Building citations is often confusing to the local business owners. If you’re inexperienced with the SEO, you can be puzzled by the various ways people write local citations. However, this shouldn’t stop you from making a high-quality online presentation of your business and helping customers find you faster. This guide is not only for beginners – it’s for everybody who wants to revisit their citations and make them as precise as possible. Learn what’s the first thing to write in a citation and how to make the most out of them.
What’s a citation?
Those who are new at citation management need to understand a few basic things before they start making citations for their business. Learning the definition and importance of citations is the first step into making effort and creating the best possible online image of your business. Citations are any online mentions and references for your business, that include the name or any other information about it.
These can include contact details such as an address, phone number, and other additional info. Citations appear on many locations on the web, some of them being more relevant to others. Some of the crucial locations are Google My Business, Bing Maps, Yelp, Facebook, but also other locations that are relevant to a specific niche.
Depending on their location, citations can be structured and unstructured. This is an important factor when deciding what is the first thing to write in a citation. Structured citations are included in directories and websites that offer reviews for services and products. Their main characteristic is defined structure and complete information about a company.
On the other hand, unstructured citations are parts of an article or blog post. As they are incorporated into the text, they lack the form of a structured citation. Therefore, they often don’t include all the information, which doesn’t make them any less important for a business. When talking about citation optimization, we will focus on structured citations and the proper way to form them.
What’s the first thing to write in a citation – forming citations properly
To make sure citations are effective and clearly visible, be sure to format them the right way and include the right information. Let’s start with the first item to include in a citation.
NAP – the first thing to write in a citation
Nap stands for name, address, and phone number, and it the most important part of a citation. Complete and accurate NAP is the essential part of a citation because it directly affects the local SEO. It helps with the ranking, as well as the general online presence.
What happens if your NAP is incorrect? Posting incomplete or incorrect information about your business will lead to confusion among potential customers. Trying to find or contact your offices and failing to do so, will lead them to your competitor. And if many people are redirected this way, your business will lose ranking and become less popular.
How to write a NAP correctly
Here are some tips on creating the NAP of your company:
- use the full name of your company, and avoid nicknames. Nicknames are variations that can easily lead to confusion.
- pick an address format and stick to it. It’s essential to decide which address style you will use, and don’t change it across various directories. For example, you can format your address as 123 Main Street, or abbreviate the word ‘street’ to St or St. Whichever style you pick, always focus on consistency in forming citations.
- stick to one phone number format, too. Again, there are several ways to write a phone number, using brackets, hyphens, etc. Be sure to maintain the style you chose in your citations, but also any other places and printed materials. This way your contact details will be easily recognized by customers.
Other steps of citation optimization
In order to make your citations more complete and therefore more appealing to customers, additional information is necessary. Apart from the name, address, and phone number, there is some other information to include in the online image of your local business.
Adding a link to your website is another crucial step in citation optimization. In the world of online shopping, a website address is a must in the online presence.
Description of the business
For all the new potential customers, describing your business is necessary. By making a concise and informative description and using the right keywords, your ranking will go high up. Defining your business also comes with selecting the right category (even secondary category) in Google My Business.
Photos of your business
Another way to make your business look more professional is by adding related photos to your citations. These can be photos of the logo, offices, products, etc. When adding them, be sure to add the caption and alt tag that suits the industry and style of your business.
If you’re running a shop, a bar, restaurant, or any similar business, working hours are an important part of your citations. Make sure they are accurate, and also remember to update them if anything changes in the meantime.
Now, you’re all set for creating your new citations – or updating the old ones. Remember that consistency and accuracy are the keys to a successful SEO strategy, including citation optimization. And in case you get confused about it, get help from an SEO specialist. Investing time, money, and effort into your business’ online presence pays off very soon!