Using all the available tools online to assist with your local SEO efforts is essential to maximise your chances of appearing at the top of search results. Local citations form an important part of any local SEO strategy and can improve the chances for your business to rank in search engines. Citation listings form part of any link building strategy too because they get your business more external links from reputable sources (however these are generally not as powerful). The most popular business listing locations are across social media and on your Google Business profile. These sites are not usually referred to as citation sites and are generally universally used for all businesses to list their business.
What Are SEO Citations?
SEO citations are a local citation building strategy where your business can improve its presence in search engine rankings by creating business profiles to appear more on Google. This is done by creating a citation listing as a business profile on sites like Yellow Pages, True Local, Product Review, Trust Pilot, & Yelp. These are just some of the most popular and well-known sites, but there are many authoritative local business listing sites that can help with SEO efforts.
Benefits of Local Citation Building
There are many great benefits to local citation building and it is one of the best ways to get more customers to your business within a specific area. When you have a strong online presence, it will be easier for people to find you when they are searching for your type of services or products. Having more chances of appearing on the first page of Google with more local listings is a great local citation and SEO strategy. Also, having a stronger online presence will make it easier for potential clients to reach out to you directly.
Local Citation Building: The Basics
Local citations form an important part of any local SEO strategy and can improve the chances for your business to rank in search engines like Google. Citation listings are also known as online directories or a business directory, but essentially are all the same thing. The following are some examples of optimisation strategies for building citations and why creating local citations can assist your business:
- Local citations help Google understand if your site is relevant to a specific location, which helps it determine whether or not it should show up in local searches.
- The most important part of any local SEO citation is the NAP (name, address, & phone number). This is the most critical contact information your business can provide to potential customers.
- Local citations provide information about other business details like a detailed business description, hours of operation, photos, videos, social media, and any associated URLs.
- Adding a map to your page will allow users to see exactly where your business is located. This can be particularly useful if your address can be difficult to find.
- Having a link to your social media like your Facebook page or Twitter account will let people know about other contact points your business has. Posting regularly to social media can show off your best products and/or services.
- If you’re selling something, including a picture or video of the item you’re offering may entice someone to buy it. People who want to learn more about your business might click through to your website after seeing a picture of an item. For example, if you sell shoes adding a picture of a pair of shoes from your website may help create a sale.
The overall goal of manually creating local citations is to assemble additional touchpoints where any potential customers can contact you. If users browse another site or want to visit another site for more information about your brand then these SEO built citations are perfect for this. They will usually rank highly for many search queries because the sites are authoritative with search engines, meaning they could also sometimes outrank your own site for some keywords.
Local Search Citation Advantages & Disadvantages
Citation building is an effective way to boost your business locally and within any search engine. There are some pros and cons of using this as a strategy to improve local SEO.
Advantages of Citation Listings
There are several reasons why citation listings are beneficial for your business. If someone needs directions to your store or location then they will be able to find it within your created business citation. Citations allow you to showcase your business hours and other critical information quickly which may be otherwise hidden or hard to find on your own website. A lot of this information should already be in your Google Business profile, however, these citation listings are just another way potential customers can find your business online. Citation listings also give you an external link to your site which is one of the ranking factors to help rank in search ranking results.
The biggest advantage citation listings provide is the ability to attract new customers who otherwise wouldn’t find you across your own website, social media, or Google Business profile. People who are searching for local businesses are usually looking for more information and especially about what time a business will open and close. By providing this additional information, you can entice these people to visit your store, send you an email, or give you a call.
Disadvantages of Citation Listings
While business citation listings are great for getting more exposure for your business, they aren’t always accurate. It can take quite a lot of effort to create and update all your profiles across multiple sites when the same effort could be applied to optimise your Google Business profile or your own website to get more organic traffic. Up to 80% of consumers lose trust in a business once they see incorrect or inconsistent contact details or business names online. Therefore it is vital to edit your citation listings to ensure they are accurate over time as you don’t want to have inconsistent listings or incorrect listings.
Citation listings don’t always rank highly like you may hope they do and trying to optimise your own website (if you have one) would be more optimal. Also, some sites may restrict what information you can or cannot include such as hiding the phone number or email address on their site. Others may ask for lofty payments to have all these features included (which is almost always not worth paying for). Another disadvantage is that business listings are sometimes limited to certain cities which means if you live outside of a major city, then you won’t be able to use this strategy.
How Can BeOnTop Help?
We are the experts for all things associated with local SEO and SEO rankings. Citation building can be an extensive process for any business and should be done alongside other best practice local SEO strategies. A lot of these involve checking the health of your Google Business profile and include further strategies aimed to appear at the top of the Google local 3 pack and overall higher in SERPs for local search queries. If you want to learn more about our services, please contact us today!