Citations are any place online where your business's name, address and phone number (NAP) are listed.
Citations are a key factor in improving your local search rankings, making them an important part of any local SEO strategy. So, if you want your business to be successful in your local area, citations are a must.
There are four different types of platforms that you can use for citations:
1) Local Business Data Platforms. These are where local business owners can create citations on an array of platforms which exist purely to publish this kind of data. These platforms include Google My Business, Yelp and Bing for Business.
2) Industry-Specific Platforms. Alongside local business data platforms, it is recommended that you create listings on websites that are specific to the industry in which you work. For example; if you are a builder, you could create a listing on Builder and Tradesman.
3) Geo-Specific Platforms. These platforms are local to the area that your business operates within. For example; if you are a business based in Gloucestershire, it is worth adding your business to Gloucestershire Live's business directory.
4) Wider-Web Platforms. These citations can range from guest blogs, maps and government databases through to mobile applications, news sites and articles.
Why Are Citations Important for SEO?
Local citations have the ability to impact your local search engine ranking positively and negatively. If search engines continuously encounter the same information about your business online, the search engines trust the validity of the data and therefore increase your search engine ranking.
However, if the business information that they encounter isn't consistent, this trust is diminished therefore decreasing your search engine ranking.
So, if you want citations to positively impact your search engine ranking, make sure you use the same business information for each and every citation that you create for your business.
Local citations can also impact customers both positively and negatively. Accurate citations help local customers discover local businesses which can generate web traffic, phone calls and foot traffic leading to conversions.
Citations also generate more backlinks to your website and provide opportunities for third-party reviews. Being listed on directories, that are already ranking for your keywords, can also get you more web traffic that would otherwise be going to your competitors.
In recent weeks, we completed between 25 and 30 citations for one of our clients. We monitored how they ranked for their chosen keywords and have since noticed a vast improvement, which highlights the benefits of citations.
However, inaccurate citations can lead to customers being misled, in turn creating a bad reputation for your business and decreasing revenue.
So, How Can You Ensure SEO Success with Citations?
(The Dos and Don'ts of Citations)
- Create a strong set of accurate citations on credible platforms.
- Be aware of inaccurate data and modify it accordingly.
- Keep track of your citations to avoid creating duplicate listings.
- Ensure any duplicate listings are permanently removed.
- Create a strategy to deal with editing and updating citation data when necessary.
- Create a strategy to manage and respond to reviews on citation platforms.
- Create a small set of weak, inaccurate citations.
- Create duplicate listings of your business.
- Ignore the platforms that your competitors are using for citations - these may be beneficial for you too!
- Ignore reviews that your business receives on citation platforms - both negative and positive, they reflect on your business.
Whilst citations can be beneficial for your business's SEO strategy, they only make up one element, of over 200, that contribute towards a website's SEO.
If you would like expert assistance in optimising your website, get in touch with our team at Brace by dropping us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by giving us a call on 01452 729 953 - we look forward to working with you!