Jul 25, 2012
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Hi Linda,

In a post that you made on a thread in the Google Products Forums called: What NAP Should We Use When There Are 2 City Names To Choose From For Business? you said/asked the following:

So how do you decide best address format to use? We checked address citations but I don't have in front of me so not sure what version of address had the most matches.

I recommend about 4 types of address research before deciding if it's advisable to change NAP, but it almost seems like no matter how logical and smart you are about the address format, G just switches it on you anyway.

I was wondering if you could expand here on what are the four types of address research that you recommend.

I would suggest basic Google searches for a company's phone number, company name, street address and website URL (all separate searches) to reveal basic NAP variations that might exist right off the bat.

However, using and to search the NAP info is also helpful to reveal listing variations in a nice graphical format. (Then what I do is take a screen shot of the search results on those NAP search sites to easily compare 'before and after' optimization efforts.)

What do you recommend?

Linda Buquet

Local Search Expert
Jun 28, 2012
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Hi Russ,

I spend about 20 minutes verbally explaining how to do all the options in my training, because it's so complicated and convoluted AND CRITICAL to get NAP right. Don't have anything written up and it would be too much with my carpal to just try to write up for one reply. Maybe some day I'll try to summarize it all in a blog post.

A couple easy things I can give you that don't require writing a book.

USPS VERIFICATION: You can also use this tool to see what USPS says is official address format.!input.action

NOTE: USPS usually formats Suite as Ste - so often you'll find the most "Name Match" citations with that format. But IMO G does not like that format. I say that because even if the overwhelming # of citations for a business are Ste, I seldom see scraped unclaimed dupes with Ste and seldom see her change someones listing from Suite or # to Ste.

Then there are a bunch of other things I teach that are too complicated to explain by typing. Just had an idea. Due to my carpal probs I should find an app so I can just add audio snippets to try to explain complicated stuff I don't want to have to try to type out. OR really I just need to start getting comfortable doing screenshare videos.


After I explain all the options in my training then I REALLY STRESS to carefully to weigh all the research then VERY carefully decide if the NAP change is worth the risk. If it will help or potentially hurt.

(Copied from my training docs)

WARNING WARNING WARNING ? Any change to NAP can result in lost reviews/rank and G has been really bad about losing reviews. PLUS she'll often change address on you after you get it perfect. So CAREFULLY EVALUATE NAP changes. Use all the reseach I listed above to eval what Google would 'think' correct NAP is. THEN weight the potential risk/reward for ranking impact or lost reviews.

My general rule of thumb with NAP changes these days is "If it ain't broke - DON'T fix it!"

Meaning - if the name is keyword stuffed, has city added or is totally wrong - yea it's broke you have to fix it! (But if matter it's a matter of something small like Inc included or not and core name is right, then not broke, carefully weigh a change.)

If the address is wrong or suite is missing - ya it's broke, fix it.

But if the only thing you feel is a little out of whack on NAP is there are more citations for Suite - so you want to change # to Suite I'd really question whether it's worth the risk. (But if not ranking now and no reviews either, then maybe - so again it's all relative! Every case is different.)

One of the reasons I really warn strongly about making minor NAP changes just to try to capture existing citations is... if you change NAP to match to most citations, then change site to match, then start building new matching citations - OFTEN AFTER you do all that work, she'll just change the address back on you anyway.

The other thing I teach (complicated to explain) is if you DO need to make NAP changes there is a way to avoid verification which saves tons of time, several steps, delay AND headaches trying to get the pin from clients.

SO there you can see even cutting out the most important stuff I still ended up writing a book just to explain some of it. :p

But anyway, there are quite a few important tips that should help.


Jul 25, 2012
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Hi Linda

You said:

[...] I really warn strongly about making minor NAP changes just to try to capture existing citations [...]

Two Questions:

1. What do you mean by 'capture existing citations'?

2. Also what is your theory behind the concept of capturing existing citations?


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