One of the easiest ways to shoot yourself in the foot when it comes to positioning your home inspection business in the “Maps” listings on page 1 is to screw up the”NAP” in your citations.
The NAP, or Name Address Phone number, is a very common word in the SEO world, and a fairly common term in the home inspection industry.
That said, it’s executed poorly, and worse, inspectors don’t seem to clean up their own NAP mentions when necessary.
This gives you the edge, because applying this information you’ll be gaining on your competitors while they unknowingly deter Google from loving to rank their website.
I once took on a home inspector that had three different mailing addresses tied to his phone number and business name in various online directories due to moving a couple times.
This alone really screwed with his SEO.
All a NAP refers to are the most common aspects of a typical citation for your business online, being your business Name, Adress and Phone number.
A citation is any instance where either your business name, address, business phone number, ZIP/Postal code and/or website appear.
Google loves NAPs, and that is why the term is thrown around so much when people are talking about search engine optimization (SEO.)
The NAP is a very, very important aspect of SEO for “local” businesses.
It is so important that I actually won’t take on a client that refuses to publicly display their address on their website. I once had to let a client after they decided eight months into a campaign that they didn’t want to reveal their address online anymore – after our initial discussion in the first month of the importance of it. Needless to say, they lost their Map Pack rank in Google to a competitor soon thereafter.
It has that much of an impact on SEO in the long run.
“But I don’t serve people at my location, so I don’t need it on my website.”
“I don’t want my address online. People will show up on my doorstep.”
“I have children, I can’t have my address online.”
All fair points, and at the end of the day this is 100% your call. And there are tactical workarounds – but we’re straying from the topic. Let’s refocus.
Because the NAP is so inherently connected with a citation, we may be swtiching between the two, but this blog post is about the NAP, and how to leverage it to get higher rankings in Google.
This should be required reading prior to setting up any of your own business directory citations.
You need to know this before actually creating the citations, or you’re doing yourself a disservice, and your competitors a service!
Also, just FYI, it is important to understand that a citation does not need to have a backlink to your website for it to have positive SEO effect.
We have three major “areas” that we want our NAP to show up.
These are the highest importance when it comes to “local search engine optimization” (aka the type of SEO that is going to help your home inspection business.)
They are Google (inside business.google.com), business directories websites (ie. Yelp) and your website (preferably on every single page, aka in the footer.)
Alright, that was easy. Moving on.
Your NAP should be displayed the same everywhere online, when possible.
When it comes to displaying the NAP, follow Googles lead. Always.
All this means is that however Google is showing your address in the Google search results, that is exactly how you need to display it on your website, your citations, and every other place that you mention it online, like forums or featured articles.
So, if you were google your company name and see your address displayed in the Google search results like this:
Joe Smoke Home Inspections
401 E Ontario St, Chicago, IL 60611, United States
But then went over to your website, and it was displayed like this:
Joe Smoke’s Home Inspection Services
401 Suite E Ontario Street, Chicago, illois 60611
You would then need to change your website NAP to match the Google structure, even though both instances of the NAP make perfect sense to the human mind.
Remember, you always want to mimic Google.
The reason for this is because it makes it easier for Google to find you and it helps ensure you get credit for each citation you build, rather than spread out the “power” over a few different variations of spellings. This is a little technical, but Google actually sends what is called a “spider” to “crawl” your website – it basically digitally “reads” everything and makes connections with other information indexed by Google. Make it easy for the spider to recognize you!
Also, if you’re more advanced, you can set up your Schema information to be identical to your correct NAP making it even easier for Google to give you credit.
If you’re reading this still, I want you to know…
Most home inspectors screw up their local SEO by leaving their address off their website.
Usually, it is because of privacy reasons.
This gives you the edge.
If it was a horse race, it’d be like racing against a horse with a lame leg.
Alright, now for an aspect of the NAP, or citations, that almost no one talks about.
What the heck do I mean by that, you ask?
Well, if we just talked about how important it is to mimic google in every way when typing out NAP out on the internet…
You can bet your bottom dollar that there are going to be badly structured mentions of your NAP all over the place, unless you have no internet presence or are very new.
This actually hurts your SEO, and having bad citations can sometimes mean the difference between being in the Maps listings on Page 1 or not being listed at all.
You already know how to structure the NAP.
But, how do we find any offenders?
Well, we use tools!
You’ll need to download NAP hunter plugin for Chrome.
There are other tools similar to it, but this is the best one I have found.
It is simple, clean and elegant – it gets the job done.
Alright, here are the steps:
We need to set up NAP Hunter and run it after installing it. It shouldn’t take you more than a few minutes to do this.
Click here to download or view the standard operating procedure that I use when training new team members to do this for my clients. No email required.
You’ll need to wait a few minutes for the plugin to work after you follow the instructions.
Once it has finished running, you’ll be prompted to save a CSV file onto your computer. This will have the information that we need to actually start diving in.
The audit can be done in three distinct steps.
First, delete all of the duplicates – make sure to leave one of each website so you can manually check it later.
Second, go through the entire CSV, and delete all the irrelevent websites listed. These will be things like news site, websites that don’t actually have your information on them, websites you cannot edit, etc.
If you find blatant citations in business directories that you didn’t create, and you can’t edit, don’t delete these – take note of them for another day.
These are generated by data aggregators. All you need to do is find out which company shared the data to make this happen, and then edit it at the source – it is a very common practice in the business directory world.
Lastly, visit each link one by one and edit the information to reflect your correct NAP address. It is important to note that some citations will automatically default “Street” to “St” and if that is the case, you’ve done all you can do and it is okay to leave it that way – so don’t worry.
If you’d like a video example of how I personally perform the audit for my clients, I’ll need an example website to use. Post your website below with “You can use my website” and I will start your audit for you, record it on video and then post it here for you, and everyone else to learn from.
Andrew is an SEO expert and digital marketing enthusiast. His knowledge of SEO coupled with his social work background makes him an excellent candidate to help YOU get to the top of your industry's search engine results pages.