What are NAP Citations? Everything You Need to Know
Before defining what NAP citations are, we first need to explain what local citations are. Local citations are any online mention of your brand or local businesses. Local citations often appear on search engines, directories, review sites, and social media platforms.
A NAP citation is a specific kind of local citation; it’s when a local citation includes a business’s name, address, and phone number (NAP).
Local citations, particularly NAP citations, can help your multi-location business rank better on search engines. In this article, we’ll further define the different types of local citations and ways to update your NAP citations, so you boost online visibility.
Do NAP Citations Impact Local Search Rankings?
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Among SEO, specifically local SEO experts, there’s an ongoing debate about how much NAP citations influence local search rankings. According to Whitespark’s Local Search Ranking Factors report, there’s an agreement among SEO specialists that citations do help with local search rankings — particularly for snack pack, local pack or Google 3-Pack rankings.
According to Google, ensuring your Google Business Profile (GBP) — which is one of the most important local citations — has the correct NAP information will help with local visibility.
There’s also evidence that claiming and updating your other NAP citations on local listings improves rankings. The study found that complete GBPs increased website clicks by 69 percent.
Now, on to the two types of local citations and how you can update them.
The Two Types of Local Citations
The first, and in some ways more important local citations, are structured citations. Structured citations are NAP citations that list your business’s name, address, and phone number.
Structured NAP citations are often found on directories such as Yelp or social platforms like Facebook. Ideally, each structured citation for a local listing will have the exact same NAP information.
Unstructured citations are online mentions of your business that don’t include essential NAP information. They’re often simple backlinks pointing to your website or a local listing. They usually appear in news articles, press releases, blogs, or forums.
How to Update NAP Citations
Multi-location businesses often have hundreds or thousands of NAP citations due to their large volume of business locations. This makes manually checking your NAP citations quite time consuming and nearly impossible.
Instead, we recommend contacting data aggregators, who control most NAP citations, and confirm that they’ve correctly documented your citations. The four leading data aggregators in the U.S. are:
An even simpler and more efficient option is to work with SOCi. SOCi Listings will ensure you’ve claimed all of your local listings and that your NAP citations are accurate and consistent across all social media platforms and major directories.
With SOCi Listings, you’ll also have a dashboard and reports, so you can quickly understand search performance and adjust locations’ listings that need a boost.