LOCAL SEO CITATIONS: THE VITAL ROLE CITATIONS PLAY IN GETTING YOUR WEBSITE ON GOOGLE’S FIRST PAGE
LOCAL SEO CITATIONS & SEARCH RANKINGS
If you’re a local business owner, it’s important to make sure your website is showing up for your chosen keyword (or search term) on the first page of Google if you want more potential customers. One of the key ranking factors that can help with this is building citations for your business listings. So what are citations, and why do they matter?
In this blog post, we’ll answer those questions and more! We’ll explain how citations work and why having a large number of them is a key ranking factor. And finally, we’ll give you some tips on how to get more local SEO citations for your business so you can show up on google maps & Google’s local Pack.
I’M A LOCAL BUSINESS! ARE YOU SURE I CAN GET IN THE SEARCH ENGINES?
Yes! SEO is not just for big businesses. It’s important for local businesses too and you can make sure you show up in local search rankings! In fact, SEO can be even more important for small businesses than it is for large businesses. Why? Because for local business owners, you have less competition online.
That means that if you optimize your website and local listings properly, you have a much better chance of ranking on the first page of Google than a large business does. You can use these local citations as a keystone for your local SEO rankings strategy.
WHAT IS A LOCAL CITATION FOR MY WEBSITE?
A local citation is simply a mention of your business on another website specializing in local business listings. It’s like a reference for your business, and it tells Google that your website is authoritative and trustworthy enough to show in any local search. The more citations you have, the better!
A high number of local citations shows Google that your website is valuable to people who are searching for keywords related to your business. And when Google sees that your website is popular and respected, they’re more likely to place your local business higher in those same local search rankings.
WHAT INFORMATION IS INCLUDED IN LOCAL CITATIONS?
Your local citations should include your business name, address, and phone number (NAP). It’s important to make sure that this address and phone number are consistent across all of your business listings. That means if you have a different phone number on one citation than you do on another, Google will see that as inconsistency and it will hurt your ranking.
So take the time to check all of your citations and make sure the NAP information is identical in any of the local business directories you submit to. The information included in each of the citations falls into two different categories; unstructured citations and structured citations.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN STRUCTURED CITATIONS AND UNSTRUCTURED CITATIONS?
A Structured citation is a listing that includes your NAP information (name, address, phone number) as well as other important details about your local business, such as your hours of operation, website URL, and category.
An Unstructured citation doesn’t include all of this information but may still mention your business name and include a link to your business. Unstructured citations can help with link building, but structured citations tend to be more valuable to rank websites because they provide searchers with more information about your business.
HOW DO I TRACK WHAT CITATIONS I ALREADY HAVE?
There are a few different ways to track your local citations. You can use a tool like Moz Local or Whitespark to do a citation audit. This will give you a list of all the places your business is mentioned online, as well as any inconsistencies in your NAP information.
You can also manually search for your business name and address on Google to see where else it appears online. Now that we know how important business listings are to help make sure your business ranks on Google, let’s discuss how you can make sure you optimize them!
EXAMPLES OF SMALL BUSINESS CITATION SOURCES AND THE CORE PLATFORMS TO USE
These are just a few of the many small business directories you can submit to get a local citation. As we mentioned before, it’s important to make sure you don’t have any wrong information or duplicate listings as you build local citations.
- Google My Business
- Government databases
- Local business directories
- Bing Places for Business
- Yellow Pages
- Apple maps
- Angie’s List
- Better Business Bureau
- Chamber of Commerce
- Niche specific business directories
- Other websites
HOW DO I GET CITATIONS FOR MY BUSINESS WEBSITE?
There are a few different ways to get citations for your business. many businesses will submit their business data to online business directories as a citation source. This is a great way to get started because it’s easy and there are many free directories available for general business listings. You can also list your business in local online directories (such as your local chamber) or important directories, which is especially important if you’re running small businesses.
Another way to get citations is to create listings on popular review sites like Yelp or Google My Business. These sites are great because they not only give you citations but also help improve your search engine ranking and increase traffic to your website. This is a very time-consuming process unfortunately and as all of us, business owners know, the age-old saying, “Time is money” can be true. There HAS to be a faster way…
We choose to utilize a professional approach to building these for our clients through several partnerships we have developed to automate the process of getting your listings correctly uploaded into the various website databases.
HOW MANY CITATIONS SHOULD I HAVE FOR LOCAL SEARCH RANKING?
As business owners sometimes we feel like we can just MAX OUT and more is better! In this case, there’s no magic number of citations you need to rank in local search. The important thing is to make sure your NAP information is consistent across all of your listings and that you’re listed in as many high-quality directories as possible. A good rule of thumb is to try and get at least 20-30 citations from high-quality directories.
CAN I PAY TO GET CITATIONS FOR MY LOCAL BUSINESS FASTER?
Some companies offer budget citation services for your website, but we recommend treading very carefully when you consider using these services. First, it’s important to remember that quality is more important than quantity when it comes to citations. Even if you’re able to get a lot of citations quickly, they may not be from high-quality websites and you could receive little or no benefit.
This can hurt your SEO rather than help it. In addition, if you pay for low-quality citations that tend to be cheap, there’s no guarantee that you’ll see any results from the investment of time and money at all. It’s much better to focus on getting high-quality citations from sources in your area or niche than a vast number of low-quality ones. Alternatively, you can use major data aggregators for a fee as well.
WHAT IS A DATA AGGREGATOR?
Data aggregators are companies that collect business information such as the name, address, and phone number from various sources and then distribute it to other companies to help build local business citations. The four main data aggregators in the United States are Infogroup, Localeze, Acxiom, and Factual.
And lucky for you Mr. or Mrs. business owner, these companies collect business information from sources like the Yellow Pages, chamber of commerce websites, local directories, and government agencies. These data aggregators can be your ticket to quick business citations, however, they can also be VERY expensive citation sources.
At Catalyst RVA we have created key partnerships to assist with developing quality citation sources for your business with a one time fee VS. having to continue to pay these data sources to continue listing your business yearly at a high cost.
WHAT MAKES A CITATION HIGH QUALITY?
Generally, you want to look for business directories that are relevant to your industry, have high domain authority, and are well-established to show in local searches. A website that meets all of these criteria is likely to be more valuable to you than one that doesn’t. If you’re not sure how to find high-quality websites for citations, consider working with a local SEO agency on building citations for your NAP data and other details.
A good local SEO agency will know how to find the best websites for citations and can help you build up your presence on the web. This investment will pay off in the long run as you start to see your website rank higher on Google searches and show up in the map pack.
WHAT IS DOMAIN AUTHORITY?
Domain Authority (DA) is a score developed by Moz local that predicts how well a local business and its website will rank on search engines. It ranges from one to 100, with higher scores indicating a greater ability to rank. Domain Authority is calculated by evaluating linking roots, the number of total links, MozRank, and MozTrust. A high-quality website will typically have a DA of 40 or more.
If you’re looking to improve your website’s SEO, then focus on citation building! They play a vital role in ensuring that your business listing appears on the first page of Google search results. By following the tips above, you can easily get citations for your website and see a big improvement in your SEO. And if you need SEO Experts in Richmond then look no further than Catalyst RVA to help build citations for your local business! We are a full-service SEO agency that offers a wide range of services to help businesses improve their online presence and stack up the most citations in their niche.