Promoting your business is about gaining trust. Citations can help gain this trust and get your business seen in local SEO results.
In simple SEO terms, a local citation refers to any mention of your company online. This could be in a business directory, or on an industry specific site, a blog, or any other local website.
Although local citations can help you rank in local search results, they are no longer a major ranking factor. However, they are worth considering to promote your business.
Common citations you’re probably already familiar with include listings on business directory websites like Yell or Thomson Local. A complete citation should include your business name, address, and phone number. Local citations do not always include a link to your site, although they are more valuable if they do.
What do they do?
Citations help rank your Google Local Pack (formerly Google+ local map) listing by providing Google with trusted sources of information about your business. Citations tell Google that your business exists, is legitimate, and that what you say about it is accurate because it can be corroborated from multiple sources. Therefore, providing a consistent name, address, and phone number across multiple sites is vital to providing trust signals to Google.
How do they work?
Google considers a number of factors along with citation directories when deciding whether to show your business listing to someone who has searched for the products or services you offer. One of the things they take into account is the proximity of your business to the search location.
To take advantage of local appointments, it’s essential that you already have a Google My Business listing set up, claimed, and optimized.
In traditional organic SEO, links from a trusted relevant website are one of the main ranking factors used by Google. Regarding local SEO, text hyperlinks help rank Google Local Pack listings in search results.
Getting citations from a site with a high domain authority and lots of traffic can help improve your local search ranking. Going for quality links over quantity is the key here.
What are the different types of dating?
Some examples of local citations include:
- General business directories
- Directories of industries, niches or specific sectors (Trip Advisor)
- Websites of local newspapers and press
- Local themed blogs: For example, LeftLion is great for local nightlife venues like bars, pubs, clubs, and restaurants.
- Social networking websites such as Twitter, FourSquare, Facebook and YouTube
How can I find other local dating opportunities?
To find local dating opportunities, I would start by jotting down the general top ones that come to mind when you think of local business directories.
Also, find out where your competitors are listed. If all of this seems to be taking too long, then there are tools, both paid and free, that can help you find new dating opportunities.
Tools we recommend and use ourselves include:
- BrightLocal, which performs a paid citation burst that takes a few minutes to set up and then sends directory requests on your behalf.
- SEMrush that performs competitor backlink analysis.
- Moz provides a number of insights from competitive analysis.
What makes a local date great?
A great local quote should be seen as credible and trustworthy both by people browsing the web and by Google. This is why established brands like the Yellow Pages (Yell), Trustpilot and Thomson Local are great places to start.
When creating or claiming a business directory citation, it’s important to fill in three crucial pieces of information about your business:
- Name – Ideally this should be the business name of your brand.
- Local Phone Number – Must match the number provided on your own website.
- Physical Address – Once again, this should be consistent with your website address.
(A general SEO rule, it’s worth noting that these three pieces of information should be presented on your website as clickable HTML text and not as a graphic)
If a local newspaper is covering a story about your business, it is unlikely to show your business address or phone number. In such cases, it is enough that your company is clearly mentioned by name for your ad to receive value.
Setting up Google alerts for your business and your competitors can also help you spot potential link opportunities.
The above information only applies to the successful creation and completion of both general and industry-specific directories.
So how do I win from local citaqtions?
Although the number of links you get is important, the quality of the links and the accuracy of the information you provide is more important. Information about your company, such as your name, address, and phone number, should be consistent across all sites where you are mentioned.
Full citations are more valuable for Google Local Pack rankings and your overall web visibility. All of this helps spread the word about your business, find new potential customers, and make it easy for them to access your website.
While business listing citations are relatively easy to obtain, the most difficult ones come from local or specialty websites or local newspapers. You have to have something newsworthy that they can talk about and you have to get their attention first.
What’s the trick?
The process of creating local citations can be time-consuming and tedious, and ideally you should have an overall marketing strategy to get the attention of journalists.
However, if you’re a local business that would greatly benefit from a local listing on Google Local Pack, then it’s worth your time. You also have the option to automate the work with the tools discussed above or outsource it entirely, if you have the budget.
Local SEO helps build authority in your local area, improves the authority of your website, sends trust signals, and can also improve rankings.
If your business operates in a particular niche or unknown area, then it is more difficult to get directory links. In this case, you can try more specialized directories or look for different ways to build links depending on what is relevant to your business. For example, you could:
- Guest posting on local blogs
- Actively post on forums
- Sponsor local events
- Get in touch with local influencers and collaborate with them
- Answer relevant queries on Quora and leave a link to your website
- Be active and interact on social networks by carrying out activities such as contests