marketing often focuses on optimizing the website, but an area that’s often neglected is online citations. Citations are a critical ranking factor for local SEO
because it helps search engines verify that your business is popular with local consumers. Getting more citations from trustworthy platforms, along with your other optimization efforts, will boost your local search rankings.
Learn more about online citations and how to build them to improve your local search marketing
, which will drive more local customers to your business!
What Are Online Citations?
Online citations are mentions of your business on other websites, which may or may not include a backlink
. Either way, the citation provides SEO value. When comparing two similar businesses but one has a greater number of citations, it will most likely rank above a business with fewer citations in search results.
Additionally, where the online citation is matters. Websites with high ‘domain authority’ (i.e. they’re popular) will increase the chances of search engines finding, indexing, and displaying the page with your business’s information in search results. In essence, citations confirm to search engines and users that you are who you say you are.
4 Ways to Build Online Citations
There are many websites you can get online citations, however, it’s important to select websites that are well-established and make sense for your local business. Here are four types of websites to consider for building online citations.
It’s crucial that your listings and profiles are accurate on local search engines like Google
, Bing, Yahoo, Yellow Pages, and more. Also, don’t forget that social media networks like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn also have search functionality.
Local blogs and directories are highly relevant to particular cities and regions, which is why having citations on these websites will help associate your business to the local area. Since blogs and directories are managed by humans, these citations are viewed as more trustworthy by search engines.
Industry-focused blogs and directories also help establish and associate your business with a relevant category in search engines. Plus, there are branding benefits of appearing on industry-focused websites because it positions your business as an authority.
Data aggregators are companies that compile large amounts of business data such as name, website, address, phone number, hours of operation, and more, then clean up the data to be licensed or syndicated to search engines and other directory sites. Popular data aggregators in the United States include Neustar Localeze, Data Axle (formerly Infogroup), and Factual.
Considerations for Multiple Listings and Locations
Avoid duplicate information and multiple listings for the same business to prevent complications. For instance, Google My Business Help
says there should only be one profile per business because multiple profiles will cause problems with how your information displays on Google Maps and Search. Additionally, customers won’t know which listing to trust, leading to confusion or misinformation.
But, what if your business has multiple locations? You should create a location group
under one master Google My Business account so it’s easier to manage multiple locations and keep them organized. Don’t create multiple Google My Business accounts for multiple locations. Instead, link all of your locations to one account to avoid confusing Google.
Reach More Customers with Citations
Building a strong core of citations allows your business to broaden its reach to local customers as well as prove to search engines that your business exists, boosting your local rankings. Citations also make your business appear more trustworthy to search engines and customers. Remember to review your citations to ensure that they’re accurate and immediately update your listings if your business information changes.