A recent study found that around 60% of small business owners want an online presence but stop short because they’re overwhelmed by the process. While having a basic website is better than nothing, you must learn to drive business to your site and ensure that you get found easily on the internet.
The easiest way to pull local users is by building local citations. To the uninitiated, a local citation refers to an online mention of your business name, address, phone number, business email address, etc. These citations can appear in business directories, social networking platforms, apps, or industry-related websites. The most basic citation includes your business name, address, and phone number. This information is called NAP and is one of the best ways to rank your local business well.
Here’s what you must know about local citations:
Besides the SEO advantage, citations help people discover your business on the internet. Listing your business on sites like Yelp, Yellow Pages, or niche business sites builds credibility. Business directories often dominate search results for local inquiries. For instance, if you look for real estate agents in your local area, the first few searches are almost always dominated by business directories. You’ll rarely ever find real estate agent websites on top results.
There are two main types of citations; structured and unstructured. Structured citations refer to the business’s name, address, and phone number. The best way to build structured citations is by listing these details on directories and social media profiles. The information displayed on directory listings is displayed the same way, and the page is usually built around that data.
Unstructured citation refers to a business being mentioned casually on a newspaper, online magazine, blog, or forum post.
When it comes to citations, quality matters over quantity. While citations are essential, you mustn’t get them from every website you come across on the internet. If you’re not sure about how to build citations, read on:
There are thousands of business directories, and it would be impossible for you to list all of them. This is where data aggregators help. They are data mining systems that collect and share business data with different sources, including Google. If you’ve wondered how your business appears on a site where you’ve never submitted a listing, it is because of these data aggregators. In the US, there are four major data aggregators, viz. Localeze, Foursqaure, Factual, and Infogroup.
To manage your business listing, you must search for your business on the site and claim if it’s there. If not, you’ll have to submit a new one after ensuring no duplicates, and the information is correct. Some sites do not allow businesses to edit data directly – you’ll have to do it through their TDCs or Trusted Data Contributors for a small fee.
There are plenty of important websites in your country or relevant to your business. Facebook, Bing Places, Yelp, YellowPages, Apple Maps, Yahoo Local, are some of the top citation sources in the United States.
You could submit your listing on these websites yourself or hire a professional team to do it for you. The latter makes better business sense for multiple reasons. For one, you don’t know if the site is relevant to your business and worth listing. But most importantly, do you have the time and patience to manually submit information on each of these sites?
Working with the Citationscheck.com team can be the perfect partner for small businesses looking to build an online presence. We’ll help you find core sites relevant to your region and audience. Our team will create profiles individually on all these websites while following the rules of each of these directories and ensure the information is accurate across the internet.
After taking care of basic website listings, the next step is to consider industry-related and geo-specific websites. For instance, a TripAdvisor listing is invaluable if you’re into hospitality. If you’re an attorney, consider listing on findlaw.com. If you’re a realtor, a listing on realtor.com is a must. As earlier said, the geo-specific listing is also essential. Depending on the physical location of your business and the areas you serve, consider listing your business on the local Chamber of Commerce website or other local business association site.
There are plenty of unstructured citation sources – some of them include Google, HARO, and Ahref’s Site Explorer. While structured citations help users find information about your business, unstructured citations can take your business to the next level. They usually come from reviews, blog posts, articles, press mentions, etc. Users will naturally be interested in learning more about your business and even trying it once if people they look up to care enough to write about it.
While citation building may seem easy, it requires experience and expertise to ensure accurate and consistent information. Having one phone number on one site and another on another is terrible in terms of SEO and erodes user trust. In fact, one study found that around 80% of consumers lose faith in a business if the information is incorrect or inconsistent. Users may assume the company has shut down or is not worth searching.
There are plenty of other factors that help local SEO, citations being just one of them. Over the following few blogs, we’ll cover each in detail, along with case studies to prove their effectiveness. Call us at 770 557 -6262, or ping us on live chat if you’d like to know how to build a local presence for your website.