How to Build Your Online Citations and Why It Matters


April 10, 2018 By

Cheryl Dykstra


Online citations are defined as “mentions of your business’s name, address and phone number on other websites” such as YP, Yelp, and many other directories. A citation does not need to include a link to your website to be a key component of the ranking algorithms on search engines like Google and Bing. If everything else is equal, a business with a greater number of citations will have better search engine optimization and will most likely rank above a business with fewer citations.

Citations from well-established sites, such as Superpages.com or Manta.com, help increase the certainty that search engines have about your business’s contact information and category. Basically, it confirms that you are who you say you are.


Where to Get Citations

There are thousands of websites on which a business can be listed in order to gain citations. Local businesses, like Orlando dentists and lawyers especially, can benefit from building a strong core of citations, broaden their reach to customers, as well as prove to the search engines that the business exists and is “trustworthy”.

 
Here are some potential sources for citations:

·  Data Aggregators – Infogroup, Neustar Localeze, Acxiom, and Factual are the four primary data aggregators in the US. These aggregators license or syndicate their data to most local search engines and other directory sites.

·  Local Search Engines – Search engines crawl the web for citations that will validate or correct business information in their own indexes. Ensuring your listings are correct on sites like Yelp, Foursquare, and others can create confidence in the accuracy of your business information. Most local businesses will need to engage in a citation building campaign to guarantee they are listed in as many relevant, high-quality local business directories as possible.

·  Local Blogs and Local Directories – Both local blogs and local directories are well indexed by search engines and are highly associated with particular cities and regions. Edited by humans, these citations show less spam and are more trusted by local search engines.

·  Industry-focused Directories or Blogs – Back to our Orlando dentist example, being placed in directories with other dentists can help establish your category in search engines and help you compete with your other local businesses.

 

Incorrect or Duplicate Information Can Hurt

While you may think having your information out there as much as possible couldn’t be a bad thing, having duplicate information could end up harming your citation efforts.

The Google Local Business Information Quality Guidelines say very plainly how many listings your business can have:

 
Do not create more than one listing for each business location, either in a single account or multiple accounts.
 

While there are some exceptions, such as multi-partner law firms or multi-practitioner medical offices, it is best to keep multiple listings to a minimum. Customers and search engines do not know which listing to trust, which can lead to confusion or misinformation.

This leads us to incorrect information. If you have changed your business’s name, location or phone number, it is most likely incorrect out there on the Internet. This incorrect information can cause search engines to not trust your information and rank you lower because of it.

If you need help creating or correcting your business’s citations, contact Sales & Marketing Technologies today. We have a digital marketing team dedicated to helping local businesses thrive online.

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