The world we live in revolves around the internet and what it presents to its users. In order to bring internet users to your website and to your business, you need to learn and understand how best to use local SEO citations. To begin, however, you first need to understand what SEO citations are. When it comes to establishing your business not only in person but also online, there are several elements to consider when it comes to local SEO citations.
To start to understand, you begin with learning that SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, and is a way to increase the quantity and quality of organic search engine results that bring positive user traffic to your website. Each element of this process is important to build up your online presence. The quality and quantity of the traffic brought to your page is important because the right amount of users searching for the right product and/or business is necessary to boost your SEO citations, and helps produce more organic results for your business without having to pay for it through other means such as advertisements.
One of the ways this can be done is by developing a strong On-Page SEO, which is optimizing the content and use of keywords on your website to allow for the tag structure of search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing to better understand your data and display it higher on their search result pages. It also optimizes your site to best be displayed to all types of devices that visit your websites such as mobile, tablet, and desktop devices.
Local Search Citations
Now that we understand what SEO is, we can begin to dive into understanding local search citations and how they can benefit your business. Local search citations work more directly than standard SEO’s because they focus on bringing in users from your local area and attracting the attention of other businesses that can promote your business as well. This is done by using NAP or your business’s Name, Address, and Phone number. This sort of information connection is done on websites such as Yelp and on social media, and can also include things such as your web address or people who are involved within your business.
Improving Your Local SEO
Tools such as Google My Business can be used to improve your local SEO citations, and are free to use in most cases. They are necessary to use because of the competitive nature of the internet and the amount of data that is added to the internet every day. Websites of businesses compete for the top spots of search page results and want to be mentioned on sites such as Google Maps and Yelp in order to survive the technological era that most users are involved in.
While things such as Google My Business are important structured citations, there are also unstructured citations such as review websites like Trip Advisor that are not entirely focused on your business but still mention it in reference to others that still mention your NAP and could bring positive traffic to your website and to your business as well as other businesses of the same type.
The Do’s and Don’t’s of Local SEO Citations
Local citations when used correctly can be a big benefit to your business, but when done incorrectly, they can heavily impact your search engine rankings and slow your online traffic. Here are some things to consider.
Only share accurate and updated information about your business. If information about your business varies on different pages, search engines will struggle to connect to you, and your business will lose credibility and search result rankings.
Perform audits on your business. This will show you where information on your business appears and can help you locate and remove “fake accounts” or out-of-date information that can affect your SEO citations.
Never use misrepresented or out-of-date information about your business. This affects your public image in SEO and builds distrust with your customers.
Avoid trying to gain attention from websites that don’t provide or update their or your information. Quality control is important for staying an active business, and confusing search result findings can draw users away from your business. Only share your business information with websites that you trust and actively update information about not only their own website but yours as well.
Local Business Citations
Diving deeper into citations, we now can start to look at and consider local business citations. These differ from your basic local SEO citations because while they provide the same NAP of your business, they also provide any information or mention of your business on other websites by other people. These sorts of citations not only bring new traffic to your business but also more potential clients.
The Benefits of Increasing Your Business Citations
When you are looking to increase the online presence of your business, using business citations does more than just bring more online traffic to your website. As online traffic increases on your website, so does the potential for customers to get on your site and find something they are wanting to purchase then and return to for further purchases later. The more customers your business citations bring in for purchase, the more references from happy customers you will create that will further spread your business and thereby increasing your search engine ranking. The more directories your business is mentioned in, the more traffic it will bring in, and the more success you will see.
Enhancing the Credibility of Your SEO
Using business citations periodically is also something you want to avoid doing. Especially when establishing a new business, properly setting up SEO citations is essential to getting off the ground and starting to get online traffic organically without having to purchase online ads. It’s one of the easiest ways to get your business seen online without paying a dime and helps boost your credibility with search engines. It boosts your credibility because when your business is mentioned, it will be connected with your URL attached to it which helps your optimization increase.
Another way that local business citations benefit your company is by allowing customers who visited your website to leave reviews about their time as users. Each new review on your site helps establish your brand and gives others interested in your business a better idea of who you are and what you sell. Even potentially negative reviews can help boost your brand, especially if their issues with your website or products can be fixed, showing a clear line of communication between company and consumer. It also develops some credibility with your brand because customers are going to want to hear not only your opinion of your business but also the opinions of those who have already visited you. People are often influenced by other people.
Hiring an SEO Company to Produce Citations
If you do not have the time or comfort to develop these local search citations, do not fear. There are companies that you can outsource to in order to create these citations so that you can simply focus on your business. This will save you time, money on potential ads, and help you also invest in your brand for the future because the companies will continue to audit and optimize your business for as long as you work with them. There are many directions in which you can go with this process, but to start, here are some tips to get you off the ground.
Things to Know When Searching for the Right SEO Company
To begin, know what your business needs and what you can handle, and what you can afford. How the bill is paid depends on the company itself, but often comes down to units sold, billable hours, or some sort of conversion rate. This is your company and the future you are investing in, so always keep what you need and can afford in mind when making a choice to work with another company. Once you make that decision, keep the conversation open between you and the other company to make sure goals are being met, whether that be a timeline of when sales and foot traffic for your business increases or when sales for a specific service or product increases. Your SEO company should always remain open to you about the process for your local search citations while also providing advice and options for how to best optimize your business online.
Warning Signs of an Untrustworthy SEO Company
Basing Your Decision Entirely on the Price
Whether or not you have a heavy marketing budget for your company, the old adage of “you get what you pay for” comes around for everything, including SEO companies. Base your decision not only on price but also on experience and understanding of the industry of your business.
Failing to Set Goals
If you are interested in working with an SEO agency, you need to be able to establish goals for what you want from the agency before reaching out to them. These goals are not for them to set, its for them to follow through with.
Partnering with a Black Hat SEO Company
When it comes to SEO companies, they fall into two categories: white hat and black hat. White hat SEO’s practice business in the more traditional sense which means using research, ranking tools, and tweaking strategies to improve your business. Black hat SEO’s use spam keywords, hidden links, or steal content from other sources which can endanger your reputation with Google.
Beginning Your Journey with Local SEO Citations
While it might seem a little daunting to start the process of understanding and using local SEO citations with your business, it is a process that will not only benefit your business today but helps guarantee a future for your business tomorrow and allowing you to hopefully focus on what’s important in the long run; running your business how you want to for the community you want to serve.
FAQs about Local Search Citations:
- What is Local SEO?
- How do I improve my Local SEO?
- What are structured vs. unstructured citations?
- What is the Google 3-Pack?
- Which tools can help my local SEO?