Local Citations are Important for your Business

Local Citations are Important for Your Business

Let’s be honest with ourselves. Local businesses are not exactly at the top of the food chain when it comes to profit. With the rise of remote shopping through the internet and the one-stop-shop corporate giants like Walmart and Costco, there is little space for local business models to survive. It also doesn’t help that these sites and large corporations have a financial advantage. In fact, they have the resources to advertise to as many people, through any media format, as much as they want. It almost seems unfair.   Is there even a fighting chance for a local business?

The good news is that with a little creativity, know-how, and patience, there are a few ways that you can spread awareness of your business. And with little cost to you. Businesses can gain notoriety through a combination of local and digital word of mouth. And the best way to do that is to utilize local citations.

What are Local Citations?

According to Moz, “A local citation is any online mention of the name, address, and phone number for a local business. Citations can occur on local business directories, on websites and apps, and on social platforms. Citations help Internet users to discover local businesses and can also impact local search engine rankings. Local businesses can actively manage many citations to ensure data accuracy.”

So any time a phone number, business name, address, etc are on a website listing, then search engines counts that listing in Google’s favor.

For instance, if you are running an auto repair shop and someone mentions your business on a Facebook post , you are more likely going to show up on a local search for “auto repair shop”.

Are There Different Kinds of Local Citations?

There are multiple types of citations, some of which involve participation from different types of people in different formats. With a few positive interactions and time set aside for listing your business, you can get the ball rolling on getting your business prioritized in relevant Google search results.

 

  • Major Local Business Data Platform- This is the first kind of local citation that I am going to address. This is the kind of local citation that is done by the business themselves. These platforms are websites with the sole purpose of listing businesses for people who are looking for them. Examples of these include: Google My Business, Angie’s List, Yelp, Insider Pages, etc.

 

  • Geo/Industry-Specific Platforms– This is the kind of local citation that delves further into specifics. If the major local business platform like a yellow page phone book of businesses, then this platform would be the white page equivalent.  Listings for a specific business type, like medical treatment centers, or churches fall under this category. It is the same for listings under a specific location like a town site or a chamber of commerce page.  You might need third party approval if you want to make a listing on a site like this.

 

  • Social Media and the Wider Web – This local citation is the sort that cannot be a result of any business owner or financial influence. It is the result of the attention of other independent users. This sort of citation can only be a product of a customer with interest in your business. This can come in the form of blog posts, social media responses, personal reviews, and press releases. If they like or hate your business enough, word will spread on the internet.  If you want to help the process along, you can always communicate with your customers in person.

 

Ways to Make Local Citations Work for You

There are a right way and a wrong way to list your business online. After all, information, whether on the internet or in real life, needs a clear understanding between both parties sharing it. If you want a better chance at local search results for your business, follow this advice.

  • Make sure that your listings and citations are accurate.
    • If you don’t want your customers in confusion about your location or your contact information, keep your information consistent.  If you think there is any chance that there is something wrong with a listing, get it fixed.  Or, if there has been a major shift in location or contact information, get it fixed. Get everything corrected on all of your citation listings as soon as possible.

 

  • Treat your citations as case or symbol sensitive.
    • Machines that have a programming language that is rigid in structure. While a human can see a symbol as a substitute for a word, a computer will only see the symbol and read it as is.  That is why it is important to keep the local citation listings as exact as possible, so the algorithms won’t discount them on accident.
    • Example: “And”, “-“, and “&” are read and translated as different symbols by the machine, even though our brains might all reinterpret it to mean the word “and”.

 

local citations

More Local Citation Tips

 

  • Cite as much as possible in as many different places as possible.
    • There is a fine line between repetition and spamming in the Google Algorithm. All of it has to do with placement. If a listed phone number or business name has been repeated over and over in one location, chances are this will be interpreted as an unwanted repeated message or spam. Diversify where you list your information and you are much less likely to be a subject of Google penalization.

 

  • Contextualize your citations.
    • If you simply offer information without any relevance or context to the subject matter at hand, this will also be a red flag of suspicion by Google algorithms.  You don’t want someone to offer their lawn care service to interrupt a conversation between you and a friend when you tell them you are looking for a baby sitter. It comes out of nowhere and has no context or bearing on what you are looking for. The same applies to citations on Google. Don’t cite your information unless it is relevant to your service, business, or customer base.

 

If you want to read more of this sort of thing, check out our website www.purpletieguys.com.

 

By |2019-02-28T14:40:48-05:00February 28th, 2019|Post, SEO|Comments Off on Local Citations are Important for your Business

Google Penalties

Google Penalties – Prevention and Recovery

Imagine that you are setting up a new website. You worked hard on it, and you want everyone to see it as fast as possible on Google. You might have limited on time, or you might just be ignorant of the SEO process. Either way, you hear that there is a guaranteeable way for your website to be at the top of Google search results within days. At first, everything turns out great! You are at the top of the search results for keywords you want and more people notice your site! Then, you wake up one morning to find that your site is gone.  None of the results are panning out. Y What happened?

Google is a search engine site that exists primarily for the purposes of helping people find what they need when looking for something specific. It relies on a system of indexing that requires accuracy and ease of access for people who are searching for information. If a site is indexed properly, they get higher on the search result list. If a site uses tactics that appear to be “cheating” or playing the system, it will suffer Google penalties. I suppose Google giveth and Google taketh away.

seo marketing, google updatesWhat are Google Penalties?

When Google penalties are afoot, your site will be much lower on Google search results. It is sort of an ironic punishment for people who are trying to “game” the system or take short cuts. Since Google was first created there are countless ways for people to try and cheat the system. At the same time, there are multiple ways that Google penalties were enacted and developed in response to cheaters.

So, what are the ways that Google penalizes cheaters?

There are two ways that Google serves penalties: Algorithmically and Manually.

Algorithmic Penalties

An algorithm is basically a program that runs one or more tasks automatically, based on a set of pre-written instructions on the behest of the person or people who worked on the code. Google is famous for them simply because it is much faster and efficient to use when it comes to checking the integrity of related links vs human intervention. Of course, algorithms still suffer from limitations due to the hyper-specific nature of the code. An algorithm can only work within the parameters that it is given in the first place.

For instance, If an algorithm is supposed to crawl all over the internet for signs of a broken link, then it will only catch and penalize broken links, and not any other violation, like a misdirect. A few famous ones over the years include:

  • Panda: Google Panda is all about vetting content. In this scenario, it checks websites to make sure there is enough relevant content on a website. If the content is not relevant or just bad quality, they will push it down the search result list. If the content is informative and relevant, the site gets more priority on the search results list.
  • Penguin: The Penguin update focuses on the “black and white” viewpoint of policing the internet.  It was released to catch sites that were keyword and link spamming its search results, either through buying and spamming people with unrelated content.
  • Hummingbird: Hummingbird is an algorithm focusing on each word in a query. It contextualizes the definition of words and applies them to the query. This adds a level of nuance to the search engine.
  • Pidgeon: Much like it’s animal counterpart, the homing pigeon, Google’s Pidgeon algorithm focuses on filtering search results based on location.

These algorithms along with others do their jobs with impunity and impartiality.

Manual Google Penalties

Of course, machines alone can’t run Google. There needs to be a level of human oversight in case an algorithm comes across Google Penaltya function it does not understand or people are contesting with their judgment. This is where manual penalization or “manual action” comes in.

The impact a manual action has on your site can vary. It often depends on the severity of the website misconduct. Also, just a side note for those who think large corporations get away with doing said misconduct…they really don’t. Surprisingly, sites like Overstock.com, BMW.com, and even its own company Google Chrome, got penalized for behavior that didn’t seem on the up and up. No one is immune from search engine scrutiny.

There are ways for you to rectify the things that they are looking for. It all boils down to whether or not you are willing to make the changes necessary to fix it.

Google can penalize your website for :

 This would be most likely a scheme on the part of the web developer. Basically, an unnatural link is an outside link to your site that appears unrelated or just exists to artificially inflate your page ranking. If you get caught, they will penalize you for it.

This wouldn’t be the fault of the site owner. However, the measure is a precaution to prevent the spreading of possible malware and computer viruses to visitors to your site. Once you repair the website and you tell Google, they will take back the penalties.

Naturally, this is exactly what it sounds like. If you have little in the way of written content or text, you are not going to be prioritized. This is due to the fact that visitors are just likely not to stick around a page that long with little content.

This one is also self-explanatory. If you are sending unwelcome messages to people and are blocking content access behind advertisements you are harassing users, plain and simple. Just avoid this practice altogether if you want your website to not suffer a Google penalty.

 This one is more for large messaging formats like forums or comment sections. Basically, when users are trolling or are offering inane or dangerous commentary for no reason but the “Lulz”,  your website will pay the penalty for it. If you aren’t up to date on the security behind the comment section or the forums, your site will pay the consequences.

If you disguise your link that will send the user to the wrong spot on a website, then you are cloaking. Just avoid doing this altogether.

Before Google was mainstream enough to start looking into security and algorithms, people would try to cheat the system often. One of their favorite ways to do it was to spam as many keywords as possible, relevant and irrelevant. These days, the algorithm catches it. Every time. This is so old that not even twelve-year-olds try it anymore. Just don’t disguise or spam your content.

No website host is free. And if they say they are, they are obviously lying. They just surround your sites with as much ad space as possible to the point where there is too much spam. Just pay for a simple drag and drop site if you need one cheap.

If you have too much incorrect information, missing data, or broken links, the site will look like the user stopped maintaining it. If you want to be visible again, clean up the site and make sure everything leads to the right place.

www.purpletieguys.com

By |2019-02-19T16:11:41-05:00February 19th, 2019|Post|Comments Off on Google Penalties