Local SEO for Local Business: Citations and NAP

Local Businesses: Add NAP to your website - learn more on biz.leoraw.com
Are you a local business owner? Do you know any local business owners? Well, local business owners should not take a nap while reading this post. You will want to make sure you know what a NAP is: Name, Address and Phone. And you will want citations of your NAP. You will also want to make sure those citations are consistent.

NAP on Your Site

If you own a local business, you will want to be sure to include your business name, business address and business phone on your website. Where can you include this? You can pick a prominent location on the right side of the header, on the sidebar, on a contact page and/or in the footer.

How should this be presented on your site? You can use straight HTML. For an extra bonus, put the name, address and phone in schema (learn more on schema.org – visit LocalBusiness).

NAP Citations on Other Sites – Be Consistent!

Citations are important to local businesses. A citation is a mention on a related website. It can be any combination of name, address or phone. However, it is important to make sure the citations listings are consistent. For example, if your business is on Raritan Avenue in Highland Park, be sure it is listed on each citation as Raritan Avenue. Don’t call it Route 27 in one place and Raritan Avenue in another. On the other hand, don’t drive yourself nuts. If one site says Avenue and another says Ave., don’t worry about this detail.

Want some ideas on where to get citations? If you are just started out with citations, I would first start with Google for Business.
For more, see below:

If you want, there are some great tools for local SEO (but they do cost $$$).

Another nice little trick is Google your competition. Where is your local business competitor being cited? Does the competition have name, address and phone on related sites?

Local Highland Park, New Jersey Examples of NAP

Because I love my little borough of Highland Park, New Jersey, here are some examples. First, let’s search in Google for our local public library:
“highland park public library 31 N 5th highland park nj”
The Highland Park Public Library is listed with its address on Google for Business (with reviews!), the Borough website calendar, the Highland Park Planet and the New Jersey Business Directory. There are more, but those are excellent examples.

For another example, let’s go with the restaurant Sushiana. Since Sushiana moved last year from Raritan Avenue to North 4th Avenue, I was curious to see if the listings reflect the new location. I typed into Google:
“sushiana 17 N 4th highland park nj”
And the address came up correct on many listings on the first page of Google (including Google for Business, yelp, Facebook, tripadvisor, happycow and even the neighboring Pino’s Shop website!).

I did notice one little issue: on the Pino’s website, Sushiana is spelled incorrectly. I am going to make a suggestion to have this corrected; I will make an update note if this does happen.

Further reading: this post was prompted in part by a link to a local SEO guide. The 2nd chapter is all about NAP.

Your Turn, Please

Pick a local business in your area. Google the name of the business with the address and/or phone. Is the information also on other websites? Is it on the local business website as well?

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30 thoughts on “Local SEO for Local Business: Citations and NAP

  1. Hi Leora; this post should do a lot of good for people with local businesses. and i wonder if maybe I should be doing it for myself as a coach and speaker. one thing i have noticed is that some people put their phone and or address in the site description so that when people google for local their contact info is right there in the search results. its been a while since i checked for that sort of thing but if google hasn’t put a stop to it it sounds like a good thing to do. what’s your opinion. thanks for sharing, max
    maxwell ivey recently posted…Leading you out episode 002 Mistakes aren’t the worst things that can happenMy Profile

    1. Max, up to you. I recently added my phone – I get so many junk calls already, I figured I can live with a few more. But for a bricks-and-mortar business in a town or a city, phone and address are quite essential. And having the listings be consistent is important.

      For a business like yours, you will probably grow the most by referrals. Not sure adding your address would help at all.
      Leora Wenger recently posted…Local SEO for Local Business: Citations and NAPMy Profile

  2. It’s amazing isn’t it that some businesses don’t include NAP on their websites. What kind of impression does that give? Come across that kind of websites all the time and wonder if it’s because of lack of intelligence or if they have something to hide.

    Also find it annoying and strange when a website just have a form you have to fill in to contact them. Such websites usually don’t disclose the name of the business owner either. Gives a bad impression as far as I’m concerned.
    Catarina recently posted…Inventories can be managed – people should be ledMy Profile

    1. Catarina, please note that this says *local* businesses. Not all businesses make use of phone and/or address. For example, on the namecheap.com site, I see no phone listed anywhere. I see address on only one page. And this doesn’t mean they don’t get business. They save money by not having phone support. And they pass on those savings to the consumer. You can choose a different company that does have phone support if you like. That’s the beauty of a free market.
      Leora Wenger recently posted…Local SEO for Local Business: Citations and NAPMy Profile

      1. Also, a lot of freelancers won’t want their address listed on their website, for example my web design business is run from my home address, but I don’t want my home address public for all to see and likely send junk mail to or put me at risk of break-ins due to the expensive nature of a digital companies assets. Likewise I don’t want my home phone ringing at 1am or getting junk calls on it all day.

        Once I get office space, that would of course change.

        1. Richard, everything you say makes a lot of sense! I also work from home. I get lots of junk calls on my phone already, so a few more doesn’t matter much. But I have no need to publish my postal address.

          Publishing address and phone is meant for people who have a shop or a regular office.

  3. I DO hope local businesses take note of this! I can’t tell you how frustrating it is to look up a local business only to find they have no phone listed where it is readily available. I’ve also had the same happen for addresses. I keep thinking it is an oversight, but it’s crazy! I think a bricks and mortar store should always list their number!
    Jacqueline Gum recently posted…Father’s Day… Where’s The Justice?My Profile

    1. Funny, I just thought of this as stressing being consistent – seems to me a local business, especially brick and mortar, would be really careful about posting a phone number. But I think a lot of businesses may not know what to put on the web (and where on the site). They just might need some guidance.
      Leora Wenger recently posted…Boring Backups: Backup WordPress or ElseMy Profile

  4. This will be helpful for local businesses. I have made websites for local groups of businesses and found that when I asked them for their contact info to be put on the sites, that they often gave me incomplete data – no address or no phone number. I think that’s odd but I guess I needed to be more specific.
    Beth Niebuhr recently posted…Getting Unstuck in Setting GoalsMy Profile

  5. I’m amazed at the businesses who do not include NAP on their websites. The other thing I often find missing or hidden in some obscure place is hours of operation for retail shops. I may have searched the business out online, but want to visit the store in person. If there is other competition with hours posted, the store without that information may lose out.
    Donna Janke recently posted…Why Would I Go There?My Profile

  6. Contact details should be easily accessible on a website. I have found some company websites difficult to navigate. If I have problems finding contact details including a land line phone as oppose to just a mobile number, I move on.

    Companies advertising with just mobile numbers make me suspicious.

  7. Hi Leora, I can’t imagine a local business not including all the NAP information on their website and something I can’t say I have run into myself.
    If I’m looking for new store information – such as organic foods – and found a place that missed either phone or address I would definitely move on to the next place.
    I think one of the big problems is that the older generation is still a bit scared of the Internet, after all we hear a lot of negative stuff and relatively little positive. Just thinking.
    Lenie recently posted…25 Unusual Ways With MILKMy Profile

  8. I think NAP is so important on websites. If I do not see it I will buy from them.

    With that said I went to my website and finally found that I have it on the contact us page. I am not sure whether that is important in my business as I am web based and do not have customers coming to our office. It is something to think about
    Arleen recently posted…Uncommon Ways to Impress Your CustomersMy Profile

    1. Arleen, I should clarify – for the website, it should be some combination of name, address, phone. For your site, perhaps you just need to emphasis name and phone. As you say, you are web-based, so these rules don’t apply in the same way to your business.

      Maybe at some point I will clarify in a post the difference between local and other SEO (if I can find good, reliable sources).
      Leora Wenger recently posted…Boring Backups: Backup WordPress or ElseMy Profile

  9. I can see this being a big deal for local businesses as you point out. The main draw is personal attention and the “everyone knows your name” kind of impression. I like to know where I am getting my stuff but with that said I have no idea where Amazon is but am sure I could find out.
    Tim recently posted…A Travelers Worst NightmareMy Profile

    1. Tim, actually the main point is for local SEO. That means if a local business wants to be found in a search engine search, it needs good citations elsewhere. In “regular” SEO, incoming *links* are most important (as opposed to citations).

      All the other points that you make are certainly valid from a marketing point of view, but I am in particular trying to explain how to get the SEO part done well.
      Leora Wenger recently posted…Local SEO for Local Business: Citations and NAPMy Profile

  10. Leora — late to comment but want to point out that it’s just as important for national organizations to include their contact information. I just moved and it has been almost impossible to change my email and address because you can’t find where to do it on their websites. I think this is done on purpose to discourage people from contacting the company, thereby saving them the time and money for a response. Customer service is not a high priority any more.
    Jeannette Paladino recently posted…Career Advice for a Budding PR ProfessionalMy Profile

    1. True, but even more so for local businesses, because that’s how SEO for local businesses is structured.

      Some companies, like NameCheap, don’t mind if you contact them, as long as it is via email. In other words, customer service has its limits. That method is OK with me – the company is clear about what it will and will not do. Another company, like Zappos, has a different method, but we pay for that with more expensive shoes. If a company has NO method of contact, maybe they don’t really want to stay in business?
      Leora Wenger recently posted…What is a Responsive Theme? Mobile-Friendly Solution?My Profile

  11. Great point! I do not have a local business store front, I work from home and at client’s sites. Sad to say, years ago, when I first put my name, address, and phone number on my site, I got many spammers contacting me. It was very frustrating so now I only communicate initially through my contact me page to rereduce the spammers.
    Sabrina Q. recently posted…Backpack OrganizationMy Profile

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