You will be surprised to learn this, but numerous businesses overlook the importance of citation building as part of their local search engine optimisation strategy. A lot of small and medium enterprise owners do not know what citations constitute and what their purpose is and end up having to find a local citation audit and clean up service.
Now it is important to keep in mind that we are not talking about the term “citation” that denotes a list of references utilised in an article, research paper or book. What we are referring to is an intricate and complex concept that will drive local traffic to your website and lead to an increment in sales.
Citations: What are they?
In the context of search engine optimisation, a citation refers to the basic information available of your company (name, address and phone number) on other directory listings, websites and pages.
Note that it is not vital for your contact information to include a link to your website, but just be text-based content on sites such as the Yellow Pages and Google. Speaking of Google, did you know that the search giant incorporates citation as a critical component of its ranking methodology?
It believes that if your business is truly valuable and popular, your citations will spread far and across the worldwide web. For example, if you consider a company such as McDonalds, its contact data is list everywhere on the internet. Sure, it is a big and powerful brand.
Nonetheless, if a user searches for coffee, Google will consider the number of citations McDonalds has available before placing it on display at the top of its search engine result pages.
You will still get ranked by Google if you have some business information published on other websites. For instance, perhaps you forgot to include your official email address on a directory listing but have your business’s name, office address and phone number.
That will still count to an extent! However, we recommend that you do your due diligence and make sure you post all relevant contact information available.
Why endanger your SEO ranking position? If you are trying to get listed on different websites on the internet, might as well leave no room for space and fully utilise the potential such a practice will have for your local search engine optimisation.
Building citations is not only an investment in improving your ranking position on search engine result pages yet will help legitimise your business. If you are a rare entity without a website, you might just go want to go and get started on creating one! Your prospective consumer will consider you seriously if you have complete citations present on different digital directories in such a case.
If you want Google to place you first on search engine query result pages for your niche keywords, then you must have an optimal combination of links, testimonials, reviews and citations.
Your chances will increase significantly if your commercial venture has managed to attain multiple digital mentions. Therefore, if you want your client to find you easily, then make sure your citations are complete and numerous. Remember the motto here is: the more, the merrier!
Build Citations on Online Directories
Need a list of trusted directories to get your business’s name on? Check it out:
- White Pages
- The Better Business Bureau
- Angie’s List
We have put together a list of our favourite digital directories: but it is not limited to this. There is a whole world of directories out there for you to access and get your company’s name on.
Just make sure you try get on board relevant listings where your target market will be present. Feeling a little lost and not sure where to get started? Don’t worry, do a little healthy stalking and check out where your competitors are getting their business names posted. That’s where you need to be!
Name, Address and Phone Number
This is an extremely important industry wide practice that you must implement as well. Keep your NAP (name, address and phone number) updated and accurate across all listings.
If you are planning to change your location and move your office, post that on all your communication channels so your customers not only know where to find you, but your citation data remains correct. Let all your partners, suppliers, vendors and other stakeholders know as well.
If you update on Google, do not forget to update your information on your Facebook listing too. Yes, it may take you some time and require you to put in a bit of effort, but we promise it will be worth your effort!
Have a Google My Business Page
We all want to win Google’s heart and rank number one on their search pages. Hence, it only makes sense that you will create an official business page on its platform.
Provide the most accurate business data as most of your customers will come to you via your Google My Business page. Add your location on Google maps and add your working hours.
Put up appealing visuals of your workplace and products so consumers know how to find you and what to expect when they do. Let them leave reviews for potential future consumers to read and consider you as an option.
Post on Structured and Unstructured Directories
What is a structured citation? This is part of websites and directories that have specific categories where you list your business contact information. Usually, all you have to do is fill out a form and submit it. And voila, you’re done! However, this does not mean you cannot target unstructured citations.
It still counts as ranking points for search engine optimisation! Get your business listed on blog posts, press releases, newspaper sites, profile pages and what not. All will improve your search engine optimisation results.
All in all, citations will be your new best friend in your company’s digital marketing strategy. It will build your business’s credibility and gain your customer’s trust as well. Do work on it at least a few times a year to make sure everything is in sync and updated.