Importance of Citation Building
Local SEO today is a dominating factor that drives most of the visitors to websites. More than 20 percent of Google searches are for a local business. Citation building is one of the most critical aspects in Local SEO boosting the rank and popularity of your website in search results.
- The ranking algorithms of leading search engines consider citations as a key element while generating results.
- Websites with more number of citations appear higher in SERPs fetching more customers than the ones with fewer citations.
- High quality citations with consistency of information on reputed directories like Yelp and Yellow Pages help strengthen the conviction of search engines on your business name, its category and contact details.
- A proper use of citations can also significantly influence stature and rankings of small service providers (even without websites) falling under niches with low competition because for them search engines count on any information they come across.
- Citations are reliable sources of finding authentic businesses in a particular category thus citation building drastically improves your rankings in local SERPs.
- Effective use of citations and other such local SEO strategies can sometimes outshine the visibility of bigger groups by smaller organizations on a local search basis.
Submitting Citations: Best Practices
- First and foremost, know the 5 kinds of sites on which you will need to get listed:
- Data-aggregators- i.e. sites creating the basic business database for local search directories (e.g. LocalEze).
- Horizontal directories (e.g. Yelp).
- Industry-specific directories (e.g. Avvo).
- Region-specific sites (e.g. Denver.com/places).
- Sites providing “unstructured” citations like blogs, newspaper websites, event listing websites, job websites, government sites, etc.
- Be consistent and complete with your business listing. Make sure to submit identical business information including name, category, address, zip code, phone no. and other required details everywhere.
- Verify that your HTML NAP matches with the NAP submitted on various citation sources. A mismatch may not only confuse search engines but also your potential customers.
- Find out quality and reliable citation sources determined by its domain authority, i.e. the no. of linking root domains, indexed pages, domain age, page rank, etc.
- Before creating new citations, check out for any variations in your existing listings, claim them and fix immediately. Remove any duplicate listings that you bump into. Give preference to quality over quantity.
- Thoroughly check for any existing listing on a site before making any new submissions to avoid duplicities.
- Check for replica entries of your business name in Google MapMaker. Also Google your phone no. and address and correct the issues.
- Monitor your competitor’s listings. Add citations on directories that you are missing out.
- Read and strictly follow the submission guidelines of each directory.
- Strengthen your business authority and local listing by creating a verified Google Plus page.
- Certain citation sources like LocalEze and Acxiom require owner-verification in form of phone or postal verifications before listing your business. Ascertain to complete all these verifications.
- Do not solely rely on automated citation services like Yext, although it is a good tool to update your listings but sometimes can leave duplicate and inconsistent citations.
- Keep a cloud backup of your citation reports and login credentials.
- Providing with alternate phone and fax numbers do not mess up the NAP consistency.
- Remember, getting listed take a span of a month or two. So do not panic if you don’t find your business listed.
- Observe your citations periodically to find and settle down needed fixes.