Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has become one of the most important aspects of online marketing, and for a good reason. After all, if your business isn’t ranking high in the search engines, you’re missing out on potential customers and sales.
This is especially true for local businesses relying on search engine traffic to attract new customers. Fortunately, you can do several things to improve your local SEO and boost your rankings in the search engines.
Building local citations is one of the most effective ways to improve your local SEO. Today, we’re going to take a look at what local citations are and how you can use them to improve your SEO.
What Are Local Citations?
These are simply mentions of your business on the internet. This can include your business name, address, and phone number (NAP). Citations can be found on directories, listings, and local business websites. The important thing is that the citation includes your NAP and is linked back to your website.
Not all citations are created equal, in any case. Some websites are more authoritative than others and will carry more weight with search engines. In general, you should focus on building citations on high-quality websites that are relevant to your business.
Types Of Citations
There are mainly two types of citations: unstructured and structured.
- Unstructured citations are online mentions of your business that don’t include your NAP details. These are less common but can still be valuable for your business. An example of an unstructured citation would be a mention of your business in a blog post or news article.
- Structured citations, on the other hand, do include your NAP. These are the most common type of citations and are often found in directories and listings.
These are just a few examples of the different types of citations you may encounter. The important thing to remember is that all citations can help improve your local SEO.
How Do Local Citations Help With SEO?
According to Google, citations are one of local SEO’s top three ranking factors. If you want to improve your local SEO and rank higher in the search engines, you need to focus on building citations.
Local citations help with SEO in several ways. Here are a few ways they can help:
1. Rank Higher in The Search Engines
As we mentioned earlier, citations can help improve your rankings in search engines. This is because citations help build trust and credibility with Google. The more credible your business appears, the higher you’ll rank in the search results.
2. Get More Traffic
Citations can also help you get more traffic to your website. This is because when people see your business listed in a directory or listing, they’re more likely to visit your website. This can lead to new customers and sales for your business.
3. Build Brand Awareness
They can also help you build brand awareness for your business. When people see your business citations, they’re more likely to remember your business the next time they need a product or service that you offer.
4. Stay Ahead of Your Competition
Finally, they can help you stay ahead of your competition. This is because the more citations you have, the higher you’ll rank in the search results. You’ll be more visible to potential customers than your competitors.
How To Build Local Citations For Your Business To Boost Your SEO
Building local citations is relatively simple and can be done in several ways. But before we go ahead and start building citations, there are a few things you need to do first:
1. Claim Your Google My Business Listing
It is a free listing that allows you to manage how your business appears on Google.
You can add details like your business hours, location, contact information, and more. You’ll also be able to respond to reviews and monitor your listing for accuracy.
2. Optimize Your Google My Business Listing
Once you’ve claimed your listing, you must optimize it for the search engines. This implies adding as much information as possible, including your business hours, location, contact information, and more.
3. Add Photos And Videos
Another great way to optimize your listing is to add photos and videos. Google allows you to add up to 10 photos and 5 videos to your listing. This is a great way to show potential customers what your business has to offer.
4. Get Reviews
Google also allows you to get reviews from your customers. These reviews appear in the search results and can help improve your click-through rate.
5. Monitor Your Listing For Accuracy
Finally, you need to monitor your listing for accuracy. This means regularly checking your listing to ensure that your business information is up-to-date.
Now that you’ve claimed and optimized your Google My Business listing, you can go ahead and start building them.
Here are some things to keep in mind while building local citations:
1. Stay Industry Specific
When you’re building citations, it’s important to stay industry specific. This means only submitting your business to directories and listings that are relevant to your industry.
For instance, if you’re a plumber, you wouldn’t want to submit your business to a directory for medical industry businesses.
2. Focus on Quality And Not Quantity
When it comes to citations, it’s important to focus on quality and not quantity. You should only submit your business to high-quality directories and listings.
There are some ways to determine the quality of a directory or listing. You can look at the Alexa rank, PageRank, and MozRank. You can also look at the number of backlinks and the quality of the websites that are linking to the directory or listing.
3. Be Consistent With Your NAP
It’s important to be consistent with your NAP when you’re building citations. NAP is an abbreviation for name, address, and phone number.
When submitting your business to a directory or listing, you need to ensure that your NAP is exactly the same as what’s on your website. This means that if your address on your website is 123 Main Street, you can’t submit your business to a directory with the address 1234 Main Street.
If you’re not consistent with your NAP, it can confuse search engines and hurt your rankings.
4. Use Automation
The citation-building process is time-consuming and can be tedious. That’s why it’s important to use automation.
There are some citation-building services that you can use to automate the process. Some of these services include Moz Local, Yext, and BrightLocal.
5. Take Advantage of Your Competitor’s Citations
You can take advantage of your competitor’s citations. You can use a tool like Whitespark to find out where your competitors are building their citations.
Once you know where they’re building their citations, you can submit your business to the same directories and listings. This is a great way to get your business in front of the same audience.
6. Build a Directory Page on Your Website
Another great way to build citations is to create a directory page on your website. This is a page where you list all of the directories and listings that you’ve submitted your business to.
Not only does this help improve your rankings, but it also helps build trust with your potential customers.
7. Use a Service That Offers Citation Building
If you don’t have the time or energy to build citations yourself, you can use a service that offers citation building. You can also hire a professional SEO company to do it for you. These companies will have the time and resources to build high-quality citations for your business.
8. Leverage Pay-Per-Play Opportunities
Sponsoring a local charity or sports team can be a great way to give back to your local community while also acquiring a link. This is a less common method, but it’s worth considering if you’re open to pay-per-play opportunities.
Building local citations is a great way to improve your ranking in search engines. But it’s important to focus on quality and not quantity. You should also be consistent with your NAP. And finally, you can use automation to make the process easier.