Local business citations are one of the essential factors that determine the ranking of a website in a local search engine and in mobile search today. They are mentions of your Company Name, Address, and Phone Number (NAP) around the web. If you are finding it difficult to get your busing web page at the top of the rankings, improving the local business citations of your website is a great way to enhance its Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
Citations may include a link directing users back to your website. However, even if does not, the citation is still valuable for your business. Citations are important as they independently verify your business information. The more citations you have, the more likely your business will rank highly in local search engine results. More so, the websites where your citations appear is another essential factor. If they appear on trusted, high traffic websites, your business will have better chances of being at the top of search results.
Why do Local Business Citations Matter?
Citations are important to the success of any local business. Ranking algorithms such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing rate citations highly and rely on them to ensure that the results web visitors get from their search pages are valuable. When your business information is uniform across credible web directories, it is an indicator to search engines that your business is genuine and legitimate. Getting your business to appear on reputable websites creates authority and establishes trust in your business.
Citations can also be referred to as signals – they help ranking algorithms weed out any scam or facsimile business from the search results. Businesses without uniform NAPs are not spared – they are pulled out of local search results in no time. As such, it is important for businesses to be abreast with the significance of citations, and how to get them in order to avoid being penalized by these search algorithms.
There is some good news. There are lots of places where businesses can build a good collection of citations that will create extra authority and legitimacy in search engine algorithms. It is important to understand where you can source these citations before you build them as this will help you get an improved placement in search engine rankings. Citations can be sourced from:
- Local Search Engines: Sites such as Yelp, Foursquare, and Yellow Pages are some of the main sources used by Google and Bing to verify the legitimacy of a business’ information. A complete and accurate business profile on these sites massively boosts the confidence search engines have in your NAP.
- Local and Niche-specific Blogs; Local blogs are a great source of citations, and interestingly too, it isn’t difficult to find your business listing mentioned therein. A quick Google search for your city, neighborhood, or niche will produce a good number of blogs that will perfectly fit as candidates for your business listing. Since most blog owners regularly lookout for content that will improve their placement and rankings, a mutually beneficial relationship can be developed – your business is listed on while they have some good content for their SEO.
- Industry Focused Websites and Directories; Search engines also have a lot of trust in industry-focused sites and directories as they are associated with a specific region or city. Even if the site or directory is not focused on a specific region, having your business listed in an industry directory is a great way to build up citations.
- Where Your Competitors Citations are Listed; Looking out for where your competitors are listed is a perfect way to search for industry-specific websites and additional local sites and directories where your business can be listed on. However, it is important to avoid listing your business on spam websites in the process. In order to find where your competitor’s citations are listed, type your competitor’s business name on Google search – this will display all the places where the business name is mentioned. Although this may be time-consuming, it is worth it in the end.
- Local Business Organizations; Local business organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce chapter in your city are a valuable source of legitimate citations. In fact, these organizations are usually happy to mention businesses on their websites as it exposes your business to the local community and data aggregators such as Neustar, Factual, Localeze, and Infogroup. These data aggregators search for, validate relevant business data, and distribute the data to other credible websites.
Citations are a key ranking factor for the SEO of your business. Although building citations may take some time, it is worth any resources you invest. Do have in mind that all your information must be accurate and uniform – from your NAP to other details such as your company logo, photos, and business description. Since it may take some time before you find significant results due to Google’s index strategy, it would be ideal to start building the citations very early enough so you can enjoy its positive effects at the beginning of your local campaign.