Local Business citations are simply mentioned your business on another website. Most of the time it will feature your business name, address, and phone number and may include a link to your website.
Benefits of Local Citations for every local business
Business citations are important because they are used by search engines to help decided how to rank businesses in their local search results. Also, search engines and google more specifically use business citations to verify the accuracy of the business so it is important that wherever your business is mentioned your business details are always the same.
The question is where do you get business citations from?
There are many places where you can get citations but the best and easiest starting place is from online business directories such as yell.com, Yelp, Thomson local, etc.
Think of it as the modern version of the Yellow Pages book you used to keep only now it’s online and the Yellow Pages on the only source. As a small business owner you must understand that it is totally unnecessary they are actually only about 20 to 30 directories that really matter depending on which country your business is located in.
There are actually two kinds of Citations.
1. Structured Citations
Most business owners and marketers equate citations with directory listings. Your NAP (Business Name, Address, Phone number) info is listed in a structured format typically with your business name on one line address on another, and phone number on another.
2. Unstructured Citations
It occurs when your NAP information is listed in you guessed it an unstructured format. This happens in long-form content like a blog post or news article where your name, address, and phone number are all mentioned but not in a strict line-by-line format.
Citations used to be an incredibly weighted element in goggle’s algorithm but they’ve become less important over the last few years, now they’re a foundational element something that you need to get right in order to show up in local searches but not something that you can work harder on to influence your rankings. Getting them right allows you to play and show up in local searches but they have zero bearing on how you’ll rank once you’re showing up.
Citations are much more important for showing up in the map pack. If you don’t have your citation set up correctly it is going to be very difficult to show up in map pack results. Your citations need to be 100 consistent whenever goggle’s algorithm sees your nap information listed on another website, it’s expecting to see the same information any mismatched incomplete, or duplicate information sends a bad signal to google.
Google Understands Address Abbreviations
Google is smart enough to understand abbreviations you might read an older post that claims that citations need to be consistent down to each individual character but that’s no longer true. Google understands that “st” and street are the same thing other than that your address needs to be your actual address. Google ignores suite numbers so don’t try to cheat by using a suite number to make it look like you’re in a different location. Don’t try to use virtual offices like Regis or even post office boxes to fake your address always use your real address.
Multiple Businesses at the same address
You need to be sure that two of the three nap elements are different to avoid visibility problems since the address is the same which means the business needs a unique name and unique phone number. You also need to be listed on the sites that matter for your business
The question asking yourself is what those directories are. On this blog, I will provide everything you need so you can keep the list of the key directories in a resource area of this blog.
Your Business needs to be correctly listed
There are certain sites that every business should be listed on while other sites only matter for certain verticals. Think of it like this, your business needs to be listed correctly where Google expects it to be listed.
It is important you keep track of which directories you have submitted your business details to with the login details you have used to create accounts. Imagine if you change the phone number or the address of your business, what will happen? You’ll have to revisit each one of those directories to update your business details and if you do not remember in which directory you have listed your business you will quickly end up with inaccurate listings across the bit of the web which would damage your rankings.
Top 8 Citations Sites for every local business
They help leading global companies tap into this intelligence to create better customer experiences and smarter business outcomes, all based on the world’s leading platform for understanding people, places, and the interactions between them.
They help United States, Canada, and Mexico consumers find businesses and charities they can trust
They put you in control of your business across 70+ online local listings. Being found has never been so easy.
Helps find driving directions, maps, live traffic updates, and road conditions. Find nearby businesses, restaurants, and hotels.
Provide the technology, software, and local business automation tools small business owners need to better manage their time, and communicate with clients
Helps to ensure that they’re connecting you with qualified home service professionals
Gives your business an opportunity for free exposure to millions of weekly visitors to this hugely popular website
Business owners can claim and customize their profile page to improve online visibility and marketability.
Verifying the accuracy and consistency of your business citations.
As you start building your business citations, you will find out that it can quickly get off hand if you’re not careful and there is a risk of making mistakes. The best way to avoid this is as I mentioned to keep track of the details you have submitted in an excel or google spreadsheet. Although this is a manual process it does work. The other solution is to another tool in your arsenal which will do that for you.
Head over to Moz.com/local. Enter your business name, and your postcode and click on “check my business listing”.
If you created a Google my business profile or also known today as Google Business Profile, you should see your business listed here as verified click on it. On the next screen, you will be able to see where your business is listed and if there are any inaccuracies, duplicate listings or if the listing is incomplete. Although it will not include all the sides where your business is listed, it is a fair representation of how well you’re doing across the web.
I would recommend using a combination of both manual processes and using the MOZ tool for optimum efficiency. Now it’s up to you, to implement everything I have recommended and I promise you will see a difference in a matter of weeks.
This is only a tiny part of how you can best market your business online but it will give you a solid upon which you can build.