Unfortunately, I’m not talking about sleep, though sleep is always nice when you can get it as a small business owner.  In this case, NAP’s refer to Name, Address, Phone Citations.  In the world of local search, these are a huge factor in your ability to rank highly when people search for what you do locally.  The more credible sources out there that contain consistent name, address, and phone listings for you, the more the search engines trust you are who you say you are, and you exist where you say you do, and you begin to  move up.

I don’t want to discount other factors such as your website strength, quality and consistency of reviews, and of course your local proximity.  However, NAP’s are a fairly easy way to give your business a boost that you actually control. Go out and claim your Yahoo, Google, Bing, Yelp, Merchant Circle, superpages, and more listing.  Make sure you use the exact same name, address, and phone number everywhere.  Just as getting these citations helps you, being inconsistent hurts you.  I have seen one listing drop 6 spots in a few days because they accidentally put the wrong phone number on their facebook page. I have seen a listing drop significantly because they listed their address as Trail on some listings and then went out to some more and abbreviated it Trl.  Please be careful and consistent and building out NAP’s can be your best friend.

What To Do For Yourself

If you don’t want to hire someone like me that has relationships and research on the best NAP’s to attain, just go to Google and search what you do. If you are a painter, search “Painter” combined with your town name.  Go through the top 5 to 10 pages in google and add your business to every general directory that comes up.  Different directories are more important for different types of businesses, but if you at least claim everything you find in these first 5-10 pages, you will be a step ahead of most of your competitors.