Citations for local searches tend to be one of the important factors when you need to establish an online presence for your business. Despite the assumption that citation building is superficial, its importance is far more serious. In combination with link building and other strategies, it can be a powerful tool to generate leads and improve sales. In order to use them properly, however, you should be aware of local citation building myths you need to avoid. Failing to use their maximum potential can only hurt your business.
Local citation building myths and other misconceptions
Even though local SEO can be intimidating at times, its complexity is not hard to comprehend. But, with all the false information circling around, it can be confusing at times. Some people favor certain element over others, which undoubtedly lead to many misconceptions. Remember, only with the right practices and help, you can market your business successfully. In order to help you understand how things work, we’ve made a summary of the 5 most common local citation building myths you need to be aware of.
But first, let’s say something about citations.
What are the local citations?
As we already mentioned, local citations can be essential for any local business. They represent a sort of visibility of your business on the internet. Any mention of your brand online, in essence, are citations. Wherever you have your business name, address, and phone number, you can consider it a citation. No matter what website, platform, or search engine is in use. How do local citations help? They are the key to help your business gain trust from customers and improve your online rating.
Now that you understand what they are, let’s say something about 5 most local citation building misconceptions:
- Citations are not necessary
- You don’t need Google My Business
- Failing to include your suite number in your citation is a disaster
- You need identical citations everywhere
- Citation building is the only local SEO strategy you need
1. Citations are not necessary
Maybe in the past was different, but today, not only they are necessary, they crucial to acquire proper local visibility. The same attitude people had toward directories like Yellow pages once, they should retain today. Guess what? In the internet era, everything has its online version, and Yellow pages are there as well. They are a potent form of advertising where businesses have the opportunity to get closer to potential customers. And it’s just one among plenty of directories we have today. Likewise, Google My Business is, probably, the most underestimated form, but fortunately, it’s changing.
2. You don’t need Google My Business
Since we already touched this subject, let’s explain it better. Not only this claim is wrong, but Google My Business (GMB) is one of the most important aspects of local SEO marketing. Without it, you are missing a key opportunity to stand out among the competition. For example, when someone searches for the information about a service or a product, they can immediately get your business name, address, and phone number (NAP) from GMB listings. This convenience, in combination with other useful information, can increase the number of potential sales.
3. Failing to include your suite number in your citation is a disaster
No, not really. It seems like many people are concerned with this, but it’s nothing but unnecessary panic. In fact, Google doesn’t even need this information. Actually, it does not recognize suite numbers for most business listings. In most cases, this information is dropped when carried over to the map maker. Yes, it can be important in the sense that your customers might need to visit your office. But, because your street address from NAP is what’s valuable to Google, not the suit number, you are not obliged to provide it. Nor it will affect the ranking.
4. Local citation building myth about identical citations everywhere
This uniformity advertised by many is nothing more than a myth. If you are a business owner and someone tells you that you need identical citations, they are assuming it wrong. Google search engine is perfectly capable to understand those small variations in citations. For example, if you put “Street” in one place and just “St.” in another. In other words, if Google is unable to understand this, you would probably see thousands of duplicate listings in every search result. Actually, maps will look like they had a sudden attack of small pocks. It would be total chaos.
Citations use three strong elements: name, address, and phone number (often referred to as NAP). These matches are what is used to associate citations with the correct Google My Business listings. Even more, you need only two strong matches, the third can be just a partial. Quite often, it’s impossible to always have all your citations to match.
5. Citation building is the only local SEO strategy you need
In short, citation building is not the only link building strategy you will need in order to succeed. Your visibility in local searches depends on:
- Regular SEO where you provide quality on-page content with good optimization for keywords and good linking
- Citations for listing and spreading your business’ name, address, phone number across the web
- Location as the proximity and position of people who do local searches online
Even though proper citation profile is essential, you can’t neglect other factors for local businesses. You can’t control who will do a local search in the engine, but you can optimize other key elements. Focusing only on one factor won’t do you much good. At least, not in the long-term.
Don’t allow the complexity of SEO avert you from growing your online presence and improving your business. Remember these local citation building myths and other local SEO misconceptions and you will soon make progress. There are so many opinions around. While some are truthful and others are wrong, the constant changes in SEO are making it even more difficult to set them apart. In fact, the only way to use best practices is to stay updated with these changes. That way, SEO will work to your advantage and your business will thrive.