The Importance of NAP and How to Use It

by Nick Gromicko, CMI®, Founder

It’s important to have your name, address, and phone number -- often referred to as NAP by SEO professionals -- on your home inspection business website and elsewhere on the web. Google and other search engines rely on this data to inform local search ranking, which has become one of the biggest ways prospective clients find home inspectors online. InterNACHI highly recommends you add this to every page of your website.

According to research by market analysts comScore, Neustar Localeze, and agency 15 Miles, address and location are the primary pieces of information sought by local searchers.

Google’s stats on local SEO show the breadth of the importance of NAP:
  • There are approximately 7.5 billion local searches a month.
  • A whopping 87% of people who search for a particular type of local business call or visit one within the following subsequent hours. 
There are two main factors to flesh out when you’re optimizing your home inspection business’s NAP: consistency across the pages on your website; and consistency across
online directories. 
Let’s start with the NAP on your business website. First of all, you’ll want to make sure that search engines can “read” your NAP. The information should be actual text, rather than an image with text on it, because Google can't “read” or see images like we do.
The placement and look of your NAP doesn’t have to be complicated.  A simple blurb with your name, address and location somewhere on your homepage is sufficient, preferably above the fold where people will see it first thing when they arrive at your website.  (Borrowed from newspaper parlance, "above the fold" refers to the area people can see without having to scroll down.)  But do render that information in the exact same order and format on each page of your website.  Google's bots will read "1750 30th St" differently than "1750 30th Street."
In a wider scope, your NAP should be listed and consistent in the major business directories and search engines. These include Google, Facebook, Foursquare, Superpages, Infogroup, Localeze, Factual, Citysearch, InsiderPages, Best of the Web, Yelp, Bing, and Yellow Pages (in addition to any websites that cater to your town or city).
The ranking factor identified as the most important in competitive markets is the consistency of these listings. References to your business’s name, address, and phone number can be almost anywhere, but most of them are in local directories. Consistent data in these directories shows search engines that a business is real and located at the listed address, and search engines reward that consistency with higher rankings.
While providing this information may seem like a no-brainer, a Constant Contact survey revealed that over 50% of small businesses surveyed knew that they had inaccuracies in their address listings, but 70% of these businesses said they simply did not have the time to update their listings across all directories. This is troubling, especially because, according to the SEO software company Moz, the number one negative ranking factor is a false business address, and the third negative ranking factor is inaccuracy in NAP information across directories. 
TIP:  Make sure you have “I serve customers at this address” checked in your google business preferences. Unless that is checked, Google will not show your listing on that search. 
If you use InterNACHI's local SEO listing tool to further promote your business in local search results, you'll create consistency in the listings provided by us and our affiliated directories. When you use this tool, we take the information from your home inspection business listing on Google and display that. That tactic ensures that we are displaying the same NAP that is in your Google listing, which means consistency across all of our inspector listings.
Whether your home inspection business is new or has been established for decades, it's important to utilize the tools and information that search engines give you in order to compete on a local level. Yes, word-of-mouth plays a huge role in marketing locally, but, let's face it:  more than ever before, people are going online to find the products and services they're looking for.  And NAP listings are one simple yet highly effective tool that you can use to jump ahead of your local competitors.
NOTE: If our SEO tool isn't working for you, check the location settings on your Google listing. In order for us to get the location information from Google, you need to make sure you have the “I serve customers at my location” option checked. Otherwise, Google will not give us your information. Try that and you should show up in our system.

Finally, read: Search Engine Optimization Tips for Home Inspectors and do what it advises.