Citations refer to mentions of your Name, Address and Phone number (NAP) on different online directories and equally authoritative websites. With all factors impacting on local SEO promotion held constant, businesses with more citations online often rank higher on Google, Bing and other search engine results in local listings.  With the map pack being reduced from 7 listings to 3, it is more important to have your ducks in a row when it comes to local.

With search engine sites gradually shifting towards more organic ranking fundamentals, getting your name out there consistently would come in as a great boost to your other local SEO strategies.  For citations to have a positive impact on your online marketing strategies, you have to learn how and where to place them for maximum visibility. However, before you even start working on them, you have to appreciate why you even need them the first place.

What is the importance of Citations for your local SEO?

When ranking for local searches, Google gives priority to businesses with a verifiable physical location and to the location of the searcher.  Help increase the degree of certainty of your location for search engines have about your business’s contact information and categorization through efficient citation listings.  In effect, the further away your business, and the less mentions across the web to confirm your location is to the searcher, the smaller your chances of being picked up by search. It, therefore, pays to have your business Name, Phone and physical Address highlighted on different online listings. Some of the reasons Google favours citations include:

Consistent citation of the business address proves to Google that your company fits in a given community. In such a case, your business will be given priority when matching consumers with your service offering for localized searches around that community.

Note that these listings don’t necessarily need to be linked back to your site and in many cases a nofollow attribute if more relevant.  The goal is to get your Business name “out there” not necessarily to link back to your website.

How to cite your business online?

If the citations are not to be linked back to your business website, how then will they be captured by the search engines? The current algorithm changes that include such ranking fundamentals as Google My Business, local citations and proximity have provisions for that. Nevertheless, if your citations are to be picked up by these search criterions and associated with your business, they have to be unique and consistent.

Ideally, your business contact information should be different from that of your competitors. Even when they run the same business as yours next door, you have to make it unique. But this shouldn’t be hard considering the fact that the only thing you are likely to share with such a competitor is the physical address and not the name or phone address.

Understandably, all the effort you put into this will be worthless if the contact information displayed online is not consistent. This means that the business name, physical, and phone addresses on your website should match the ones cited on other platforms.

TIP :  Always, where possible, use the same NAP in your citation listings as your Google My Business listing:  this will increase the link between the two for search engines.

Where should you cite your business?

Apart from having clear and precise contact information on your website, preferably in the footer and linked to your Google My Business listing, you should consider other authoritative sites and associations across the internet. For starters, your business visibility can achieve a boost with citations on such sites as:

• National and local directories :  Yellow Pages to Hotfrog to Gumtree

• Listing in your business association directory :

• Mentions on the local Chambers of Commerce – find the list of Sunshine Coast Chambers here.

Summary

In expanding the reach of their local SEO, most business website administrators, including your competitors, have paid too much emphasis on backlinks and keywords while neglecting citations. Take advantage of their loss of focus and forge ahead by properly citing your business name and contact information on every local business directory and association lists as well as press releases and journal publications.

Drop me an email and I’ll send you a list of the citations I used to get Felicity Jane Digital ranking in the first position of the map pack for “SEO Sunshine Coast”

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