In today’s competitive business world, recognition is a major factor if a business is to achieve success. This is the reason why most SEO campaigns will employ any applicable tactic that may lead to knowledge of the business among customers. One such way is through building local citations. This can simply be defined as the mentions (other than yours) of your business and the references to it across relevant and authoritative websites and portals, local directories or associations.
Citations are an important part of SEO and can make a huge difference in how your site ranks. Building citations will involve providing the business name, address/ZIP code, phone number (abbreviated as NAP) and any other supporting details such as hours of operation, directions, reviews and ratings among others. When creating a citation, emphasis should, however, be on three main factors as discussed below.
1. Business Name
This is the most important factor when it comes to good ranking in local SEO. Always make sure that your business name/title remains consistent across every data source in the web. This will tremendously help you establish trust in your existence. Inconsistency will on the other hand mean that Google and other search engines may view the different entities as separate businesses when indexing your business. A thorough keyword research can help you come up with a final and perfect name that will help you achieve maximum optimization.
It is important to consider consistency in every detail provided for your citation purposes and physical address is no different. Be clear in the description of your physical location which should be the nearest Google idea city.
3. Phone Number
Search engines do not want to find several inconsistent phone numbers, neither do local directories. Again, be consistent on this. It is highly recommended to creating the number as an image instead of an indexable HTML text.
There are several options of managing citation building and the most common ones include use of software, seeking consultation services or doing it yourself.
Where to get citations
As mentioned earlier, the mainstream sources of citation are directories and relevant and authoritative websites. But you will find these can be quite limiting and you may not rely fully on them for substantial success in your SEO endeavors. So, what alternatives sources are there to help compliment the same?
- Image and video descriptions
- Profile pages
- Forum signatures
- Press releases
- Guest posts
- Social media and local blogs
Benefits of citations
- It helps rank your business better. Citations along with reviews and links are a major parameter that Google uses in deciding their ranking order. The mentions are much appreciated if found on websites which are relevant in terms of content and/or location
- Google also uses the citations in verifying the accuracy of the details provided in the business listing such as the phone number and address. This will enhance trust and ultimately ensure great strides in the business rank improvement.
- Business mentions through citations from various fronts and sites only means more customer leads which will be definitely counts in your sales and business at large.
Always make sure to list your business in as many directories as possible but never allow to settle there. Look for other unconventional avenues such as guest blog posting while also keeping a close eye on the where your competitors have citations. Always be consistent in providing your details.