New to citation management? Don’t worry, you will learn quickly. One of the biggest issues when it comes to citation management is how to track & measure the value of citations. Of course, not all citations are created equal. That is why you should always think about the impact they make when it comes to growing your business. The age-old question of how much is enough becomes even more important when it comes to how many citations you need. The first thing you should do is to think about the importance of the information they give before you decide how many you actually need.
To track & measure the value of citations you need to understand what citations are
While you do want to manage your citations, you can’t do that without understanding what citations are. In that sense, citations represent are one of the key factors in local SEO. They are an online reference to a business that features the business’s name, address, and phone number. Additionally, the minimum amount of information required for most citations is the ones listed before. On the other hand, most of the websites out there offer more opportunities to add additional information. There are options like AZ Citation Services that can help you in promoting your business in this way. They achieve this by submitting brand information to relevant websites.
While there are a bunch of different options for types of citation websites, a few of them are a must:
- Google My Business
- Bing Maps
Optimizing citations 101
Optimizing citations requires much more than just putting your business out there. You need to keep some things in mind when it comes to managing citations. Firstly, you will need to watch out for NAP (Name-Address-Phone) consistency. This means that your NAP is consistent across all listings. Even though tools like data aggregators can in some cases fix citations, this might not always be the case. Therefore, you should always aim for NAP consistency.
Secondly, aim for good a business description that will help improve local rankings. This works by adding top keywords of your company in the aforementioned description. If you do this, you will also help search engines better understand what it is you do.
Thirdly, don’t underestimate the importance of reviews. By having great reviews you will earn new business and improve your ranking. Additionally, Google looks at reviews on third-party sites to estimate the quality of business.
Lastly, think about photos. Adding photos of your business will for sure help improve customer conversion rates. This will also help you in ranking when it comes to image searches.
Now you can track & measure the value of citations
There are multiple reasons why you would want to track and measure the value of citations. For example, stakeholders want to know if their investment is paying off. Aside from that, you want to know if you are reaching your full potential when it comes to your business’s reach and impact.
There are two things to watch out for:
- Citation status
- Citation performance
The former means to track if your citation is still active and visible. There are possibilities that businesses can lose them for no apparent reason. Exactly for this reason it is of the utmost importance to track the status of your citations. There are different tools you can use to accomplish this. Just watch out for live updates since some tools just ascertain a listing and leave it at that.
Keeping track of citation performance is a different issue. While with the former you only track if your citation is out there, the latter represents the impact your citation actually makes. As with the former, many tools that can help you are out there. They all, to varying degrees check for performance but they have one huge downside – they don’t track performance on your website. To avoid doing it manually, you should just add UTM tracking to URLs and add the same Source name to your URL. This way you will ensure the automatization of the whole process. This will allow you to search in Google Analytics for “citation” under the Source report.
A few things to keep in mind when you track & measure the value of citations
If you are wondering if it matters that Google doesn’t index citations, out of caution you should assume that it does matter. The reason being that if you are looking to improve something, you first have to measure it. For SEO it is very important to regularly improve performance and the best way to do it is to get a good measurement.
Pro SEOs track everything from lost links to conversions and rankings. This is designed to help prove the value of SEO and citations also. Measuring the impact of your work and ongoing refinement is crucial to your success, client preservation, and recognized value. It also helps you shift priorities when something isn’t working.
You should start with the end in mind. What that means is to have a specific goal you want to achieve. That way you will have a direction in which you are going. Also, this will make the measurement process a lot easier, hence the improvement process will be much more effective.
Even though it is not uncommon to have multiple goals, there are particular benefits of having a specific primary end goal and going towards it. The only way you will be able to know if you are going in that direction is to understand the client’s needs. That said, a quality questionnaire for clients is not only strategically important and necessary to build citations, but it will show that you care about them.
In short, all of your goals can be summed up into three groups. Firstly, they have to be measurable. Secondly, they have to be specific. Lastly, share your goals – this boosts your chances of achieving them.