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”.
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.