How to Structure the Citation for Your Business

Most business owners already know the importance of citations present in online directories. Business citations are key elements of a successful SEO strategy. That being said, there’s no need to overemphasize the fact that they should be well-structured to attract potential consumers. Since you’re reading this article, it’s safe to guess you’re probably wondering how to structure the citation for your business so it doesn’t go unnoticed. Hopefully, by the end of this text, you’ll have a better understanding of what you should do. So, shall we start?

What is a business citation?

Some folks still remember the way they used citation in their college essays. Now, this has very little or nothing to with that. The second option is more likely. A business citation is a mention of your company on a website other than your own. Throughout the years, it usually contained the company’s name, address, and phone/e-mail. Nowadays, most websites encourage you to include additional information. Imagine an old-school Yellow pages¬†brochure and you’ll have an outline of how most websites that host citations look like. Of course, this was kind of incorrect.

You don’t have to imagine Yellow pages being online, since they already are. More on the sites functioning as business directories and citation building in the paragraph below.

A woman going through the pages of a phonebook. In the olden days, there were not so many ideas on how to structure the citation for your business.
Offline phonebooks and Yellow pages are, of course, a thing of the past. Nowadays, people find about your business browsing the web.

Structured or unstructured citations?

So, here we’ll introduce the concepts of structured and unstructured citations. Now, if you’re wondering what’s the difference between them it’s good you know that most online business directories hold structured citations. As a business owner, you’ll definitely want to be visible on those sites. You’ve probably heard of Yelp or Foursquare? There’s really a small chance you haven’t. Anyway, the citations you’ll find there are the so-called structured ones. What about the unstructured citations? Well, you’ll probably find those appearing on blogs or third-party websites. They don’t even need to be hyperlinked, every mention of the company’s name is considered a citation.

Structure the citation for your business with ease

This might be the most important section of this quick guide on how to structure the citation for your business. Let’s say you’ve made a business page on Yelp. So, what happens next? You’ll need to fill it with the company’s details. In other words – you create a structure. The least you can do is to fill out the NAP (Name/Adress/Phone) standard.

Of course, nowadays that’s not enough. Putting out some additional information, such as videos, photos, working hours, website links, or ways of paying won’t hurt your company a bit. You have no excuse to leave an almost empty page wherever you’re in a position to do much more than that. Make sure you also include all the services your company offers to its consumers. That way people will know they’re dealing with a professional.

A moving crew loading the truck. If you're wondering how to structure the citation for your business, one of the ways you can do that is to add some additional material such as photos.
Don’t be lazy. Adding some photos to your online profile on Yelp, for example, is way more attractive than leaving a half-empty page.

Good old NAP or how to be accurate and consistent

One thing you have to watch out for is inconsistency. You’ll need to make sure your NAP is the same on every website containing your company’s citation. It can happen, believe us. Some companies change their address and somehow forget to update their citations. You can’t let that happen to you. Also, some companies haven’t changed their address, but still, they have a different address on, let’s say, three websites. How’s that possible? Well, they’ve named their street differently on each of these sites. They’ve put Main St. on one, and Main Street on the other. Now that is something you definitely need to avoid.

Keep track of where you put your info, and never miss to change it accurately. These days, with hundreds of potential websites containing your info, that’s not that easy to do. Focus on the most important ones. Scroll down to see which ones are considered basically unavoidable. If you want to be visible online, that is.

Must-haves

There are some general business citation sites that are considered crucial. If you’re don’t have a business citation on one of them, you figuratively don’t exist as a company. Sorry if we’re being a little pessimistic here. Unfortunately, that’s the truth. You’re fighting for customers with many other firms in your branch. People in need of your company’s services need to see you. Make your company very visible! Here will mention a few sites you don’t want to skip. You’ll get nowhere if you avoid creating profiles on these ones:

  • Yelp
  • Bing
  • Google
  • Apple Maps
  • Foursquare
  • Yellowpages

These were some of the top 10 citation sites. Imagine having a business, and not being visible on Google or Apple Maps. That’s a disaster in the making! If your NAP is consistent on these sites (don’t forget others, also), search engines will recognize it better.

A Google street sign.
Not being visible on Google is not something you’d consider a road to success. Quite the contrary, actually.

Watch out for typos!

Last but not least, you’ll need to watch out for typos appearing in your company’s citation. Nothing yells unprofessionalism like typos. Every now and then it can happen, and it happens to all of us. You might find a typo in this article, and here we are telling you to watch out for mistakes. Everyone should take care of their typos, right? Make sure you don’t make any and correct those that you find, of course.

A few words at the end

Being a business owner these days isn’t that easy. It’s far from easy, to be frank. You need to pay attention to every little detail. AZ Citation Services experts gave you some solutions on how to structure the citation for your business so it doesn’t go unnoticed by potential consumers. Consistency and accuracy are two words you need to remember well. Your NAP being the same on every website is crucial to search engines recognizing your business as real. And, of course, watch out for typos!

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