The Importance of Local Business Citations
All businesses, whether large or small, family owned or corporate, new or decades old, need visibility to drive traffic to their websites and storefronts. More traffic leads to increased sales and the potential for success. However, to achieve that, citation building is key to harnessing the power of local search engine optimization (local SEO).
What Are Citations?
Citations are any mention of a business name on the internet, along with contact information, either with or without a link to its website. They can be posted on websites and apps, local business directories, and social media sites like Facebook. Local search engines such as Yahoo, Bing, and Google, and review platforms BBB, Site Jabber, Yelp, Trip Advisor, or Home Advisor, among others, are also a great way to get a business noticed.
Citations assist internet users with finding local companies or discovering new businesses. They are an essential local search signal, and both their quality and quantity have a significant impact on search engine rankings.
Make Sure Your Citation Information is Accurate on All Citation Listings
Citations often appear without any action taken by the business. They can result from the flow of data from local business data platforms and automated aggregation or from sharing social media postings. This collection of information makes it especially important for a business to be sure their information is accurate and rectify anything that is incorrect. Correct information will prevent customer and revenue loss and any negative impact on search rankings.
What Are a Citation’s Components?
The company’s name, address, and phone number are the core components of a citation. It can also include a link to the business website.
Additionally, a citation may include some or all of the following:
• Hours of operation
• Business description
• Driving Directions
• Forms of payment accepted
• Fax numbers
• Links to social media
How Do Citations Work?
Citations, unlike links, do not have to connect back to the business website to be effective. Instead, the more citations the business has across the Web, the more authoritative search engines will consider it. A High authority will lead to higher rankings in search listings compared to other similar companies.
However, citations must be uniform across all instances for them to work. Differences, even small ones, will result in them having less of an impact on ranking. Differences include misspelled names, incorrect punctuation, and wrong phone numbers; just a change in abbreviation from one listing to another will reduce a company’s authority.
Ensuring that the business citation is accurate, uniform, and complete remains a winning strategy.
Why Do Citations Matter?
More and more consumers are turning to search engines to locate, research, and discover businesses, services, and products. In the past, customers used the yellow pages, asked a friend or neighbor, or took a chance on finding a restaurant, repair shop, plumber, or dentist.
Today, searches are becoming increasingly important for consumers looking for locally-based goods and services. If a business’s footprint doesn’t strongly reflect their location and reputation, it will not be considered an option.
Local citations can either positively or negatively impact both consumers and search engine rankings, severely affecting a business. If they are plentiful and accurate, they can drive customers and strengthen rankings; while incorrect or inconsistent citations lessen ranking opportunities and misdirect potential customers.
Citations For Success
Companies should be vigilant in ensuring that citations are uniform, accurate, and spread across a wide variety of sites. Consistent and correct citations will increase the business’s authority and ranking and the more likely it will prominently appear in local searches on the internet.
Without citations, a business will continue to rank low in search engine listings. Potential customers will not see the company’s name and will spend their money elsewhere. A business must pay attention to their citations and increase their ranking to be successful.