Building Citations Should be Included in Your SEO Strategy
All business owners strive to be successful. Today, success is measured by your companies digital traffic. What does that mean? Increase traffic to your website and storefront.
How do you increase traffic to your website? What’s the best way to grow business visibility? You must build citations for your business.
Creating Local Citations
A citation is the mention of a business name, contact information, and additional data on a website or app, a local business directory, or social platform. Citations impact business rankings on search engines and assist Internet users with finding local companies.
Unlike links, citations don’t have to connect back to the company website to be effective. They can be customer reviews, photos on Facebook, or mentions in blogs, etc. However, the more citations a company has on the Web, the higher search engines will rank the business compared to similar companies.
What To Include In a Citation Listing
Google is one of the top players in search engines and sets the standard for formatting business data. By following their guidelines, businesses can be sure that their citations will be correct by matching the Google My Business listing.
If citations are built manually, it’s best to create a file with all fields pre-filled with accurate and consistent data to avoid mistakes. In order to push precise business data out to various platforms, even with an automated location data management service, be prepared to fill out forms. Using a spreadsheet works great to keep track of your citations.
Here are just a few of the fields included:
- Business name: The name should always match the website logo, sign on the building or door, and any print marketing.
- Website URL: The citation should link directly to a page owned by the business, not to a social platform or third party. It’s important to keep all listings consistent and link to the same place, whether the home or a landing page. Potential customers shouldn’t have to click through several pages to find what they want.
- Images and social profiles: Upload high-quality images as often as possible. Link to Snapchat, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, and more. Update as frequently as possible to drive consumers to the business.
- Address: This should be “real world” without alterations or additions. Never use P.O. boxes or virtual offices. Don’t abbreviate street names to avoid changes in formatting.
- Main phone number and alternative numbers: Most sites prefer a local area code and phone number. For businesses like bed-and-breakfasts (who have out of town customers), a toll-free number is permitted. If using a toll-free number, all citations and websites must be consistent. Many formats allow a cell number, an alternate number, and vanity numbers.
Businesses must closely manage citations to ensure that all data is accurate because accuracy impacts a company’s reputation, ranking, and revenue. Incorrect information and inaccuracies will detract from these critical assets and negatively affect business income.
In order to be at the top of the first page of search results, businesses must have a range of citations on social media, business directories, blogs, and reviews. These are excellent resources for building authority. However, the more citations a business has throughout the Internet, the more difficult it is to keep them up-to-date.
Finding and checking each citation manually can take valuable time from the daily challenges of running a business. Better to use one of several available tools, which can search for and identify incorrect citations and update them. These services charge a monthly fee. Or, delegate one staffer whose daily responsibility is to upload and correct citations. Either solution is highly recommended to ensure the business citations and local search rankings are the best they can be.
Black Raven Media is a digital ad agency specializing in the home building and home improvement niche. Black Raven Media LLC also produces Builders Showcase Television.