Are Citations Worth the Effort?
In short, the answer is YES! In this blog post we aim to highlight why and how you can implement citations into your local SEO strategy.
We are in an age of high competition, businesses are constantly looking to stay ahead of the competition or at least keep pace. With this is mind, it’s important to keep an eye on your competitors marketing efforts and understand which channels they do and do not operate. This analysis could provide your business with an opportunity (if they aren’t active) or a threat (If they are active).
One marketing tactics any local business should be looking to utilise is Local SEO. The purpose of local SEO is make your business visible in local searches and improve your placement within the Google Maps application. With the desired objective of increasing website traffic from local customers who have a desire for your product or services.
This is where Citations come into play. They are a major component in boosting Local SEO ranking signals but are often ignored by many businesses. Therefore offering your business an opportunity to get above the competition.
Citations are referred to as “mentions” of your business and are often in the form of online business directories. Citations need to include components that will best describe your business. Primarily, a basic citation should have a name, email address and telephone number (NAP). It’s often a good idea to incorporate other components of your business such as photos, services provided and other business information that customers made find useful, ie opening times.
How Do Local Citations Work?
We had previously mentioned citations are mentions. These are different from backlinks. Backlinks are links on other website that directly point back to your site.
The purpose of any citation is to ensure that your business or information about your business is mentioned on many websites as possible. Like any other ranking factor, citations require structuring so that they work optimally. It’s necessary that citations are used uniformly across all placement sites. If one of the citations is different from the rest, for instance, your telephone is misspelt or wrong address; it might create confusion, negating its efficiency and reduce authenticity.
Why Citations Are Important?
Promotes Your Business
As citations are often found in online business directories they often appear on website in which potential customers are searching for products or services related to your business such as yell.com or 192.com. Therefore just showing up will help to increase the visibility business.
So, having citations, whether optimized or not, will allow more consumers to discover you and your business.
It’s good to know thou, most online directories usually have a sophisticated platform that usually allows users to filter the results depending on several metrics such as services, location, and business category. This offers you the opportunity to provide further information regarding your business, information which can appeal to both potential customers and which google can use to help determine relevancy.
Citations often help search engines to verify that your business exists. Search engines use the citations to verify the accuracy of the contact details. If your NAP is listed in many credible sources, it signals to Google that your business is legitimate. Helping to create authority and establish trust.
Organic and Local Ranking
Regarding ranking, citations are not as quite as powerful as they once were. However, citation signals are major algorithm components and still have a significant impact on the local and organic rankings. For example if all other factors remaining constant, businesses with a higher number of citations will rank higher than businesses with few or no citations. Due to the establishment of authority and trust that citation deliver.
Therefore, if your citations are consistent and accurate across well-established online business directories and indexed portals, Google could reciprocate by giving you more prominence to its SERPS.
Get More Links
We had mentioned earlier, that citation is primarily built from NAP. However, an increasing number of online directories are now including a “Website URL” feed. This means is that your business could also benefit from a link building opportunity. Even the majority of the sites offer no-follow links, some do offer do-follow and its these site that will pass on their domain authority ranking. Another way to develop trust and credibility for you website.
Citations are Free
A majority of the local citations are free.
While businesses are not to rely on citations entirety as a marketing strategy, they’re a low-cost, yet effective way to bolster your marketing antics.
Online competition is all about outdoing your competitors.
Whether it is link building, you need to get more and quality links than your competitor. Whether it’s about content, you similarly need better quality content.
What about citations? It’s all about getting listed on more sources than your competitor. Helping to develop that website trust and credibility and giving Google the signals in help give you better search rankings.
Remember, if you competitors are active and your not, you’ll get left behind.
Improving your Business’ Rep
A majority of the business directories, like Google My Business, usually allows existing customers to post reviews of your business.
Reviews are handy for SEO, but they also increase your businesses reputation, especially if the majority are positive.
In the absence of a Google My Business Account, potential clients may assume:
- Your business does not exist
- Question your integrity
- Assume you’re not customer-oriented
- Assume you don’t have the necessary experience
- Have trouble finding you
At Angry Apple Media we recommend every business claims their Google My Business Listing.
How to Build Local Citations
Consistency is Key
Like we’ve mentioned before, always keep the same and accurate details of your citation all through. While formatting between different listing sites can be overlooked, the key to consistency is having the same items or components on each listing.
Rather than using a generic email .i.e. yahoo or Gmail, use a registered business email. For instance, use @businessname.com, rather than gmail.com.
A majority of the listing sites usually classify their listing using several metrics, such as category.
So, if you’re in the car repair services, you need to list your business in the automotive, or something closely related to what you offer.
Ideally, we recommend that you keep the citation category as consistent as possible. More importantly, place your citation in a category that best describes your business or what you do. This will make it a lot easier for potential clients to identify you.
The More Detail, The Better
When listing your business, ensure you add more details as possible. Besides the Name, email address, and telephone, you can include photos, business logos, business descriptions, social media links, operating hours, and more.
Many businesses often fail in the last process, which is the verification process.
A majority of the listing sites will always ask you to verify your business, which is done mostly through email. However, some listing sites such as Apple Maps and Google My Business will require verification through a phone call. Either way, ensure that all your citation are verified as to increase credibility and trust.
What to Keep in Mind
- Whenever you’re listing a business ensure all the listed details are correct.
- When creating local citations for your business, you need to spend time perfecting them.
- Always verify your citation.
- Citation is one of the components of Local SEO.
- Developing citations can potential lead to backlinks opportunities, further helping to increase website trust and authority.
- Citations are the first place to start; the goal of citation building is to see your business visibility grow through ranking.
- We recommend that you try to get your business listed in many business listing portals as you can!