Local SEO campaigns and managing local citations is a bit time consuming and a little tricky to master, but both are critical for your business and company website. So today we’re breaking down citations and how you can make them work for you.
What Are Local Citations?
Any mention of your business online is considered a citation, and this includes entries on social media platforms, local business directories, websites, and apps. Google uses them in order to determine your company’s authority and citations help internet users discover local businesses and impact your local search engine rankings.
However, citations do not need to be a direct link to your business website in order for them to count for or against you. Plain text mentions are just as valuable as links and even partial citations, ones which only include only part of your company’s NAP (Name/Address,/Phone), are not as beneficial as full citations but it doesn’t matter how the information is listed visually on the site or app, horizontally or vertically, as long as the information is complete and accurate, your local SEO is enhanced.
This is a key attribute worth stressing — in order for a citation to be an asset in your local SEO campaign, it is extremely important that the information is identical to the NAP on your Google My Business page and company website. Therefore, it is equally important that you pick a single format for your information and ensure that it is uniform across platforms — i.e. including address abbreviations, Ltd or LLC extensions, suite/building/floor numbers, and even whether or not you include the “1” prefix or spaces versus dashes on your phone number.
Local Citation Components
While the key elements of local citations are your NAP, they can also include some or all of the following elements:
- Link/reference to a page of your business website.
- Business description & categories
- Company attributes
- Geo-coordinates / directions
- Hours of operation
- Email addresses
- Alternate phone numbers
- Fax number
- Reviews/owner responses
- Links to your social media accounts
- Payment forms accepted
Types of Citations
- Major Local Business Platform Citations – In addition to Google My Business, you can create citations on multiple local business data platforms specifically designed for publishing this type of data, including; Bing Places, Infogroup, Acxiom, and Localeze/Neustar and local citations can be created on popular social media platforms and review-oriented sites like Yelp and Facebook.
- Geo/Industry-Specific Platform Citations – You can build business listings on websites that are specific to your unique industry and geography. i.e. websites of professional associations and guilds or chamber of commerce websites.
- Supplementary Citations – These citations can either be intentionally developed or earned based on merit and public interest/sharing of information on a wide variety of publications, including; apps, news sites, blogs, maps, government databases, and more.
Why Are Local Citations Important?
Along with reviews and links, many search engines use citations to help decide rank order for businesses on local search results. To Google and other SEs, when a business is mentioned regularly or quite a lot online, it deserves a better ranking than a business that is rarely or hardly mentioned at all. Citations are especially beneficial when they are on relevant apps and websites or are posted in relation to pertinent articles, events, locations, and topics.
Many SEs also use citations to verify the accuracy of your contact details in their local business directories and listings as well. This is because out of date, incorrect, or falsified addresses or phone numbers reflect badly on the reliability of their search results and as such, if your NAP appears identically on dozens of websites, platforms, and apps, then it is much more likely to be accurate and the SE ranks you higher.
Local citations have either a positive or negative impact in two different areas:
- Potential customers – accurate citations help people discover your business and can result in transactions. Inaccurate citations can misdirect customers and result in a loss of revenue and reputation.
- Local rankings – the accuracy of your documented data, the number of your citations, and the quality of the platforms that your citations exist on all influence your local rankings. Search engines gather data about your business and when they encounter accurate information, they trust the validity of that data and your chances of ranking better is believed to be strengthened as well. However, when the data is not consistent, your overall trust is reduced and your ranking can be lowered.
Local SEO & Citation Experts
51 Blocks has the expertise you need for your SEM & SEO campaign. Local listings are all-important these days and we will customize a digital marketing campaign to meet all of your goals. Increasing sales and your ROI is your key to success, and 51 Blocks can help you get there. Contact us today and find out how nice it is to work with true professionals in the field.