We are in an age of cutthroat competition, and every business is looking for ways to pull ahead of their competition.
SEO which provides private blog networks has become a necessity for many marketers and is now getting incorporated into many businesses as well.
Citations, though a major component in SEO, they’re often ignored by many businesses.
While linking forms the backbone of any good local SEO strategy, citations are equally important and a crucial component of any SEO strategy.
Citations are referred to as “mentions” of your business or online references to your business name, address, or phone number.
While many businesses often ignore citations, they can help your business by bringing in more customers.
Here’s why you should consider having your business listed.
But before then, let’s look at how citations work.
How Do Local Citations Work?
We had previously mentioned that unlike links that will directly point back to your website, citations are mentions.
The purpose of any citation is to ensure that your business or information about your business is mentioned on many websites as possible.
The mentions of your business will serve more than increase your business visibility, but alongside other factors, it will get your business ranking on the first page.
Like any other ranking factor, citations require structuring so that they work optimally.
For instance, it’s necessary that your citations are used uniformly on all the sites.
If one of the citations is different from the rest, for instance, your telephone is misspelt or wrong address; it might create confusion, negate its efficiency, and reduce authenticity.
Beyond uniformity, 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).
However, it’s always a good idea to incorporate other components of your business such as photos, services provided and more.
Now that we know how the local citations work let us see their importance in local SEO.
Gives Details of your Business
Let’s put SEO aside for a moment.
Numerous and relevant citations will put all your business details to consumers looking for you.
In any case, potential customers often use local citations within the listings to find products/services.
So, having citations, in the first place, optimized or not, will allow more consumers to discover you and your business.
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 legit.
This helps to create authority, establish trust, and might even improve your business ability to rank on the local search results.
Organic and Local Ranking
Regarding ranking, citations are not as quite as powerful as they once were.
However, citation signals are major algorithm component of the search engines and still have a significant impact on the local and organic rankings.
For starters, all other factors remaining constant, businesses with a higher number of citations will rank higher than businesses with few or no citations.
Reiterating to what we had mentioned in the previous point, a business with relevant and genuine citations is trustworthy and credible before the eyes of search engines.
In most cases, Google trust business listing sites that offer accurate information.
And so, if your citation is consistent and accurate across well-established and indexed portals, Google will 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.
What this means is that your business is going to greatly benefit from link opportunities.
Though a majority of the sites offer nofollow links, some do offer dofollow and will pass the juice to your site.
And given that most of these sites are authoritative and trusted, search engines can use the pass link equity to boost your local SEO.
Sure, while anybody can put up a website and claim they’re an expert in a particular niche, a citation will help to prove to the search engines whether your company is legitimate and whether it’s actually
something of value.
In most cases, businesses impersonating you try hard to alter the spelling of your business, and this can create a negative impact on your business.
However, a citation keeps your business at the relevant place, ensuring that your listing is genuine, and nobody can copy your NAP.
Prominence in Less Competitive Niches
Citations are increasingly becoming prominent in the less competitive niches, where many of the business models do not have a website.
Few plumbers or electricians in the remote town bother to have a website.
Though it’s becoming less common to find businesses without a website, smaller industries on small towns are in the dark about Google.
In this case, there’s less or no information about a service, and search engines will rely heavily on whatever information they can find.
And so, having a citation will, therefore, put your business at the top of the SERPs in the local searches of your industry.
Get Online Visibility Boost
One of the common listing avenues for businesses is on local online directories.
Most of the 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.
Therefore, if users are intent specific and looking for businesses that fit their description, they’re likely to find your business if it’s correctly listed.
Even if they fail to choose your business and go with the competitors, they’re more than likely to consider your business next time if they happen to see your listing.
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.
When compared to other marketing methods such as pay per click (PPC), or any other way to attract attention, you’ll realize that business listing will help to achieve this goal more cost-effectively.
If, for instance, you claim a citation on Google’s My Business, you’ll have the privilege of having your listing in some of the major Google searches, and this will go a long way to marketing your
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 more and quality content.
What about citations?
You rightly guessed so.
It’s all about getting listed on many sources than your competitor.
Now, here’s the thing, if you’re not creating citations or doing any link building, your competitor is probably doing it.
So, if the potential clients can easily find your competitor’s information easier than yours, the high odds are that they’ll leave you for the competition.
Improving your Business’ Rep
A majority of the business directories, like Google My Business, usually allow users to post reviews of businesses.
Reviews are not only quite handy for SEO, but they might similarly give you an online boost and reputation, especially if you’ve plenty of positive reviews.
Sure, reviews are a double-edged sword and can also create a bad rep for your business, but if the right steps are taken, you can avoid criticism.
Further, clients always appreciate an honest review.
In the absence of a citation, however, 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
Citations Attract Investors
Citations are more than useful for the business-to consume (B2B) businesses.
If your citation is primarily targeting other businesses or investors, you are more than likely to capture the interest of others, including investors, and partners.
Eliminate Customer Confusion
There’s nothing more frustrating for a customer to get their line disconnected or find another business located in a different place.
That is why we always recommend local citation services.
Local citation services will carefully monitor all your existing citations to remove any confusion that may arise.
For instance, they will get rid of the outdated listings, correct NAP errors, and optimize your listing.
This way, all your listing can be up to date, accurate, and increase the online credibility of your desired customers.
How to Build Citations
Having some basic knowledge of how to build citations for your business will go a long way to improve your business’ online performance.
Remember that having a consistent citation all over the web is the key to its efficacy.
Here are a few pointers that should guide you on how to undertake the citation building process.
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, 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 your citation verified as it increases your 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 some time perfecting them.
- Always verify your citation.
- Citation is one of the components of SEO. You also need to concentrate on other SEO aspects such as content creating, link building, and generating engagement.
Having more citations is similar to earning more backlinks.
Even if you are selling a great product or have an incredible service delivery, your business will still need proper promotion to attract new customers.
And this is only possible if you have enough online visibility and a business reputation.
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!