One of the best and most effective ways to do competitive Search Engine Optimization is through optimizing your business for local SEO. In fact, if you’re a small business owner and all you really want is to sell your products and reach locals in your area, doing Local SEO is the best option for you.
And when it comes to local SEO, business citations are almost like backlinks to organic SEO. Just link building, improving your site’s citation portfolio’s authority and volume is perhaps the best way to improve your search results rankings in Google’s local search.
But how do you go about doing this? How do you improve the citations of your local business? In this guide, we’ll try to learn everything about business citations and how you can utilize them for your benefit.
What are citations?
Citations are online references of your business’ Name, Address, and Phone Number (NAP). Think of them as online “mentions” of your company’s NAP. These can be found in local directories, websites, mobile apps, and social media platforms. What is their purpose? Well, citations help people discover local businesses in their local area. Citations are also known to impact local search engine rankings. In fact, many businesses actively manage their vast citation portfolio to ensure data accuracy and maximize exposure.
There are three types of citations:
Major Local Business Data Platforms – There are a variety of important local business data platforms available for local citations publishing. There are some you might have already heard of. But the major local business data platforms include Google My Business, Infogroup, Acxiom, and Neustar. There are also notable listings on social media platforms like Yelp and Facebook.
The Wider Web – There are also some relatively smaller, supplementary citations on a broad variety of publications online including news sites, blogs, maps, apps, and official government sites. The supplementary citation listings can either be searched for online or developed in your own blogs.
Geo-Specific Platforms – You can also build your citation listings through websites that are specific to particular industries and locations. Examples of these types of platforms are your chamber of commerce websites or professional associations.
Aside from the core components (your business’ NAP) of a citation, in some cases, you can also include the following things on your listings:
Your business categories
A short business description
Images or videos
Driving directions to your address
Accepted payment methods
Outbound links to your social media profiles
Fax numbers and alternate phone numbers
Why should you build your local citations for SEO?
Building your business’ local business citation portfolio can definitely bring you a lot of good things. Targeting a specific, geo-located group of audience in search engines can bring you, ready-to-buy customers. It can positively impact your search engine rankings and your consumers.
However, it is important to note that you have to consistently and accurately throughout all your listings. Even just the slightest discrepancy can harm your SERP ranking, or worse, your consumers. Inaccurate listings can misdirect your consumers. If this continues, it can damage your reputation. Furthermore, search engines like Google do not take kindly to inaccurate data and inconsistencies. Google will likely not trust your site and your business if your listings have many errors.
The Best Citations For Your Local SEO
Google My Business
Google is perhaps the most authoritative platform for business. So it’s not a surprise that optimizing your citations for Google My Business should be your number one priority. It should be your main listing to want to develop and manage well.