As local citations are one of the many SEO factors that contribute towards your ranking on search engines, they are something that you need to know about.
If done right, they can help you get up to the top of the search engine results and generate plenty of traffic to your site.
However, it is critical that any local citations are kept track of and maintained, otherwise they are a huge hassle to fix later on.
What Are Local Citations?
A local citation is any mention online of your business's name, address, and phone number. You can find these on online business directories, social media, apps, and websites.
You should try to get them in most places that people may be looking to find your company. This can not only help your website but get more people in the door if you have a physical location.
You might get more people calling you as well. The more people that know about your company, the more business you can get!
Local citations will also often let you add other additional information about your business. This may include your hours of operation, images, reviews, email address, and types of payment.
What Types of Local Citations Are There?
There are plenty of local citation building strategies that you can adopt. Here are some of the platforms you can use to improve your local citation SEO.
Google My Business
One of the most popular local SEO citations is your Google My Business listing. It's free to claim, and Google is one of the most prominent places that people will search for your company.
You can add your information on there yourself and encourage your customers to review your product or services on there. Once others see some positive reviews, this can help to boost your brand reputation and therefore your sales.
Get your business's name, address, and phone number on there so that people can easily contact you.
You will find that many industries have industry-specific platforms for business listings. For example, a local doctor appearing on some local citation platforms for doctors.
That way when people are searching for doctors nearby, they can find a whole list in one place. Another example is Zomato which houses information and reviews for restaurants.
There are plenty of local citation platforms around for a whole range of different types of industries.
Local Business Platforms
There are many online business directories created for local areas that you can add your information to. Infogroup, Yelp, and Acxiom are examples of this.
Just Google it and you will find plenty that serve your area. Adding to these local citation platforms can add to your trustworthiness in the eyes of search engines.
Unstructured citations occur in places that aren't specifically platforms for business directories. This includes having your business's name, number, and address on your own website.
On your website, ensure that all 3 pieces of information are on the footer of every page and spelled consistently everywhere they are mentioned. This makes it as easy as possible for interested parties to find you.
An unstructured local citation can also be found on blog posts, news articles, and social media that mentions you. To get more unstructured citations out there, you can contact websites to ask to do a blogging guest post.
You may also consider trying to get a feature on you in the paper or running a social media campaign.
Why Aim for Local Citations?
There are a few fantastic things you get from having local citations. They can help you to get found by people who are looking for your products or services. You can also use it for SEO, and improve your chances of getting noticed by search engines and to the top of search listings.
As local citations are known as SEO ranking factors, this is fantastic for your ranking on local search results. List your business in some well-known online business directories and Google will see that your business is a real, trusted company.
Then when a local search is made for something that your company provides, you can easily get seen on search engine results.
The amount of business listings you have and how accurate they are determines how Google sees you. It will also depend on how trusted the directories you're on are. So, make sure that you keep your information up to date and only add your business to quality directories.
By getting some great reviews on sites like Google My Business and Yelp, you may get more people coming to your site because of this.
When people are looking for a new company to turn to, they tend to read reviews before they will commit. By adding yourself to sites that feature reviews, you can get more traffic which will help your SEO as well.
Nab A High Search Result Listing
By adding yourself to a directory such as Yelp, you can get higher on search engine results. That's because Yelp results are often listed up higher above other listings. Add your site on there and you may just find that your Yelp profile features pretty high up for relevant searches. It's an easy way of getting your business on the first page on search engines.
Control Over Business Perception
Things like review sites can have a massive effect on how your business is perceived online. When you are aware of any negative reviews out there, you can contact the reviewer to try to rectify the situation.
On many platforms, you can also add a public response to any reviews.
Even leaving a simple 'thanks!' on a positive review can help to increase your online presence and positive opinions of your company.
Here are a few of the ways that you can not only create citations but make sure that they are done well so that people will want to know more about your business.
- Consistency - create consistent citations where your business name, address, and phone number are the same everywhere that you can be found. That way people will not be confused about how to contact you.
- Links - always add a link to your website on any local citations so that people can learn more about what you can offer them.
- Images - adding photos can help with local search results because many people like to see images on a listing. It shows that you're a real company and you get to showcase your services or products.
- Keywords - adding keywords into the description section of your business can help that listing to rank for your keywords. In this way, it can really help with local SEO citation.
- Reviews - last but not least, reviews are crucial. Encourage people to leave reviews and this can really increase your ranking in local search results.
Risks of Avoiding Local Citations
If you want to remain passive with your local citations, know that you are risking some potential consequences for this.
These can affect you regardless of whether you plan a passive approach of making a local citation and then leaving it, or if you don't want to make them at all.
If you don't want to include local citations in your marketing strategy, you may find that there will be inaccurate citations out there. These might have been created by others or ones that you created a long time ago and didn't update.
Inaccurate information such as your business name, address, and phone number, can lead to the loss of potential clients. It can also be a negative signal to search engines and therefore put you lower down the search result list.
You could have some terrible reviews out there on Yelp, Google My Business, or other business directories. However, you won't know if you never check your citations.
These reviews could be constantly turning people away and you'd never find out why you can't seem to increase business.
You may not even realise that you had a listing, but users can create them for you and you'll never know if they have done that if you don't have an active approach.
Lack of Control
Overall, having a passive approach to your local citations means you are giving up control of your online representation. You won't be in charge of how you are perceived online and therefore you not in charge of your local SEO no matter how hard you work on your website.
Citations offer a place that you can add your business information online. When people know your business name, address, and phone number, they can easily contact you. Use local citations to not only get ahead in SEO but to get more people in the door and more traffic on your website.
Don't be passive in your approach to local citations, otherwise, you will lose control of your brand perception. Manage it proactively and you just might see your search rankings soar.
Local citation building is fully worth it so that the information out there about you is accurate and you can influence your brand perception online. Treat it as time invested in your business and you will see the gains from this come through later.