Even the most experienced business owners sometimes have trouble when it comes to the online part of running their brand. That is pretty normal. You are only one person and there is so much to be done. There’s so much to learn, and new things add up almost every day. However, one thing hasn’t changed for a while – and that’s the importance of local citations. They are said to help reach the right audience and make your brand more accessible. But, what’s really true? Let’s find out everything on local citations and see if they are important for your brand. We will also share some useful tips and tricks and after you are done reading we recommend you go to the AZ Citations website and research our blog. You will find a lot of useful information there.
Local citations described simply
Let’s start by explaining the term local citations and what they represent. To put it simply, local citations are mentions of your brand anywhere on the net. These mentions often include basic information about a business – name, location, contact details, working hours, etc. The most important part of them is surely NAP – name, address, and phone number. This is the basic, most important information that should be accurate and clear wherever possible. On top of NAP, business owners can add some additional information such as website address, images, business category, etc. The more the merrier! However, NAP information should be present at all costs.
Local citations are therefore an important factor in every SEO strategy. Search engines use them to rank businesses according to their accuracy, reliability, and presence in relevant directories. Using this information wisely can give you better results, so let’s see why are local citations important for your brand.
Local citations help your brand to be discovered
If you’re trying to sell services or products to people in a specific area, local citations are the way to do it. By placing the information about your brand on relevant online locations, you make it easy for people to discover your business. This leads to more people reaching out and therefore more revenue.
However, it is important to place your citations in directories that are relevant to your target audience. These could be global directories such as Google Maps, Yellow Pages, or Yelp, but also some locally recognized directories.
The more websites mention your business on their pages, the more trust you’ll gain from Google and other search engines. These mentions are signals to the search engines that your website is a trustworthy one. That’s why you’ll get more recognition from the search engine which surely leads to a higher ranking and help local SEO. Using these mentions as evidence of trustworthiness, Google is more eager to ‘recommend’ your page in relevant searches.
You spend less to attract the target audience
One of the reasons why local citations are beneficial to your brand is the fact you can reach a target audience by spending less or no money. Most of the important directories allow submissions for free, which makes this type of promotion very cost-effective. Surely, not everything related to citations is free of charge. Some directories will charge you for adding more details such as photos or videos, maps, or business categories.
What is the target audience?
When advertising a product or service, it is important to reach the people who are most likely to be interested in buying that service (or if you are offering a product), and this is known as the target audience. Gender, income, age, location, interests, and many other factors can be used to determine a campaign’s intended audience. What you sell will determine how specific or broad an audience you can expect to attract. Some things are widely popular and some are not.
If you worked as a shoe salesman, for instance, your demographic would be diverse, as both sexes and all ages buy and wear footwear. On another hand, maybe you specialize in selling shoes for runners. Therefore, you can narrow your focus to elite athletes in their twenties to forties who have either stated a running interest or completed a marathon as your intended demographic. In any case, identifying your audience’s unique characteristics and preferences will help you craft more effective messages and narrow in on the networks they prefer to receive them.
Local citations help you win over the competition
Competition is a healthy thing in business. It always keeps you doing more and getting over new challenges towards success. Local citations may be that every step you’ll be ahead of your competition. By posting your listings in the right places, you can ensure customers discover your brand before anyone else’s. Also, by analyzing the citations of your successful competitors, you can learn the best SEO practices. It’s surely one of the reasons why are local citations important for your brand.
Get in touch with new partners or investors
It’s not only about reaching new customers. Building citations is also about reaching potential investors and partners. If your goal is to expand your business and partner up with some other successful brands, citations can help you reach it. However, this means you shouldn’t leave your citations with only basic contact information. Include some other details such as your social media, contact details of relevant people from your team, and references to your main services or products.
Tips for building and maintaining your local citations
If you ever read our blog you surely know by now that besides explaining to you something we also like to offer you some links where you can continue your research but that’s not all. Often we like to include some useful tips and tricks that can help you with your SEO, link-building, or citations (depending on our topic of the day obviously). After making sure you understand the importance of local citations for your brand, we want to share the main tips on building citations. We will start from the very beginning – understanding the types of citations because you won’t go far without knowing the basics.
Understand the types of citations
As we already said we need to start from the beginning. This is it. There are two types of citations in the SEO world. The first ones are structured citations – found in directories with a predetermined format, listing the NAP along with some other information. Next are unstructured citations – more casual mentions of your brand. Usually, you can find these in blogs or social media posts, where mention of your brand comes with a context. Now that you know about types you can continue your learning and research as well.
Don’t forget data aggregators
The term “data aggregator” refers to a business that gathers information from multiple sources, processes it to add value, and then repackages it for consumption. Data aggregators collect data about your business, sort it out and supply it to other relevant directories. Submitting your info to the main data aggregator can save you a lot of time.
Focus on relevant directories
All online mentions of a local business’s NAP data (name, address, and phone number) are considered local citations, whether they are complete or partial. Local directories, websites, apps, and social media all have the potential to feature a citation for a given business. Depending on the type of your business, location, and target audience, you should pick the relevant directories that will give the best results. Choose the relevant industry directories or general websites where local people can easily find you. We found some of the most used and therefore the best platforms (for local businesses) to build citations :
- Better Business Bureau
- Yellow Pages
- City Data
We think that it would be smart to start with those since they are very popular and then you should research the ones that are popular in your neighborhood/city. You need to find as many directories as possible. The key here is to be omnipresent. Okay, we know that being omnipresent is not possible but you should put some effort to be wherever your customers might see you. Even if some sites don’t seem worth of effort – they are even if you get only one customer from them.
Business directories are cost-effective
A business directory is a much more cost-effective strategy than pay-per-click (PPC) ads or other online marketing strategies that focus on increasing traffic to your website. Most directories provide free listing submissions for local businesses. For additional premium options, you’ll have to pay for some others, like more detailed descriptions of your products or services, detailed descriptions of your services, detailed maps, websites, and extra categories (for your business)
Connectedly, when you claim your business on the Google My Business directory, you’ll get a free business listing that appears prominently in Google search results. The visibility of your business on Google Maps will increase, and your customers will have an easier time imagining and locating your location as a result. The website of your regional chamber of commerce is yet another excellent place to post a free advertisement for your company’s services.
Using social media
Social media can be amazing for you. Facebook is one of the best directories but Facebook is getting a bit old. Sure, you should have your profile there with your citations but you really need to be on many more platforms. The new hot trend is obviously TikTok and before you even think “can I even have citations there” – the answer is yes. You just need to be more creative on this specific platform.
Claim listings that already exist
Sometimes you can find a listing of your business you didn’t create. That happens. If it is on a relevant website, make sure you claim it, so you can edit necessary information if possible. If you find some citations with your old phone number or address then you need to do a thorough citation cleanup before you continue.
Maintaining your citations can take energy and time, but you need to focus on consistency and accuracy. Hire a professional to have your back at this, so you can focus on other aspects of building a successful brand. Building citations requires focus and attention to detail, so ensure this task is done by someone who really understands why local citations are important for your brand.
Let’s sum things up
Before we go we just had the need to sum things up (for the road right?). Local citations improve your company’s discoverability, SEO (search engine rankings), and online visibility. Make sure your business’s NAP (name, address, and phone number) is consistent and correct across all channels before beginning any local citation-building strategy, whether it’s unstructured or structured. Now that you have learned all the important facts about citations and in this case, especially about local citations we need to say one more thing. You don’t have to do everything on your own. There are people who can help you!
If you are having difficulties with your citations, citation cleanup, or citation building we suggest you outsource this part of your job. The bigger your business gets the more you will have to outsource. Luckily we know who can help you. We can help you with your local citations and citations in general. All you need to do is get in touch and we will handle everything.