When you search for a product or service, it always helps to have clear, easy access to the results you need. How often have you looked elsewhere for services or given up when it was too difficult to find the info you needed? It’s never comforting to feel uncertain about the details of the business you’re working with. Or, to be unsure of what you’re spending money on. As a therapist, it’s very important to include consistent and available info about your practice for people to see. So, that’s why the topic of the day is a little something known as NAP!
What is NAP?
If there is one thing you remember from today, I hope it is that NAP is a very important acronym when it comes to a website’s SEO. You may not be familiar with this term since it would be considered an element of off-page SEO and our blog posts frequently focus on on-page SEO.
However, being familiar with it will help your practice stand out from the rest. Simply put, NAP stands for “name, address, and phone number.” This is a big focus for Google, as it helps to better identify your practice on a local level. Providing this info along with hours of operation, available parking, handicap accessibility, etc. consistently various places on the internet will make it easier for those in your area to learn more about your services.
Why is NAP important?
Having consistent NAP information that’s found on various sites on the website helps with your local SEO (helping you show up in search results when someone near your business is looking for your services). When the same name, address and phone number show up multiple places on the web for your practice, you build authority and trust with Google. The engine always aims to provide the best, most relevant results in the top search results. So, ensuring that you are making it as easy as possible for people to find the info they need is crucial to attaining and maintaining successful SEO. The easier it is to learn about your practice, the better.
Of course, the more information you can provide about your practice is great in the eyes of Google. But, NAP should be the gold standard for what gets included on your site. We recommend that you have this information in an accessible, visible location. Your NAP info might live right above your main navigation bar, or at the end of your page in the footer. Having this available will help visitors to your site see this info no matter the page they’re on.
Directories and Listings
It is worth mentioning that your NAP information shouldn’t only stay on your website. This is actually another reason why therapist directories can do wonders for SEO! Local and reputable directories provide a popular hub for others to discover your practice. This added visibility can make it easier for potential clients to find your practice. As an added benefit, having your NAP listed on a creditable directory also gives your site a backlink. This helps your site become recognized as another credible source. Thus, Google views your site as one that deserves to be seen, and is more likely to push it up in the rankings!
Yet, it is also worth stating there are a lot of “spammy” directories out there. If you find that your site has a listing on another site, it is always a good idea to look into it. Determine if it is creditable, or if it’s from another site that only cares about your link. It can be an uphill battle to keep your NAP info off of “spammy” directories. But, it is worth it in the end so Google doesn’t lump your site in with others that might be less than reputable. Earning the right backlinks can be difficult, so our team made a comprehensive guide just for that!
NAP Consistency is King
How confusing would it be to see the address of a business listed on a directory, only to see a different address for the same business listed elsewhere? This is exactly the type of situation we want to avoid. So, using a tool that detects these discrepancies among listings can be invaluable. Confirming that the right NAP info is consistent across Google is very important. If it isn’t, this doesn’t only confuse Google. It may also hurt your chances of ranking well and may drive away potential business as a result. It’s always best to be as crystal clear as possible!
Keeping NAP Current is Queen
In addition to having consistent info across Google, it is also important to ensure it stays up to date! If you plan on moving your practice to a new location, be sure to update your NAP info. This can be a pain to coordinate based on the number of sites your info is on. But, it is always worth it to keep this info as current as possible.
But Wait, What if My Practice is Online Only?
With the global pandemic, more therapists have begun offering online services. For many, they may have decided to ditch the office to cut back unnecessary costs. Or, they have found ways to provide support for clients from home with online therapy. In cases like this where your office is technically your home, your NAP info would have to include your actual home address.
For a vast majority of mental health private practice owners who have an online-only business, this is the info they don’t want to be posted for anyone to see. But, Google My Business isn’t meant to be available for online-only practices. It was created with physical, brick-and-mortar locations in mind. Since having an online practice often happens from home, therapists need to provide their personal information. In some instances, you may be able to “hide” your address and just choose your “service areas.” However, in some cases online business owners may choose to forgo listing their business on Google My Business (GMB) altogether. Although there may be other places your name and phone number can show up on directories, resource lists, etc.
However, online practice owners who really want to have a GMB profile
do possible alternatives to listing their home address. These workarounds can provide online therapists with similar opportunities as in-person therapists. In fact, our team has written a helpful blog on the subject! Click here to learn more
about these alternative options.
Closing Thoughts About NAP
With the popularity of online therapy, it isn’t wild to think that Google will change its guidelines. The rules that Google creates change as our world does. It is difficult for online therapists to navigate their business in some respects. But Google will be likely to better accommodate online therapists in the future. NAP is such an important part of SEO. In fact, it is all but a necessity to be competitive in the rankings.
If they do change these guidelines, you can be sure we will create a helpful guide! We love providing support and will be happy to support you in developing and maintaining your online presence.
Begin SEO Services with Simplified SEO Consulting
You don’t have to search directories and keep track of your info alone. Our team
is happy to offer the tools you need to keep track of your NAP info. We also provide support in disavowing any links to “spammy” sites that may be benefiting from yours. We’re experienced in on-page SEO optimization. We offer a variety of services to help you climb the rankings on Google. To start SEO services with Simplified SEO Consulting
, please follow these simple steps:
Start becoming more visible, and helping your ideal clients!
Other Services Offered with Simplified SEO Consulting
Simplified SEO Consulting provides several services to help private practice owners thrive. We offer both Done for You SEO services and a la carte services. For those who have completed our program, we also provide alumni support. If you are curious about learning more about SEO, we also offer training opportunities as well. We also offer an SEO strategy package for support with reaching your ideal clients. Contact us today to learn more about our services, and start rising the ranks of Google!
About the Author
Sterling Humburg-Cage graduated from the University of Missouri with a BA in Psychology in 2020. He integrates what he learned in school into his work as an SEO Specialist with Simplified SEO Consulting. Sterling prides himself on helping current clients & alumni problems solve difficult SEO issues. He’s great at giving clients multiple options about how to approach a situation and responding quickly to client concerns. Since he started, Sterling has met frequently with our alumni and provided them extra problem-solving support, often going the extra mile to do outside research and make sure private practice owners have everything they need to rank well on search engines long term for the keywords their ideal clients are using!