Simply put, a citation, regarding local SEO, is any mention of your business online, typically in the format of Name, Address and Phone Number, or NAP.
Although a citation can consist of nothing more than a mention of your company name, you should be sure to include the following three critical pieces of information when creating or claiming any business profile or listing online.
Albany Citation Optimization Services
As your business’s reach continues to expand, incorrect citations will inevitably start to appear over time, and in some cases, they may not even be a result of your mistakes or those of your employees.
Having your business listed on hundreds of online directories is a great way to boost your local SEO and web presence. Besides having a consistent NAP for dominating local search, your business’s future is more promising than ever as citation optimization is not only able to drive more traffic to your website but immediate foot traffic to your location, as well!
How-to: Local Citation Optimization
Small, local businesses have traditionally been relatively slow to integrate online marketing into their advertising campaigns, with many still not even having a website of their own.
The search engines are where most people start when it comes to looking for products and services in their geographic area, and even if they live right down the road from your place of business, they’ll likely still be looking for you online.
Marketing strategies designed to increase your visibility in Google and other major search engines are collectively referred to as search engine optimization (SEO), but local SEO works somewhat differently when compared to the strategies used by companies which have a global reach or exclusively operate online.
Why Citations Are Important For Local Visibility
Without paying attention to local SEO, your business will slip away from the first page of search results in Google, if it was ever there at all. The importance of local SEO is even greater than ever before, and this is largely down to the enormous and unprecedented rise in popularity of mobile Internet.
A huge percentage of web searches conducted using mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets are for local businesses and services, and according to comScore, approximately 43% of all search engine users are searching for local businesses. Google itself also claims that 73% of all online activity is related in some way to local content.
Given the statistics above, it shouldn’t be too hard to understand why your business needs to increase its visibility in search engines to remain competitive. As people come to rely more and more on the Internet, even the smallest traditional brick-and-mortar businesses can no longer afford to ignore online marketing.
Fortunately, optimizing your content and conducting your SEO strategy as a local business is somewhat simpler in many ways than traditional SEO for companies that operate exclusively online.
The most important consideration of all, with regards to local SEO, is references to your business on the Internet, known in online marketing as citations. In this guide, we will be taking a look at what citations are, how they affect your business and how to make the best use of them to boost your exposure in search engines.
What Is A Citation?
Simply put, a citation, regarding local SEO, is any mention of your business online, typically in the format of Name, Address and Phone Number, or NAP. A citation can come in a variety of different forms.
The most basic citations may be nothing more than your company name itself. However, additional details, such as your phone number, address and a link to your website may (and should) also be provided.
Search engines take many ranking factors into account when determining which results to display and the order in which to show them, but as far as local SEO is concerned, citations are among the most important.
Even if your company does not have a website or even any social media profiles, it can still have a considerable degree of exposure in search engine results from citations alone.
Consider a citation as something similar to having a listing in the Yellow Pages or phone directory. Some examples of citations include your business listing in the online directory Yell, Google Maps, Bing Maps or Foursquare.
As far as search engines are concerned, citations serve as credible sources of information about your company that helps it to rank in search results.
When Google finds mentions of your business as its robots crawl the Internet, it gathers all the information together to determine the correct name, address and phone number (NAP) of your business and display it in the search results when someone enters a relevant query. In theory, the more citations you have, provided that they are on relevant websites, the higher your exposure becomes.
Local citations need not be restricted to local directories. They may appear in general business directories, niche-specific directories, local news outlets, press release websites, locally-orientated blogs and other websites or social media platforms.
Why Is It Important to Have Clean Data?
A citation can consist of nothing more than a mention of your company name; you should be sure to include the following three critical pieces of information when creating or claiming any business profile or listing online.
- The branded trading name of your company.
- The local telephone number, complete with the local area code.
- The physical address of your bricks-and-mortar business.
- Your Company URL (If you have a website)
If the wrong company name, address or phone number is provided in any citation online, it reflects poorly on your business since a citation is supposed to act as a vote of confidence. By contrast, inconsistency tells Google’s crawlers to place less trust in your listings and push them towards the back of the search results.
Call SEO Without Borders For Citation Optimization and Cleanup Services
To learn more about citation optimization and other related services, contact SEO Without Borders either online or by calling us at 617.368.0527.
We always respond within the day and are more than happy to answer any questions you may have related to your business’s online campaign, local SEO, or citation optimization.
We are Albany’s most experienced, full-service agency that commands the highest customer and employee retention rates based on our ability to understand and satisfy expectations.
Find out why we are the best at what we do, contact us today!Local Citation Optimization