What are local SEO citations and why are they important?
A local mention is any mention of your local business online that includes your NAP. That’s the name, address and phone number. In the old days, the Yellow Pages were the main place you had to make sure your NAP was correct. Customers can’t stumble across your listing or store if your information isn’t correct.
If the book was printed with incorrect information, he was out of luck for a year or two. That could really hurt your business. Today, the NAP is just as important. But the Internet is where customers, businesses, and tech companies like Google get and distribute this information. And if it’s wrong, it can have similar serious consequences.
We call these quotes local SEO quotes because they are an important part of local search engine optimization (SEO) for your furniture website.
How Online Local SEO Citations Influence Customers
Despite what you may have heard, people really want to shop local when they can. Many people, including millennials, have an inherent trust in community businesses. They like the idea that they can walk into your showroom. They can talk to someone face-to-face if they have a complex question or something isn’t right with their order. You can’t do that on Amazon.
They want to support local jobs. They understand that supporting their community is good for them and their loved ones.
Your NAP is how people find you. Help people understand which reviews are yours and which are from a company with a similar name. Consistent local SEO appointments allow them to tap your number on their smartphone to call you instantly. They can connect your address to GPS to visit your store.
Yes, local SEO citations are trusted by clients in many ways. But search engines like Google need them too.
How Local Online SEO Citations Influence Search Rankings
Just like customers, Google uses these citations to:
- Determine that you are actually a local business. Make sure you show up in local searches. Get preferential treatment over national companies trying to increase market share in your area.
- Judge your online reputation as a whole. How deep and wide is your reputation? In which categories and circles are you most respected? Do people think highly of you? Or do you get bad reviews, mentions, etc.?
Google collects this information to develop an opinion about you. And Google’s opinion matters because they incorporate this into their algorithm. It influences how visible you are in search results. If local SEO citations are inconsistent or missing, Google may not “count” some partial citations. These should be yours when weighing your online reputation. Without them, you won’t rank as high in search.
According to Statista, about 12% of retail sales are now done online. And 88% of people who visit a local business through search results on a mobile device will physically visit that business within 24 hours. If you’re not visible in local searches, you’ll be missing out on a lot of business. And it will probably go to your competitors.
Now that it’s clear why it’s so important to monitor SEO citations for consistency, let’s explore what you need to monitor and how to do it.
Types of Local SEO Citations
Local dating is divided into 3 main categories, as follows.
Major local business data platforms
Businesses, SEO professionals, and marketers (which includes SEO professionals) can intentionally and strategically submit NAPs to the many online directories.
You will find millions of directories online. So it’s important to know which ones are important. You can waste a lot of time with dummy directories and even directories that hurt your SEO. This type of directory is often covered up to the neck with ads that destroy the customer experience.
Some of the larger directories include:
- Google My Business (most importantly!)
Also, review sites are vital as this is where your customers go to learn how you handle customer relationships. Some of the best include:
- YP (Yellow Pages)
To get started, make sure you have a complete and consistent NAP at each of these locations. For Facebook, Yelp, and Google My Business (GMB), you can also manage your business page. Add images, videos and descriptions. Encourage customers to help you fill out the pages with reviews, photos, and videos of themselves visiting your business.
Geo-based or industry-specific platforms
Remember how we mentioned the depth and breadth of your reputation? Having consistent local SEO citations in different types gives your online reputation this depth that helps Google understand how authoritative you are in your industry.
Look for other data platforms that are local and/or industry specific. These will be exclusive to your area. Digital marketers who specialize in your industry and have become familiar with your area will know which sites to focus on.
These can include things like:
- Chamber of Commerce
- Your local Better Business Bureau (BBB)
- Associations of retailers, manufacturers, designers, sellers, etc. Of furniture
- Guilds and Clubs
And last but not least, keep an eye on your local Internet SEO citations as a whole.
The internet community
The internet is huge and there are at least a million different places someone else can mention you. You can actively create appointments on the Internet. But there will be many that you do not actively believe. For these mentions, you need systems in place to keep track of them.
Not tracking these local SEO citations that others create for you would be like this scenario. You spend your entire senior year being laughed at because of a nasty, false rumor without knowing who started it. What would that do to your reputation? What would have been your prom date prospects? And you wouldn’t even know why people dislike you.
Knowing is always the best. You can proactively correct misinformation, prevent damage to your online reputation, and clear up confusion only by being aware.
Other locations for local citation information
- Social Media – Create your own posts as you expand your online presence. Tag your location in these posts. But also, know what posts people are creating about you. These are called “mentions”.
- Blogs and Vlogs (Video Logs) – Create your own blog and video content that includes mentions of the location in the text, as well as location tags, alternative location titles, etc. But you also need to know what is being said about you on these platforms so that you can address it.
- News Sites – If a local online newspaper writes a featured story mentioning you, a good journalist will always contact you for comment. But you still need to verify that the information in the article is accurate. Submit a review request to the journalist or publication.
- Apps: People use apps today for all sorts of things, from tracking sales events to keeping people informed about business-hosted concerts and price matching. This information must be accurate for you to benefit from these tools. This is especially important if you created the app yourself. Apps need regular updates to remain useful.
- Maps: Want more foot traffic in the showroom? The maps that people use online to find you need to show your location accurately.
- Government Databases – Many government entities may publish your NAP.
- Your own website: Don’t forget about your own website. Keep your site up to date. If you mentioned a previous location in a blog post two years ago, but that showroom has since moved, update it ASAP. Use headers and footers that allow you to update most of the NAP on your site at once.
As part of your local SEO strategies, actively create citations on placements like these and keep track of the ones you don’t.
What is a full local citation?
While contact information is the most important thing, that’s not all you need to monitor. Other misinformation could be negatively affecting your business right now. If you’re not monitoring, you may not even know it. This expanded PAN includes:
- Hours of operation, including vacation hours. Yelp and Google will send you a reminder to update your holiday hours as the holidays approach. Don’t ignore them. And if you don’t get reminders, check your account settings.
- Your business category. If you primarily sell postmodern vintage furniture, your citations should reflect that, not just say “furniture dealer.”
- Description of your business
- Coordinates for GPS
- Response to reviews… They are important to customers. Unanswered bad reviews mean you’re not listening.
- Payment information and financing options
- Logo, slogans, brand colors/fonts, etc. that people associate with your brand
- Links to social networks and websites
We’ve shared tidbits along the way regarding the various ways you’ll monitor local SEO citations. Next, let’s take a look at ways to efficiently organize the monitoring process to ensure it is done consistently and correctly.
How to monitor your appointments effectively
There are 3 main methods for monitoring. Some cost more time and may require a dedicated part-time person to a dedicated full-time person. Others cost more in technological investment. And we’ll share how you can save on both.
Manual monitoring of local appointments
In this method, you will write a system to regularly check citations. This plan should include a list of all the places you need to create and check citations, as well as keep track of mentions and citations created by others. Also, write down the frequency and expected time investment so you can properly budget time and resources.
Some citations may not change much and may be reviewed semi-annually. But others will be constantly changing. You may need to set aside time each day.
Manual monitoring works well for startups that have time on their hands and are not yet earning little revenue. Doing this manually is a slow and tedious process. Established companies generally do not benefit from the manual. There is too much for one person to keep up with. For established businesses, even small ones, the semi-automatic is a better option.
Semi-automated local SEO citation management
A semi-automated approach employs online software-as-a-service (SaaS) tools, some of which offer limited capacity for free, but can require a significant investment if the full tool is needed. A furniture company should do their homework to invest in the best SaaS tools (you may need more than one). And be prepared to take full advantage of that tool to get your money’s worth.
Semi-automation helps you achieve the creation and management of important appointments faster, but the downside is that SaaS tools can be cost-prohibitive for a single company using them with limited capacity.
Fully automated + expertly supervised SEO citations
In this scenario, your furniture business is fully invested in industry-leading tools that reduce time investment to a fraction of what it would otherwise be while delivering superior results. You only put your information into a tool once. These systems then automatically update that information in all the right places. They also track extended NAP mentions and locations for errors and things that need to be addressed.
They can then alert the human who is trained to use these more advanced tools. The human handles things that the tool doesn’t like carefully and carefully responds to negative reviews or comments on social media.
We do not recommend that you automate that. Or it could end up with a serious public relations disaster like Progressive Insurance did. People once flooded their Twitter account with tweets related to negative news. The account automatically replied with the progressive lady, Flo’s cheerful face. It was accompanied by a cheerful comment about how valuable her clients are. Infuriating!
In general, full automation only makes financial sense when you’re working with a marketing company. They have invested in these tools and the training to use them. Because marketing companies work with multiple companies nationwide, they can spread the cost of these tools. This makes them much more affordable and accessible to customers. On top of that, they have the expertise to make the most of SaaS tools.
The best way to manage local SEO citations
Rise in local search rankings by creating and monitoring your local SEO citations. MicroD can help. We have the proprietary and SaaS tools, as well as the furniture industry SEO experts that retailers need. And put these tools to work for you. We help you dominate local search results faster, reach more customers, and get more foot traffic into your showroom. Contact us today to learn more.