Posts

Doing a NAPW Cleanup

napw

What is NAPW Data?

NAPW stands for Name, Address, Phone Number, and Website. The ultimate goal of local SEO is to ensure that every online directory listing (or citation), such as Google+, Yelp, Yellow Pages, etc., contains the same NAPW data.

An example of 3PRIME's NAPW data on Yelp

An example of 3PRIME’s NAPW data on Yelp. Click for a larger image.

What is a NAPW Cleanup?

A NAPW cleanup (also called a citation cleanup) involves fixing or deleting 3 types of listings:

  • Duplicate citations in the same directory
  • Citations with incorrect NAPW information
  • Incomplete listings, especially those missing your number or website

NAPW cleanups are wise choice for companies that have changed their name, address, phone number, or website in the past. NAPW cleanups are especially recommended for companies that have moved recently.

The Purpose of a NAPW Cleanup

For People:

Let’s say I’m searching for a pizza delivery restaurant in my town (Hamden, CT). I find a Yelp listing for a restaurant called XYZ Pizza in Hamden. Unbeknownst to me, XYZ Pizza recently moved to another town and changed their name, address, number, and website. However, they’ve made none of these changes to their Yelp listing. I call the restaurant and no one answers. I assume that they are closed and go call another restaurant. This confusion (and subsequent loss of business) could have easily been avoided with a NAPW cleanup.

For Search Engines:

When you create citations for your business, you are repeatedly assuring search engines that your business is indeed called by its name and is located at the correct address with the right contact information. The more correct citations you have, the more a search engine trusts your website and rewards you with higher rankings.

Having too many inconsistent citations lowers a search engine’s trust in your website and lowers your rankings. This is especially disastrous if it causes you to end up anywhere besides the first page of Google because 90% of people never advance past itAccording to Moz, “citations and external location signals are the 3rd most important ranking factor according to the Moz local search ranking factors survey. This is why it’s essential that you have your correct NAP listed across the major citation sources”. Thus, a NAPW cleanup is an integral part of any local SEO strategy. 

How to Do a NAPW Cleanup?

Data Aggregators First

Before you actually start a NAPW cleanup, you need to fix your company’s information in the data aggregators. A lot of directories get their listing information from these aggregators and incorrect information there results in incorrect listings. To learn how to claim and correct your company information in data aggregators, read my post.

Compile a List of Citations

If you are working for a client, be sure to ask them for all previous addresses and phone numbers, along with different variations of their company’s name. Let’s say I’m doing a NAPW cleanup for this company called Al’s Store. This is their correct NAPW data:

  • NAME: Al’s Store LLC
  • ADDRESS: 123 Fake Street, New Haven, CT 06511
  • PHONE: 203.555.1234
  • WEBSITE: AlsStore.com

My goal is to make sure that all the company’s listings should have this information. From the owner, I’ve gotten the following information:

  • PREVIOUS PHONE NUMBER: 203.555.4321
  • PREVIOUS ADDRESS: 123 Main Street, Hamden, CT 06518

Basically, I need to find any listings for Al’s Store that’s associated with the old phone number and address. I first start out by Googling the following queries:

  1. “Al’s Store” “203.555.4321”
  2. “Al’s Store” “123 Main”
  3. “Al’s Store” “Hamden”
  4. “Al’s Store” “06518”

I try to keep my queries as basic as possible. For #2, I left out “Street” so I don’t miss any citations that use abbreviations like “St” or “Str”. I also avoid “LLC” in all my queries because many directories consider legal entities in a business’s names to be negligible. In addition, I also left out the website. This is because directories often write the link different (for example, www versus no www) or have the company’s name (or something else like “Visit our website”) as anchor text.

I gather all the URLs from my search results and put them in a spreadsheet. This will help organize outreach efforts to webmasters. To stay organized, I alphabetize the links and delete the duplicates.

Gathering Contact Information

For each URL , you want to find the right contact information for the webmaster. The first things to look for are an email address on the website or a contact form. If you cannot find either of these, you should do a Whois lookup for the domain to see if you can find an email address. I use Register.com’s Whois lookup service. If you don’t find an email address from a Whois lookup (or from the website), you will need to do further research to find alternate ways to contact the webmaster.

Doing a Whois lookup for Moz.com

Doing a Whois lookup for Moz.com

 

Contacting Webmasters

I recommend first contacting webmasters through the contact form or email addresses that you found on the website. If these two things don’t work or go unanswered, try the email found in the Whois lookup.

When sending out emails, be sure to be as straight forward and simple as possible. Many webmasters are from other countries so English might not be their first language. If you are doing a NAPW cleanup for a client, having an email address from the client’s domain gives you more credibility. If this isn’t possible, be sure to provide your client’s contact information (see sample emails below).

I recommend doing 3-4 rounds of contacting webmasters. After each round, be sure to note which listings have been changed or deleted so you don’t waste time unnecessarily contacting them again.

Sample Emails

These are emails that I would send out on behalf of a client:

Single Listing:

Dear Sir/Ma’am:

[INSERT LISTING URL HERE]

I represent Al’s Store LLC. The above listing contains outdated information about the business.

The following is the current and correct information for the business:

  • Name: Al’s Store LLC
  • Address: 123 Fake Street, New Haven, CT 06511
  • Phone Number: 203.555.1234
  • Website: http://www.alsstore.com

Can you please make these changes? If not, can you please delete the listing? Please contact me if you have any questions.  

If you need any further verification that I am working on behalf of Al’s Store, please contact Al Smith (203.555.1234 or al@alsstore.com) and he will verify that I (Zubin Doshi from 3PRIME LLC) am indeed working for them.

Two or More Listings:

Dear Sir/Ma’am:

  • [INSERT LISTING URL HERE]
  • [INSERT LISTING URL HERE]

I represent Al’s Store LLC. On the above pages, I found listings for this business with incorrect names, address, and phone numbers. The following is the correct information for the business:

  • Name: Al’s Store LLC
  • Address: 123 Fake Street, New Haven, CT 06511
  • Phone Number: 203.555.1234
  • Website: http://www.alsstore.com

Can you please merge these listings into one with the correct information? If not, can you please delete them entirely? Please contact me if you have any questions.

If you need any further verification that I am working on behalf of Al’s Store, please contact Al Smith (203.555.1234 or al@alsstore.com) and he will verify that I (Zubin Doshi from 3PRIME LLC) am indeed working for them.

Evaluating Results

Whenever I’ve done NAPW cleanups, I notice that I get the majority of listings changed or deleted after the first round of contacting webmasters. Each subsequent round results in diminishing returns but is worth it, especially if a listing is on a highly trafficked website.

For listings that I have no success with, it usually comes down to one of the following factors:

  • Scraper websites that won’t change their data, no matter how many times you ask.
  • Websites based in other countries with webmasters unable to understand English.
  • Websites that have pretty much been abandoned with no one to maintain them.
  • Websites with no available contact information (even with a Whois lookup) or incorrect contact information that results in a response from  Mailer-Daemon.

Additional Information

Moz Local: This tool helps you find your listings on major directories and data aggregators. It also helps you pinpoint variations in your NAPW data that could be useful when compiling a list of citations.

The Best Whois Lookup Service For International TLDs

Ambushed By Spammy Links

In the last few weeks, I’ve noticed that someone has been trying to tamper with my client’s search engine rankings. The saboteur (most likely a competitor) is using an old school tactic by creating hundreds of spammy comment links using a phrase that my client wants to rank for as anchor text. According to Google, this spam tactic is ultimately futile:

“Google has an understanding of the link graph of the web, and has algorithmic ways of discovering those alterations and tackling them. At best, a link spammer might spend hours doing spammy linkdrops which would count for little or nothing because Google is pretty good at devaluing these types of links.”

spammy comment links

An example of spammy comment links

In addition, most of these spammy links are nofollow links. Thus, the effort to sabotage my client’s rankings is all the more ineffective. I have yet to notice a drop in rankings or traffic. But I’d rather not take a chance risking a penalty from Google which is why I’m taking action now.

Using rmoov To Clean Up The Mess

Since I’m dealing with links from hundreds of different websites, I don’t have time to contact each individual webmaster to get these links removed. To make my life easier, I’m using a great tool call rmoov that allows you to automate the link removal process by taking the following steps:

• Add a list of URLs
• rmoov pulls contact information for each domain
• Customize email templates and start your campaign
• rmoov creates and sends email, follows up with reminders, automatically checks links, provides a reporting system for domain owners, marks domains cleaned up and auto-fills a record of every step straight into a Google doc so you can see what’s happening along the way.

Sha Menz, the lead software architect for rmoov, further highlights the benefits of using this tool:

“rmoov allows you to scale outreach but maintain manual control when necessary. You can customize emails for particular webmasters, submit forms. and report on your activities with ease.”

When you upload a list of websites, rmoov will usually find the Whois information for websites with top level domains (TLDs) that are widely used in the United States, such as .com, .org, .net, .edu, and .gov. But for TLDs used in other countries, you often have to find the webmaster’s contact information yourself.

Finding Whois Information For Foreign TLDs

As Media Temple explains, “a Whois search will provide information regarding a domain name, such as example.com. It may include information, such as domain ownership, where and when registered, expiration date, and the nameservers assigned to the domain”.

For URLs with American TLDs, I use Register.com’s Whois Lookup service. GoDaddy’s Whois Lookup service is also very reliable. Below is a screenshot of the Whois lookup for 3PRIME’s website:

Whois lookup for 3PRIME's website

Finding the contact information is easy for websites with American TLDs, regardless of what Whois lookup service you’re using. However, the same cannot be said when looking up information for websites with foreign TLDs for two reasons:

1. Some countries will release all necessary contact information for their respective TLD, while other countries will keep that information private. When I do a Whois lookup for a .nl (Netherlands) domain, I can usually find the website administrator’s name and email address. When I a Whois lookup for a .dk (Denmark) domain, I can usually find the website administrator’s name but not the email address. And when I do a Whois lookup for a .al (Albania) domain, I can’t find any useful information. For cases like this, you need to go to the website itself to find the necessary contact information.

2. In my experience, Whois lookup services (such as Register.com and GoDaddy) for domains with American TLDs are fairly consistent. Each Whois lookup service gives you the same information that the others give you. But once again, the same can’t be said for Whois lookup services targeting foreign TLDs. Some Whois lookup services claim they can find the Whois information for a variety of foreign TLDs. But from what I’ve seen, a Whois lookup service will find what I need for a domain with Country A’s TLD, but will find nothing useful when looking up a domain with Country B’s TLD. However, when I use a different Whois lookup service for a domain with Country B’s TLD, I can often find what I’m looking for.

The Best Whois Lookup Services

As I explained earlier, oftentimes rmoov was unable to find the Whois information for websites with foreign TLDs. Due to this, I had to find the best Whois lookup for each TLD I encountered. I have put together a comprehensive list of the best Whois lookup service for every TLD I encountered.

How It Works:

  • Click the TLD to go to the respective Whois lookup website.
  • Country: This field says what country the TLD is for.
  • Language:  This field says what language the Whois lookup website is in.
  • Finds Emails: This field says whether you can find email addresses for the website’s administrator(s).
  • Comments: Any relevant information about the Whois lookup service.

 


.al 

Country: Albania
Language: English
Finds emails: No
Comments: No matter what the URL is (ending with “.al” or “.com.al”), always leave out the “.al” when entering it in the URL field. This website (or any other .al Whois lookup services) is pretty much useless when it comes to offering any information about .al websites or their owners.

Trivia: Albania’s name in Albanian is Shqipëri. This roughly translates to “land of the understanding”.

.ar

Country: Argentina
Language: Spanish, but Google Translate works well
Finds emails: No
Comments: n/a

Trivia: Argentina is a Spanish word for “silvery”. This word originates from the Latin word for silver: argentum. Argentina is the 10th largest producer of silver in the world.

.au

Country: Australia
Language: English
Finds emails: Yes
Comments: n/a

Trivia:  The name Australia comes from the Latin word australis, meaning southern. Since the early 20th century, the country has colloquially been referred to as Oz.

.br

Country: Brazil
Language: Portuguese (see Comments for more details)
Finds emails: Yes
Comments: Google Translate doesn’t work well for this website. The captcha is not easy to work with. It shows you a set of numbers or letters and gives you a question (always in Portuguese but easy to figure out) such as “How many letters?” or “What the consonants?”.

To properly operate the website, you need to first enter the URL into the top field. Then answer the captcha question. After you do that, hit enter. Do NOT click the green “Consult/Consultar” button on the right of the URL field. If you don’t follow these instructions, you’ll have to do the entire process over again.

Trivia: Brazil’s name comes from brazilwood (pau-brasil in Portuguese). Brazilwood is an endangered tree that was once plentiful on the Brazilian coastline.

.ch

Country: Switzerland
Language: English
Finds emails: No
Comments: n/a

Trivia: The TLD .ch comes from Confoederatio Helvetica (Latin for the Swiss Confederation, the country’s official name in English). Switzerland has four official names in each of its four official languages: Schweizerische Eidgenossenschaft (German), Confédération Suisse (French), Confederazione Svizzera (Italian), and Confederaziun Svizra (Romansh).

.cl

Country: Chile
Language: Spanish, but Google Translate works well
Finds emails: No
Comments: n/a

Trivia: From the beginning of Spanish rule in 1535, Chile was spelled “Chili”. The name originated from a Native American language but no one has agreed on which one (Quechua, Aymara, or Mapuche). This spelling was in use in English until 1900.

.cz

Country: Czech Republic
Language: Czech, but Google Translate works well
Finds Emails: Yes
Comments: n/a

Trivia: Before Czechoslovakia split in 1993, the country used the TLD .cs. Slovakia’s TLD is now .sk.

.dk

Country: Denmark
Language: English
Finds emails: No, but usually gives phone numbers
Comments: n/a

Trivia: The name Denmark most likely comes from a combination of two Old Norse words: dhen (meaning “low” or flat”) and mǫrk (meaning “forest” or “borderland”).

.ee

Country: Estonia
Language:  English
Finds Emails:  Yes
Comments: Use the “Domain Search” feature on the top-left corner of the page to find the Whois information

Trivia: The TLD .ee comes from Eesti, the country’s name in Estonian.

.es

Country: Spain
Language: English
Finds emails: Yes
Comments: n/a

Trivia: The TLD .es comes from España, the country’s name in Castilian (the Spanish dialect most widely spoken in Spain). 

.eu

Country: European Union
Language: English
Finds emails: Yes
Comments: n/a

Trivia: Founded in 1957, the European Union now has 28 members. The EU has 24 different names in its 24 official languages.

.fi

Country: Finland
Language: Finnish (see Comments for more details)
Finds emails: No
Comments: Google Translate isn’t perfect for this website. To do a Whois lookup, enter your URL and then click the orange “Etsi (Search)” button.

Trivia: The Republic of Finland has two official names: one in Finnish (Suomen tasavalta) and one in Swedish (Republiken Finland).

.gr

Country: Greece
Language: English
Finds emails: No
Comments: You can sometimes get the email for where the domain is registered but that’s not helpful for removing bad links

Trivia: The official name for Greece is the Hellenic Republic, or Ellīnikī́ Dīmokratía in Greek.

.hu

Country: Hungary
Language: English
Finds emails: Yes
Comments: After entering in the URL and clicking “Search”, click the blue “Applicant/registrant of the domain” to see the Whois information.

Trivia: The Republic of Hungary is called Magyar Köztársaság in Hungarian.

.ie

Country: Ireland
Language: English
Finds emails: No
Comments: n/a

Trivia: Ireland has two other official names: Éire in Irish and Airlann in Ulster-Scots (a dialect of English spoken in Northern Ireland).

.il

Country: Israel
Language: English
Finds emails: Yes
Comments: n/a

Trivia: Israel has 2 official names: one in Hebrew (Medīnat Yisrā’el) and one in Arabic (Dawlat Isrāʼīl). Both names mean “the State of Israel” in English.

.it

Country: Italy
Language: English
Finds emails: Yes
Comments: n/a

Trivia: The name Italy comes from the Latin word italia, meaning “calf land”. Many ancient Southern Italian tribes had the bull as their symbol.

.jp

Country: Japan
Language: English
Finds emails: Yes
Comments: n/a

Trivia: Japan’s official name is Nihon-koku (or the less common Nippon-koku). Both names mean “[the] State of Japan”.

.ke

Country: Kenya
Language: English
Finds emails: No
Comments: n/a

Trivia: Kenya is named after Mt. Kenya, the highest mountain in Kenya and the 2nd highest peak in Africa. Mt. Kenya’s name comes from the Kikuyu word kere nyaga, meaning “white mountain”.

.mx

Country: Mexico
Language: English
Finds emails: No
Comments: n/a

Trivia: Mexico comes from Mēxihco, a Nahuatl name for Valley of Mexico. The Valley of Mexico was the heartland of the Aztec Empire and is now where Mexico City is located.

.nl

Country: Netherlands
Language: Dutch, but Google Translate works well
Finds emails: Yes
Comments: For some reason, a plurality of my links were .nl websites so I ended up using this Whois service often. The Whois lookup will shut you out after doing 15 searches within 24 hours. I’m sure other Whois lookup services have similar limits but I never used them long enough to find out.

Trivia: The Netherlands and Holland are not interchangeable names. The Netherlands is made up of 12 provinces. Two of the provinces are named North Holland and South Holland. Calling the Netherlands “Holland” is like calling the United States “Dakota” or “Carolina”.

.nu

Country: Niue
Language: English
Finds emails: Yes
Comments: n/a

Trivia: Even though this TLD is meant for Niue (a Pacific Island), it is widely used in Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands and Belgium. This is because nu is the word for “now” in Swedish, Danish and Dutch.

.ph

Country: Philippines
Language: English
Finds emails: No
Comments: This website (or any other .ph Whois lookup websites) are pretty much useless when it comes to offering any information about .ph websites or their owners.

Trivia: The Philippines was named for King Philip II of Spain. The Spanish colonized the Philippines in 1565.

.pk

Country: Pakistan
Language: English
Finds emails: No
Comments: n/a

Trivia: Pakistan’s name comes from its 5 regions: Punjab, Afghania (also known as the North-West Frontier), Kashmir, Sindh, and Baluchistan. The letter “i” was put in to make the name easier to pronounce.

.pl

Country: Poland
Language: Polish, but Google Translate works well
Finds emails: No
Comments: n/a

Trivia: The Republic of Poland’s official name in Polish is Rzeczpospolita Polska.

.ro

Country: Romania
Language: English
Finds emails: No
Comments: This website (or any other .ro Whois lookup websites) are pretty much useless when it comes to offering any information about .ro websites or their owners.

Trivia: Romania’s name comes from the Latin word, romanus, meaning “citizen of Rome”.

.rs

Country: Serbia
Language: Serbian
Finds emails: No
Comments: n/a

Trivia: .rs stands for Republika Srbija, Serbian for the Republic of Serbia. Serbian is the only European language that uses both the Latin and Cyrillic alphabets.

.ru

Country: Russia
Language: English
Finds emails: No
Comments: n/a

Trivia: The name Russia comes from Rus, a medieval kingdom that was located in present-day Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus.

.sd

Country: Sudan
Language: English
Finds emails: No
Comments: This website (or any other .sd Whois lookup websites) are pretty much useless when it comes to offering any information about .sd websites or their owners.

Trivia: South Sudan, which split from Sudan in 2011, now uses the TLD .ss.

.se

Country: Sweden
Language: English
Finds emails: Yes
Comments: n/a

Trivia: Sweden’s official name is Kingdom of Sweden, or Konungariket Sverige in Swedish.

.si

Country: Slovenia
Language: Slovenian, but Google Translate works well
Finds emails: Yes
Comments: n/a

Trivia: The official name of Slovenia is the Republic of Slovenia, or Republika Slovenija in Slovenian.

.tw

Country: Taiwan
Language: English
Finds emails: Yes
Comments: n/a

Trivia: Taiwan’s official name is the Republic of China. Mainland China’s official name is the People’s Republic of China.

.ug

Country: Uganda
Language: English
Finds emails: Yes
Comments: n/a

Trivia: Uganda takes it’s name from the word buganda (meaning “kindgom of the Ganda people”). The Ganda people are the country’s largest ethnic group.

.uk

Country: United Kingdom
Language: English
Finds emails: No
Comments: n/a

Trivia: Prior to June 10, 2014, it was only permissible register second-level domains such as co.uk, .org.uk, ltd.uk, etc. But after that date, URLS with the TLD .uk were permitted (such as internet.uk).

.uy

Country: Uruguay
Language: xEnglish
Finds emails: Yes
Comments: I’d recommend using this Whois service at the same time. In my experience, I found additional email addresses many times.

Trivia: The name Uruguay comes from the Guarani word, urugua, a type of shellfish that is common in the Uruguay River.

.vn

Country: Vietnam
Language: English
Finds emails: No
Comments: After you type the URL and click “Search”, click the red “is registered” link to see the Whois information

Trivia: Vietnam’s official name is the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, or Cộng hòa Xã hội chủ nghĩa Việt Nam in Vietnamese.

 

Portfolio Items

Testimonials

Joseph S. Zuritsky

I want to compliment you on the success we have had using your advice and techniques to move our company to the first page on Google using two different word searches.

We continue to follow your advice and have maintained our excellent placement.