How Citations Improve your Local Search Rankings
In what follows we will first discuss Local SEO proper and it’s importance for your business.
From this point I’ll discuss how citations fit into that strategy and finally I’ll give you a quick solution for the citation problem. You can jump to the end here.
Let’s talk SEO, search engine optimization, and how to build your local presence on Google and the SERPS. A big part of off page SEO is still backlinks and it’s important to get some naturally. Don’t pay for your links this can give you a penalty from Google and cause you to lose rank. It’s tempting but don’t do it.
New to link building? Moz has a great beginners guide I don’ t have the time or resources to emulate so here’s the link.
In that article link building is defined as “the process of acquiring hyperlinks from other websites to your own.” That same article goes on to suggest that links are one important way that Google and other Search Engines decide how to rank a site. Generally, the thought is that more links and better quality links are important for ranking.
Local SEO and the Importance of Citations
I agree that link building and link acquisition is important for business and thus I encourage you as a website owner to work hard to produce content that will be linked. However, today I want to focus on link building for local SEO and namely local citations.
This is a Real non-Rhetorical Question:
Do you ever find yourself wondering about your competitors and why they are ranking for local key words and on Google Maps higher than you?
If so the quick answer lies in something called a local citation aka a business citation or sometimes called a business directory listing.
Essentially a local citation is made up of one of the following:
- Company name.
- Company name & phone number.
- Company name, phone number, & address.
- Company name, phone number, address, & website.
- Company name & website.
- Company phone number.
- And so on.
When you think of Local Citations think NAP:
- phone number
Darren Shaw of Whitespark.ca has a nice summary of What a Local Citation is and how to get them. https://whitespark.ca/blog/what-is-a-local-citation-for-local-seo/
While we started this local SEO discussion talking about links it’s important to note that a local citation doesn’t need a link to your site to help with your local SEO. A citation validates and confirms your business is real and valid with or without a link. Citations help build the following a case for verification, trust and prominence.
Why your Business should Care about Local Citations
Google and other Search Engines like Bing “read” these third party business directories and listing sites (the one’s that hold local citations) and take the data into account when determining which business/website to show for Geo-targeted searches.
Simply put Local Citations will help you to gain ground on your competitors in the Local Rankings.
Local SEO Action Items
The list of local citation and business directories is huge with literally 1000’s of niche directories. How should you attack the list?
You have two general options: do it yourself or hire someone to do it.
DIY Local SEO Citation Option:
This option is definitely cost effective. However, it’s like all things that are repetitive and boring—time consuming. You must ask yourself if your time is worth more to you than the amount of hours it will take to submit individually to each list.
Sure you can hire a virtual assistant or someone online, a college student, etc however, the quality of work is important here to. Google and the Search Engines do not like it when your NAP doesn’t match. So make sure that you check the work of VA’s and other low cost “helpers” before going all in with them.
Do it Yourself Game Plan?
If you decide to go this Do it Yourself Option I would simply set up a plan to hit 4 to 5 a day for 30 days or 60 or whatever. Create a scheduled time each day to do the work. Sit back and do it.
In my experience expect each 4 to 5 listings to take around 1 to 2 hours at first.
Hire or Outsource the Local Citations
Here at Green Thoughts Consulting building local citations is part of the Search Engine Optimization we do daily for clients.
If you are interested discussing that get in touch with us today.
Finally, we have put together a list of 150 of the best and highest quality business directory listings for your convenience. Enjoy.