Is Your Business Napping Online?

NAPping in business - What is it?

In SEO, NAP stands for Name, Address, and Phone number, which constitutes your business’s fundamental identity. It serves as the initial reference point for all online and physical marketing efforts. While it might seem straightforward, neglecting it can result in problems down the line.

Here’s a basic guide to your business NAPping online…

Is your business NAPping online? image of pins on map showing a business's locations

Monitoring your NAP

It’s concerning that many businesses, especially older ones, do not consistently monitor their NAP information over time. When we begin optimizing a client’s online presence, the initial step is to review their NAP details. This process is quite straightforward – just search for the business’s name and observe the results on Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs).

In numerous instances, we’ve discovered disparities in the business’s Name, Address, and Phone number across various websites that display their information.

Why NAP’s differ

There are many reasons why a business’s NAP may be different on different sites, some reasons include:

  • The business may have moved premises
  • The business may have changed from a landline phone number to a mobile number
  • VoIP may have implemented and the number has changed
  • The business may have been bought out or merged with another organisation
  • The primary contact for the business, has left the company
  • Sites that have “stolen” your NAP, haven’t bothered to update them (These are usually business listing sites)
  • No one in the company has checked up and updated the information.

The danger of not sweating the small stuff

Traditional business owners, often those with a background in sales, tend not to pay much attention to the finer details of their business’s consistency in the public domain. Many prefer to rely on in-person networking or word-of-mouth communication. They are content as long as their business card and Yellow Pages listing display accurate information.

Some individuals either don’t grasp, or simply choose to ignore the intricacies of the internet. In extreme cases, we have encountered situations where a business has changed its name, yet nobody within the company has taken the initiative to ensure that the old name is not associated with the new company’s phone number.

If a new employee is unaware of the previous company name, they might mistakenly inform a potential customer that they have dialed the wrong number.

Why NAP matters

In addition to the aforementioned reasons, Google’s Local Pack relies on the consistency of your business NAPping online across all platforms and channels where your business is featured. This consistency not only signifies the authenticity of your business but also affects your search ranking and position in SERPs.

In today’s digital age, most potential customers use SERPs for various purposes, such as comparing prices, checking ratings, and most importantly, verifying a business’s legitimacy. Given the prevalence of fake websites and questionable businesses, this practice is not surprising.

If your online NAP details differ across multiple sites, it can make your business appear unreliable. Moreover, if someone calls an outdated number that no longer works, they are likely to move on to the next related business in the SERPs.

The outcome for your business is lost leads and lost sales.

Physical address - Opinions vs facts

In other instances when we’ve been given a business address, and we type that address into Google Maps – we can’t find the business.

This can be attributed to:

  • Suburb, regions, city demarcations or street zip codes that have changed
  • The address was taken off a company letterhead or card that hasn’t been updated
  • The person supplying the address gets the details or spelling wrong
  • The office park or building name is confused with, or conflicts with the actual, official street address.

How do I start with NAP compliance?

Given that Google will cross-reference and verify your online information, it’s a wise move to begin by setting up a Google Business Profile on Google Maps.

It’s important to keep in mind that people who intend to utilize the Google Maps “Get Directions” feature will rely on the address provided to physically navigate to your location.

If your business already exists on Google Maps

On a desktop or laptop computer, go to Google maps:

  • Type in your businesses name
  • If your business name is shown and the physical address is correct:
    • Use that address (exactly as shown on Google) in your company’s marketing materials – such as business cards,  letterheads and anywhere else online.

If your business doesn’t exist on Google Maps

  • Type in the name of any other business, office park or landmark specifically in your street.
  • Copy and save the street address that is shown (Street name, suburb, zip code)
  • Create a Google Business Profile for your company with that specific address -and add your unique premises’s number.

How to add your Google Business (GB) Profile

If your business name isn’t shown , then you’ll have to create a Google Business Profile by following these instructions:

How to claim your GB Profile

If your business name is shown and there’s a Google Business Profile already associated with it, then claim your business

Multiple business locations or branches

If your business has multiple branches or locations, it’s essential that each branch maintains its own Google Business (GB) profile. Each branch should have a unique Name, Address, and Phone number (NAP).

If the phone number is the same across all branches (for instance, when you’re using a single national number through an IPBX or call center), then the physical address, at the very least, should vary from one branch to another.

It’s also a good practice to include the name of each branch and the specific area where it’s located as part of the business name. For example, if your business is named “Bob’s Handyman Services” and it operates in three locations, each branch should set up its GB profile with a NAP structured like this:

Bob’s Handyman Services Randburg
Bob’s Handyman Services Krugersdorp
Bob’s Handyman Services Cape Town City Centre
And so on.

Verified by Google Business (GB)

Once your business or businesses have been verified through Google Business (GB), you can rest assured that from that point on, people searching for your business, calling, or seeking directions will have access to accurate information. Using Google Business as the foundation for your business NAPping online also ensures that your company name will appear in local search results.

Your position in search results

If you aim to have your business NAP consistently appear at the forefront or attain a higher position in search results on platforms like Google Business, Google Maps, and other search engines, you’ll need to execute an optimization (SEO) plan and strategy for these platforms in addition to your website.

This approach will enhance your profile and website’s ranking when compared to other competing businesses in your local area.

Your website

Make sure the NAP on your website is identical to your Google Business Profile’s NAP. This would normally be shown on your website’s contact page.

If you have multiple branches, list them here too – as you’ve named them in GB.

Social media accounts

Ensure that the Name, Address, and Phone number (NAP) on all your social media business pages match exactly with the NAP on your Google Business Profile.

Make certain that your company’s social media pages are designated as business pages, not personal ones. You can learn more about the distinction between personal and business pages here.

Note: If your business is promoted online as a single entity or brand, it is recommended to establish a single social media business page.

If your individual branches or franchisees handle their own marketing, it’s a good practice to create a separate business page for each branch. However, managing multiple business pages without centralized oversight can result in fragmented marketing and potential misrepresentation of the brand, possibly causing long-term damage.

Updating other non-Google listings

Search Google for your company name and compile a list of the sites that show your business. You will need this list in future to track and monitor which sites you’ve contacted, which have been updated and which are pending.

  1. Claim a listing – Most business listings contain a “Claim Listing: button or link on those listings
  2. If you can’t claim the listing, contact the site owners and ask for access
  3. All business listings should give you the option to set up a username and password and, allow you to have the option to update your details at any time. If a site doesn’t give you that option – avoid it
  4. Make sure your NAP across all business listings are identical to your Google Business NAP.

Unable to change a NAP

In certain situations, a website may not respond to your requests for information changes, or it might not grant you access to update your details. Regrettably, the process to obtain results from these websites can be lengthy, challenging, and exasperating, and in some instances, it may yield no results other than wasted time.

The wisest approach is to seize control of the websites you can access, confirm that your information is current, and consistently manage those listings to improve your business NAPping online. Over time, the sites with incorrect information may gradually decline in ranking.

Which sites should my NAP be on?

Preferrably, links to your site should be on credible, industry-related or top-tier news sites. For general business listing sites – on a desktop or laptop computer, go to Google maps:

  • First search Google for the products and services you offer, and see which directory sites come up first in SERPs. Be specific in the search, so for example use “Garden landscaping services in Goodwood, Cape Town”
  • Secondly (and most importantly) check if the directory is relevant to your business:
    • If you’re a local (Regional or city) company, then search for a directory that covers your city or region
    • If you’re an international company, then search for international business directories
    • If you’re a niche company (such as a lawyer or doctor), then look for law or medical directories
    • Is the directory country-centric?, so, if you’re based in South Africa, then look for directories that specifically list ZA sites
    • Search the directory to see if it shows your business’s sector or industry as a category
    • Search and see if it shows other businesses that offer the same products you do
    • Search for your city and/or region and see if other local businesses are listed in the areas shown.

Listings with good domain authorities

Thirdly, check the directory’s Domain Authority and Spam Score.
Domain Authority (DA) is a search engine ranking score developed by Moz that predicts how likely a website is to rank in search engine result pages (SERPs). Domain Authority scores range from one to 100, with higher scores corresponding to greater likelihood of ranking.
Listing your info on a site with the highest possible DA and lowest possible spam score always helps to improve your backlink profile. You can check a site’s domain Authority here

Or you can install a plugin on Google Chrome to give you DA and spam scores when you visit a site. Moz Bar is one such plugin. Learn more about MozBar and get it here

How many sites should I list my details on?

A rule of thumb is to rather list on fewer, relevant sites with a high domain authority, than too many sites with a low DA. This will strengthen your backlink profile and  give you more control of your business NAPping online.

Why should I add my business info to, or remove it from business listing sites?

Any website that contains links URL(s) to your website essentially serves as a backlink. High-quality backlinks can enhance your site’s domain authority, while low-quality backlinks can pose challenges for your business’s online presence.

Backlinks still play an important role in SEO and have an impact on your site’s Domain Authority (DA) and overall ranking. It’s advisable via Google Search Console to keep track of which websites are linking back to yours. Ensure that the directories linking to your site are relevant to your business, have a solid reputation, and are not deemed “toxic” or “spammy.”

Some directories, though not all, may be cluttered with excessive pop-ups or banner ads, which may be considered spammy. If a directory appears suspicious or untrustworthy, it’s best to avoid it.

In conclusion

So, Is your business NAPping online? Verifying and finalizing your NAP and its format should be your top priority before you publish your business information both online and offline. Maintain consistency, keep a close eye on it, and ensure that any changes are promptly updated across all your marketing platforms and materials.