A citation is a mention of your business name and address on another webpage without the necessity of a link. It is considered to be an essential component of ranking algorithms in both Bing and Google. To illustrate this further, when all other factors are equal, businesses that have a greater number of citations are almost certainly going to rank higher than the ones with fewer citations. For this reason, you want to learn the best practices for local citation building. And this article will have all the information you need regarding this process.
Best practices for local citation building
To start off, you will need to know where to find citations that will increase your search engine rankings. Luckily, there are thousands of different places where a citation can be acquired. And each local business ought to focus on the creation of a strong core of citations, as it will increase the visibility of the business. In addition, it will be beneficial when it comes to building a good reputation for the business. When it comes to the local search markets that are extremely competitive, high quality and authoritative citation is one of the top-ranking factors. So, if you are looking for potential sources for these local citations for your local business, make sure to read on.
1. The four main aggregators in local business data
You will find four main aggregators in local business data in the United States:
- Neustar Localeze
With combined databases, they have indexes of over 20 million businesses throughout the U.S. To compile these indexes, they had to go through a traditional phone book, membership rosters for business groups, phone and baking records, business registration entities, and other databases. In return, these aggregators either syndicate or license their data to the majority of local search engines. These include Bing and Google. It will take the search engines from two weeks to three months to update their indexes with fresh data from these aggregators.
2. The local search engines
You cannot regard local citation building without the local search engines. They will crawl the web for various citations that will help to correct or validate the business information which is present in their existing indexes. Being present on websites such as Hotfrog, Foursquare, Yelp, and others will do great to increase the search engines’ confidence when it comes to the accuracy of your business name, website, and location. Learning the best practices for local citation building will help to ensure you have an accurate listing in as many quality and relevant local business directories as possible.
3. The local blogs
A local blog is yet another great place to consider acquiring a business listing. As they vary based on geography, you will have to enter a search such as (your city) blog. That way you will likely find at least a few candidates worthy of your consideration. Keep in mind that the websites that appear for those types of searches are considered well-indexed by search engines and associated with the specific region, city, or neighborhood. Consequently, businesses who find their place on these blogs, whether through links or other mentions, also get the high regard with the search engines. In other words, if your business gets a citation in some of these blogs, the search engines will recognize it as relevant and reliable.
4. The directories with a local focus
Similarly to a local blog, local directories are well-indexed by search engines. They are also closely tied to a specific region or city. Keep in mind that directories that are edited by a person are much better than the ones who are “free for all”. The former are much less susceptible to spam. As such, the local search engines tend to trust them to a greater extent.
5. The industry-focused blogs or directories
Taking this route for local citation building means that you will have to do a bit of research, but it will go a long way. If you manage to find a website that has a focus on keywords and topics that are related to your services and products, it can be included in the sites that the local search engine counts as an actual citation source. Mind you, this is true even if the website or the directory is not specifically directed on a concrete region.
Why is it smart to invest time and effort in local citation building
If you are still contemplating the importance of this action, consider the following:
- Having quality citations will help both your current and potential customers to find you.
- Citations will impact the local search ranking factors. Search engines rely on your business information being consistent on all online databases.
- Even if you don’t have a website, you certainly have contact details, and thus the opportunity to get citations.
Before you create a business listing, you ought to gather all your business information. This will help you ensure you submit the exact same thing to every potential citation you attempt to acquire. The first one on your list of citations to acquire should be Google My Business listing. When it comes to ranking in the Google search engine results, this one takes the first place by far.
After creating this citation, make sure to clean up any inconsistencies in citations that may be out there. You have to ensure all the information listed is accurate. Doing so will provide your business with the best possible chance of being found by Google.
What it comes down to
It is true that the proper local citation building will take some time and effort to acquire. However, it is well worth it in terms of search engine rankings. So, do not shy away from taking the time to get to know all the various options and efforts you can make in order to help your business rank better. Citations are powerful, but you have to see to your information is consistent across the web. And with this article, you will be able to do just that.