all?

Make life easy on yourself and use Semrush’s Listing Management to make one quick edit and head off to do something else while the tool takes care of all the updates.
The location edit screen of Listing Management

Accept or reject user suggestions

Customers might spot issues in your NAP data and take it upon themselves to suggest an edit.

And with Google Local Guides always checking the businesses they interact with are properly representing themselves on the world’s most popular search engine, suggestions can sometimes come in thick and fast.

Manage all your user suggestions in one simple tab with Semrush’s Listing Management, which lets you quickly approve or reject user suggestions in just one click.
User suggestions in Listing Management
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