When advertising your local business online with search engine optimization (SEO), one of the many factors you need to consider is local citation. But what is it exactly and how can your SEO campaign benefit from it in the coming year?
What Is a Local Citation?
The term “local citation” refers to any online location that bears the name, address, and contact number of your local business in online platforms. Also known as a business listing, local citations can be found in places including online directories, websites, and social media.
There are two types of citations: full and partial. The partial citation is when only part of the information (e.g. business name and address or business name and contact number only) is given.
How Do Local Citations Enhance Your Local SEO Efforts?
● Citations can boost search engine rankings. Google prizes citations. They are among the many signals that Google, as well as other search engines, use to determine whether or not your business website has authority and is reliable. Because trustworthiness can make a huge impact on search engine placement, this can help you get higher rankings.
● Make your business more accessible to customers. When a potential client searches for a service or a product you offer, citations (especially one on Google My Business) will put your website squarely in front of them. They can see your contact number and address so they can move right ahead to the next step of the buying cycle.
How Do You Manage Citations?
In order to benefit from local citations, you need to manage them actively. Here are a few tips to do that:
● Check for duplicate entries. Remove duplicates to minimize confusion and misinformation.
● Make sure that the information is accurate. This not only helps Google verify your business information, but it also makes it easier for potential customers to contact and locate you. Inaccurate citations can misdirect clients which can negatively impact your reputation and sales.
● The data has to be the same throughout all platforms. Varying information will make your business seem unreliable to search engine web crawlers, which can affect rankings. It can also confuse customers. Fix it to make it easy for them to find you. Otherwise, they will turn to a more accessible business.
● Be consistent with formatting. It doesn’t matter what type of formatting you choose as long as it’s the same. For your phone number, for example, if you use the (###) ###-#### format on your website, use it for all your citations.
● Include additional information. Besides the business name, address, and phone number, you should also include information such as:
– A link to a page on the business website
– Hours of operation
– Email address and contact person
– Fax or other phone numbers
– Business description
– Images and/or videos
– Accepted forms of payment
– Reviews or testimonials
– Links to your social media accounts
What Are a Few Local Citation Sites for Canadian Businesses?
Here are a few online directories you can look into:
- Google My Business
- Better Business Bureau (Canada)
- Yellow Pages
Online directories have effectively replaced the traditional Yellow Pages. This year, stay ahead of the curve by taking advantage of online citations.