For every business it is important to have consistent local citations. Let us explore what a local citation is, why it is important, and how to implement it.
What is a local citation?
A local citation refers to mention of any business on the internet. Such citation can be a combination of different details such as name of the company, address, phone number, web site address, and zip code. Local citations are important since you can improve your position in local search results if a citation includes these details thus potentially improving your rankings on Google.
Complete citation usually includes details like name of the company, its phone number, and address and known as NAP. If all the details are not included then it is called as partial citation. Let us now go through details of different types of citations that exist.
Types of Citation
Structured Citation | Unstructured Citation
There are two categories into which local citation can be divided, these are unstructured and structured citations.
This refers to NAP data available on business listing sites. You can submit details about your business to receive local citation. Some sites that offer such structured citation are:
- Mapquest, etc.
This refers to listing of your business information on websites which are not business listing sites. Some examples of these sites include wikis, blogs, magazine sites, etc.
Local Citation and Its Components
As we mentioned earlier, the main components of any local citation are NAP details. However, it is also possible to include other details about your business. These details include:
- Business category
- Driving directions
- Website URL
- Description of your business
- Hours of operation
- Links to social profiles
- Alternative phone numbers
- Email addresses
- Fax numbers
Benefits of Local Citations
Improvement in Search Ranking | Positive Impact Over Consumers
There are several benefits of local citation for your business. Let us delve into the details here.
Benefit #1: Positive Impact Over Ranking in Search Engines
Ranking in search engines are affected by factors such as:
- Total local citations your business has.
- Quality of websites on which local citation is added.
- Accuracy of data.
Popular search engines such as Google continuously collect data about websites and if the information they collect is accurate then they will be trusting validity of such data and this in turn will help in improving your website's ranking in search engines.
On the other hand, if website information is inconsistent on the web then it will not help in building trust of search engines and chances of better ranking in search results will be reduced.
Benefit #2: Positive Impact Over Consumers
If the citation is accurate then it helps consumers find local businesses, which in turn, translates into foot, phone, and web traffic, resulting in higher sales. However, if the citation is not correct then it can misguide people and result in loss of business as well as reputation.
Citation and Link Backs
The good thing about citations is that it is not necessary for the citation to link back to a site to be considered valuable. Google will be able to identify that a business has been mentioned when NAP details are available and give credit for same to that business.
If there are more mentions of a business on high profile sites, it helps in improving ranking of your business on Google. However, if the citation includes a backlink to your site then it is considered even better compared to citations that are without link.
Relationship Between Citations and Search Rankings
Trust & Verification | Prominence of Ranking
Trust and Verification
Search engines such as Google and Bing utilize citation information to verify whether a business exists. If they find that several credible sources provide the same NAP details about a business then search engines considered that a business is legitimate and can be shown in search results.
Additionally, if a business is listed on reputed local and national websites then it helps in building authority and creating trust for the business, resulting in better ranking in local searches.
Prominence of Ranking
Studies reveal that search engines such as Google and Bing utilize ranking algorithms that factor in aspects like local citation when considering sites for search ranking.
A survey on local ranking factors shows that citation associated data makes up about 13% of the important fifty factors that are considered by search engines while ranking a website.
Thus, if your NAP information shows up online on trustworthy websites then it can help in improving your ranking in search results since Google will be confident that the business operates in specified location showing your site in search results will be helpful for visitors.
Importance of Consistency in Citation
If you want your local citation to provide desired results then it will be important to make sure it is consistent on the web. As such, it will be your responsibility to make sure that your NAP information consisting of name, address, and phone number are correctly used when site details are submitted.
Thus, you will have to search for variations on regular basis and take steps to remove all duplicates as well as update inconsistent citations.
However, it is worth mentioning here that Google as well as other search engines are smart enough to analyze minor variations and normalize data about a business. Slight variations will not harm the rankings unless NAP information is for another business or not longer in service.
Process of Building Local Citation
There are certain steps that you will have to take while building local citation. Let us explore the details here.
- Correct Email Address: When creating a business listing use your business email address.
- Provided Consistent NAP: Ensure that name, address, and phone number information is used consistently across all sites.
- Correct Category: Select the right category while submitting your site which best describes your business.
- Add Other Details: Apart from NAP, add all the details such as website URL, company logo, photos, complete business description, operating hours, and links to social media accounts for your business.
- Claim Listing: Verify and claim your listing, either through email or phone verification. Verification will mean that you are the right owner of the listing.
Citations are created whether you actively create them or not but it’s important to keep citations updated if your business changes things like phone numbers, website address or physical address if the business moves its location. Being proactive is certainly the best bet as they can take years to grow/correct themselves. The listing sites or directory sites are constantly building their database of business and will find your business eventually if it’s listed on prominent sites like Google My Business, etc. There are also business database aggregators that keep a list of businesses which the listing sites feed off to add more businesses to their sites.
Eco Web Design provides a full range of listing services including building and cleanup. Contact us today to get started ranking higher in search engine results.