If you are trying to improve your business’s search engine optimization (SEO), you need to know about local business citations. These citations help your business establish trust in not only search engines, but also your potential clients.
What are Local Business Citations?
A Local business citation is a piece of information about your business that appears online. This includes your company’s name, phone number, address, and sometimes web address. It doesn’t just stop at this basic information though. It is also anything people mention about your business on any other website. If you are a local business, learning about local business citations is a great way to reach new clients.
Local Business Citations and Local SEO
SEO and local business citations help enhance each other to reach their fullest potential. Local SEO uses the proximity of your business to the user. This can help your business be found by customers around you. The internet is a highly competitive place, so it is important for your business to enhance certain features to stand out. Local SEO is one of those features. Local SEO allows your business to target certain locations in order to gain leads on your business. With the help of Google My Business your company can also be easier to find.
How Can Local Search Citations Help My Business?
Are you still wondering how local search citations can help your business? It gives your business free exposure! After you set up your citations, you can see the difference in how your business performs.
Reasons Why Local Business Citations Will Help
Local business citations can not only provide information to potential customers about your business but also help enhance other aspects of your business. Here are a few reasons why adding these citations will help your business.
People Search For You
In the buying cycle, customers come to a step called the research phase. Most people do this when deciding if a company is worth their time, attention, and money. Most consumers turn to local search citations to help them make these decisions. When your company comes up, it will give the buyer the credibility and information they need to make a decision. If your company doesn’t have these local business citations, it makes your business look less credible.
Gain More Website Traffic
By having a business citation, you will be able to include a URL to your business’s website. This will increase your web traffic. The more traffic that is driven to your website, the better chances that someone will act and make a purchase. It can also help influence the consumer to stay thinking about your business, depending on if your website is set up correctly. Every business wants their website to gain a good amount of traffic and having your information out there on different directories or other citations will help this.
Enhance SEO and Credibility
If you aren’t focusing on enhancing your business’s SEO, you should start thinking about it. SEO helps your company to come up organically instead of having to purchase ads to appear. By setting up and using proper SEO, your business can gain more attention, and it’s free. Not to mention, local business citations boost your credibility with search engines. It boosts it because every place your business appears online typically has a URL attached to it. When more credible sources put out information about your brand, your optimization will increase.
Throughout local business citations, there are places for customers to leave reviews. When people do this, even if the review is not necessarily good, it helps establish your brand. You want good reviews, but the bad reviews also help people get a better idea of what your business is about. People are influenced by other people. When others are “raving” about your business, other consumers see that and want to check them out themselves. Bad reviews also give you a chance to respond and answer questions.
What You Should Include in Your Local Citations
Structured Local Business Citations
In most local business citations, you will find the name of the business and contact information. If you are going towards the more structured approach for your local business citations, you should include certain information like:
- Phone number
- Address of business
- Company’s website
Additional features to add are photos, e-mail, a menu, and customer reviews. Adding these additional features can benefit your business when customers are deciding where to spend their money. Structured citations are typically found on social media, Google My Business, Google Maps, Apple Maps, Yelp, and many more. When you have some of the basic citations done, you can use other ways to get more citations out there for your business. These can help your business stand out when stacked up against your competition.
Unstructured Local Business Citations
The most common way to set up citations for your business is to share information directly from your business with the clients. A non-typical way is to have others share information about your company. These are known as unstructured citations. This is when people mention your business, address, or website casually. The post isn’t all about your business but provides information on it. An example of an unstructured citation would be if a news station mentions your business and tells the viewers if they would like more information to go to your website. They could also give other information as a way to contact or look further into your business. Another way to have unstructured citations is through guest blogging on other companies’ websites. This can help both parties reach a different audience they otherwise wouldn’t reach. These citations can be harder to obtain, but are quite effective.
How to Pick the Right Citation Websites
If you are taking on the task to create your citations for your business, there are a lot of places you can put your information. Making citations can take up a lot of your time and money. Even if you are using a program that helps sync all your information into multiple directories, you might run into limit issues. If you are plugging these in yourself, it can take away your valuable time. With so many places to put your local business’s citations, you need to learn how to narrow it down.
- Make a list of directories that apply to your industry
- Make a list of the most popular directories
- Compare the list and see which ones bring the most value to your company
After you have made your list, you want to make sure these directories are the place where your audience will actually look. That is the most important part about picking the right citation website. If you don’t know your audience, this is a great time to look at analytics. Think about yourself and where you personally would go to find this information.
Hiring an SEO Company to Make Citations
Your time is valuable. Creating citations can take you away from the focus of your business. If you outsource a company, they will be able to help gain the best optimization for your online presence. They will save your time and help you invest in your brand for the long run. Starting an SEO campaign can optimize your business beyond local business citations and bring it to the next level. If you are just starting to work on your online presence, having citations for your business will be the best way to start to gain credibility for your company.
Local SEO Citations: What Works and What Doesn’t
When it comes to local business citations, there are some best practices companies need to know.
- Share accurate and updated information. If your information on different pages do not line up, search engines recognize that. In the end, your company loses credibility, which hurts how you rank on search engine result pages.
- To make sure information is accurate and not hurting your SEO, you can perform an audit on your business. When performing an audit this allows you to see where your business information appears. Places where there are “fake accounts” or out-of-date information can be removed. After all of this is over, your business should be clear from being weighed down with inaccurate information about your company.
- Use the information that is misrepresented or out-of-date. This hurts your public image in SEO, but also with the customers.
- Forget to perform regular audits. If your business isn’t in the habit of this, it could hurt your company. There might be misleading accounts leading potential clients away from your company. There could also be information on other websites that aren’t updated and share false information about your business, leading people away.
- Try to gain a lot of attention from websites if they don’t provide or update their information. Quantity is great for your business, but if the information leads to confusing the search engine, it will ultimately hurt your business. Quality over quality for citations will help optimize your business.
Ready to Use Local SEO?
Implementing local business citations will help improve your local SEO. Setting up these citations can be time-consuming and stressful if you don’t know where to post. If you are looking for more guidance, or simply want to know how enhancing your local SEO will improve your business, SEO Design Chicago has experts waiting to help you.
- What is a local citation?
- How do you create a local citation?
- Differences between SEO and local SEO?
- Why is local SEO important for your business?
- How to pick the right citations for your website?