Building a strong online network for a local business includes a lot of factors. One of them is surely citations – a strong point of the SEO game. If you have the right approach or hire citations professionals, citations can significantly improve your local rankings, without taking away much of your time. On the other hand, if they are not set up the right way, it can be pretty difficult to clean them up. That’s why this guide will come in handy to all those SEO beginners. Here are some strategies for finding citations sources and making your local ranking as high as possible.
Citations – the basics
Firstly, let’s talk briefly on citation basics. These serve as references to a business, and they cover basic information about this business. This usually includes name, contact information, address. Generally, these are online directories on various sites, where customers can find information about your business. Even though there are some very popular citations such as Google My Business, Yelp, Facebook, Bing Maps, etc, finding citations sources should be adapted to the type of the business so it can be more effective.
What are the ways for finding citations sources that are right for your business?
As we mentioned, places to find citations are many. However, it’s not possible to list your business absolutely everywhere, for many different reasons. You don’t have time or money to do so, and many citation sites are not relevant to your business. That’s why there should be some strategy for finding citations sources and making the most out of them.
Play it safe at first
If you’re unsure what are the best specified sources for your business, start with the most popular ones in general. We already mentioned some of them in the text above, but pick the ones that are the most used in your ‘online environment’. Then you can continue finding citations sources that are more specific to your business niche.
Remember: Not all sources will give the same results. As all of them have different values, you need to be consistent and follow the results so you can focus on some other sites if necessary.
Start with Google
There is a big chance that Google is the most-used search engine in your area, as well. That’s why you should start with this online giant. Google can help you to find local business listings and go through huge directories. Wherever you find some local listings that are popular in your city or region, make sure you submit the info there. Furthermore, you shouldn’t forget the benefits of Google My Business. It’s probably the most massive database and the first thing you think of when finding citation sources.
Keep an eye on your competition
When running a successful business or starting one, you should know that having some competition is inevitable, but it can also be very useful, too. This can help you with finding citation sources as well. Look for a successful local business from the same niche and check their listings. This will surely be a great way to find the sources they use, so you can consider listing your business there, as well.
Focus on your niche
For your citations to be effective, they should be posted on niche-relevant sites. That’s why you should focus on looking for sources by industry. Define your business niche and start the search for the most popular sites related to the industry. This will keep you closer to the other big names in that business area, which is always beneficial. For example, moving companies are most likely seen on Verified Movers, Google My Bussiness, or Better Business Bureau. On the other hand, businesses related to the real estate market will place their citations on Zillow, Homes, Realtor, etc.
Government databases are particularly useful
When finding citations sources, we often forget the most obvious ones. These are often government databases, which can be local, as well. Many government sites, such as various chambers list businesses on both the global and local levels, so you can definitely find the thing you need from a trusted source like this.
Infogroup, Factual, Localeze, Foursquare
What’s mutual to these three names – they are all data aggregators. These data mining systems collect and share business information from various sources, which makes them very easy to use. Data aggregators provide information for mobile apps, search engines, local directory sites, etc. which definitely makes them good citations sources.
How to submit and manage citations successfully?
After you find a citation provider that’s most valuable for your business (consider the target audience as well), make sure you check if a citation already exists. Dealing with duplicates can take away more time than you think, so be sure not to make this mistake.
More citation sources, the better. However, be sure that the information you submit is consistent on all platforms. Always keep the information updated, and all the citations the same.
Use the right tools. There are several tools that can help you find citations online and analyze your online presence. That’s why having some helpful apps is necessary to make the most out of your SEO. There are a lot of them online, and you should pick some according to your business’ needs.
As you can see, finding citations sources might have a couple of steps, but it’s definitely worth it. Running a business smoothly is necessary both online and offline, so you can see the true success the mix of these two can give your new company.