NAP, What is it and Why Should I Care?
There are so many technical terms in these fast moving days in the internet world and knowing what each one stands for, and importantly what it means to your law firms bottom line requires a reference guide bigger than those old encyclopedias your grandmother bought you for Christmas in 79. I want to take the time to point out one of the most important and foundation terms, and procedure every legal professional should know and live by.
Introducing NAP. Simply put, NAP stands for Name, Address & Phone. Easy enough, right? That’s it. Name. Address. Phone. So why is this term so important to a legal professional when it comes to advertising. Well because it is everything for not only the foundation of your web presence, but crucial for your online growth. NAP refers to a business citation, or reference on the web that provides information about a business. The most common would be a Yelp profile, Yellowpages online, or even legal niche internet directories. They are your business profiles most commonly. It is most basic form, it is a web page on some website that has reference to your business.
So why is NAP important? If you put up a Yelp, an Avvo and a few more you’re not done. NAP is a key indicating factor to major search engines like Google, of the importance of your business and it’s online presence. Easily enough, all things equal, the more NAP citations a business has, the more relevant or important that business, and the higher ranking potential it has in search engines. Think of it like a voting process. Search engines count up NAP for a business and all things equal, the business with more NAP will potentially show up higher in search. “All things equal” refers to the fact that no marketing program of a business is ever the same and as we all know, countless factors influence your ranking, so NAP is just one, but important.
So what do I do with NAP? You want to keep a few easy tips in mind when building your NAP and expanding your presence.
- Match your NAP. The most benefit from NAP only comes with consistency. This means your business name, address, phone, url want to be identical as you build or clean up your NAP. Subtle difference that seem nominal count. Example would be your url. www vs non www. Address would be Suite 5 vs Ste 5. Business name, John Doe Law Office vs Law Offices of John Doe. Even though to our eyes these are all the same, to a search engine robot they’re all different. As we spoke about “Votes” earlier, those differences all cast votes separate places.
- Update Your NAP. When changes to your business happen, you want to update your NAPs. Obvious would be the name, address, phone, but also important are operating hours, new website and more. Make sure you always have the most current information available on the web. It reduces confusion to the important search engine robot, but also your potential clients.
- Never Stop NAPing. The Voting process of search engines never ends. Just because you’re on top today doesn’t mean someone with a bigger budget is quickly catching up and about to over take you. Regularly search for new places to NAP. Online directories, niche directories, anything you can find (that isn’t spammy or black hat) is a place to NAP.
In closing, if you’re ready to get your NAP on, then good for you. It is sometimes the most time intensive process. but when you look back after a year of consistent NAP building you will be thankful you did. As a bonus, for Attorneys and Lawyers, here is a great reference list to quickly find some more places to NAP you may not have seen: Free Law Firm Directories by Ranking. List provided by Chris at Rankings.io.