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Online Citations and NAPs – Two Most Essential Elements of SEO

SEO or Search Engine Optimization is a highly tricky affair. Not only one needs to carry out all regular SEO stuff, but also an entirely new layer of multifaceted SEO activities needs to be undertaken. The most important constituent of Local Search Engine Optimization is NAP. It is a trinity of crucial information that stands for Name, Address and Phone Number. It is also referred to as NAP+W, with people adding in the Website to it.

These search engines consider business ‘citations’ for local ranking. Online citations are basically references to the address and name of a company or a business. It appears on other websites, social media sites and blogs irrespective of whether it includes a link back to the company website.

Importance of NAP of a business concern to Google

Search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo place a lot of significance on the name, address and phone number of an organization that has online presence. The name is highly significant especially when it is attached to the phone number and address of an online organization.
This is because of the fact that these search engines want to ensure that the address one is listing for an online business is a legitimate one as many things are dependent on good quality of the search results with respect to the keyword searches based on location.

Accuracy of NAP

The local search engines regard NAP as a measuring stick with respect to accuracy for the existence of a business existence. For a local search directory to validate the existence of a local business or a SEO Company, it should ensure that every point of the data aligns with it perfectly. A business needs to have all the three pieces of crucial information- name, phone and address intact and correspond in all the citations across the local search engines so as to appear as a legitimate one.

Consistency of NAP

The second most important issue is consistency. The NAP of a particular business requires being consistent across each and every local directories, citations, mentions as well as listings.

  • Consistency of NAP information is crucial in order to get more citations as well as for improving the search engine rankings.
  • Information shared across all social media profiles and pages must be consistent to each other.
  • Consistency of the three trinities of name, address and place across various online sources, the search engines will be more confident in showing that the real physical location of the business organization listed are true and real.
  • This proves that online citations and NAPs are crucial to the local search engines for better optimized results.
  • Having real and consistent NAPs listed on the series of popular websites result in scoring huge points on Google rankings.

Importance of the physical address & local search results

Search engines like Bing, Google and Yahoo search and try finding out more than just the physical address that is listed on the SEO Company’s website.

  • One has total control over the NAP on one’s own website but not on the online citations.
  • One may list the correct location of one’s business organisation or go for listing an incorrect address for manipulating the search engines.
  • This is basically figured out by the search engines. Search engines or search directories take every necessary step for verifying that the address listed on the website is actually the correct physical location of the business.
  • Yahoo, Bing, Google, etc have actually built in the consistency and quantity for online citations as well as NAPs into their respective search algorithms.

Using Online Tools for verification of the Citations & NAPs

A number of online tools exist that greatly helps in listing efficiently all the NAP citations. The citation finder tool of Whitespark is a similar tool which is also easy to use. Whenever any location data is entered into this tool, a list of citations in accordance to the location of the business entered is received.
This data generated from the tool helps in effective checking of the consistency of the NAPs. In case certain sites where the business name, phone number or the address has not been entered correctly, then one needs to reach out to the sites to get access for updating the online citations.
The term ‘consistency’ is to be considered literally. Even small inconsistencies or spelling mistakes in the business name is capable of greatly impacting the rankings based on local search.

Business Phone Number

Consistency in phone numbers are also be important for having strong rankings in respect of local search. If search engines find a number of contact details specifically phone numbers for a single business location, it can lead to triggering of red flags with respect to the respective search engine algorithms.
Often certain businesses use multiple phone numbers in varied online locations to track the calls. Though this may appear to be a good idea, it can result in wrecking havoc in the context of results generated from online search. It is advisable to stick to a single phone number in case of local search that is basically indexed by the search engines any time.

Be Cautious with Call Tracking of Online Numbers

In case a business uses multiple phone numbers solely for call tracking, it should consider adding the programming which asks the search engines not to go for indexing these pages in their respective search results. These pages are often known as no-index code.
An SEO Company can also go for listing the phone numbers used to track calls as images and obviously not any indexable HTML text.
In order to rank high in the local search engine results, and be better with the same, a business must be highly attentive to the citations and NAPs and as well as on the accuracy and consistency of both.

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