A comprehensive local SEO strategy begins with the creation and management of local citations.
If you are a business owner who doesn’t yet use citations, you might want to take a closer look at these simple SEO tools.
Local citations are online listings that list the contact information of a business. One of the best ways to increase visibility and authority online is to build these citations as a local business owner.
A local citation contains information about a business’ name, address, and phone number, known as NAP data. There is also often the opportunity to include a link to your website, which has SEO benefits.
If you add your business information to online directories and third-party websites, consumers will be able to find your business online. By doing so, you also increase Google’s view of your business as reliable and trustworthy. More on that later!
It is most common to find structured citations in local search results. These are listings of your business on relevant business directories and third-party websites. Google trusts these websites because they contain huge databases of business information already in place.
It is imperative that you get listed on the directories that are most relevant to your industry for structured citations. Choose the most appropriate category for your business when you are listing your business in a general directory or other site. The right customers can find you as a result of Google understanding your products and services.
An unstructured citation is a mention of key business information that is not grouped at the page level. A news article or a blog post about your company is probably going to result in this.
Local SEO benefits from unstructured citations, even though search engines tend to ignore them less frequently than structured citations.
From an SEO perspective, it is helpful to appear on websites that are relevant to your industry or niche. You will reach more people this way.
A bakery that has its goods featured on a nearby café’s website may be more valuable than having its products mentioned on a textile company’s website.
Citations appearing on a high domain authority website will likely be more valuable than those found on a low domain authority site. Domain authority is considered by Google to be a sign of a website’s ranking potential.
Google — and other search engines — are more likely to trust your business if it has citations because they prove the authenticity of your business and the accuracy of your information.
Google can trust your business when it can see the same information on a number of trustworthy websites. For local citations to provide the most SEO benefit, NAP citation consistency is essential. All of those websites must list your business name, address, and phone number accurately.
Linking to your business webpage is great, but a local citation can also have SEO benefits without linking to it. Using your NAP citations, Google will determine that your brand has been mentioned, and this is sufficient to influence the level of trust associated with your brand.
A decrease in Google’s trust in your business can be a result of inaccurate citations. There can be confusion caused by seemingly insignificant differences, such as spellings or abbreviations, which can be misleading.
As an example, if your business name is shortened on some sites, but your business name is listed in full on others, it may appear to Google as two separate businesses. Consequently, your website might receive less authority.
Potential customers can also be confused and discouraged by inaccurate business listings. Having incorrect contact information may make it difficult to communicate with your business when someone discovers you in a directory. They could, therefore, shift their attention to another competitor and spend their money there.
Are you aware? 63% of consumers say finding inaccurate information would actively discourage them from choosing your business. According to our own research, inaccurate information causes the most frustration among consumers. Not surprisingly, inaccurate names, addresses and phone numbers top the list.
It’s also important to resolve any outdated citations immediately, such as those due to a move in your address. The loss of a sale could result from accidentally sending customers to your old business location.
Businesses directories are often displayed in Google search results when customers search for specific services. Thus, being present on these sites can increase the visibility of your business.
With all the benefits of building local citations now clear, you will want to begin building them immediately.