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Similar to link building, the citations that you have built will allow web crawlers to trace their path back to you. As you develop your business website, ensuring that the information you send out is accurate and reliable should be a top priority. Once these web crawlers find your business is listed in relevant and prominent directories, they’ll be able to assess your legitimacy.
Learn how to incorporate citation building into your current SEO techniques below.
What Are Citations?
Referring to any type of “mentions” regarding your business, citations are spread out in different media. Containing basic information of your business, from its name, contact number, and address, they are usually used by other websites, directories, pages, and content creators to help netizens find their way back to you.
Whether they’re giving you a testimony, review, critic, or praise, they are obliged to include your basic information as a citation to avoid any misidentification. Search engines then utilize these citation referrals to verify the accuracy and reliability of your business. They also use this as a way to sort out their result rankings. The more people talk about you online and the more citations you get, the more popular you become.
Using this sequence of events, search engines then analyze your market influence to decide whether to put you higher on the SERPs (Search Engine Results Page). These citations don’t really have to be accompanied by positive connotations for them to boost your ranking. SEO companies from Toronto, Canada’s technological hub, often advise their clients to input their name, address, and telephone number (NAP) in as many online directories as possible.
Encouraging other web creators to feature your site will also help in building the credibility of your business citations. The wider influence you have, the higher your chances will be for search engines to consider you as a viable candidate for the first SERPs, which is the prime spot for online marketing. However, it’s important to note that in citation building, you can’t simply put up your NAPs on random websites.
Your business information should be cited in articles and content that is directly related to the products and services you offer. So, if you’re a real estate agent, being placed in a directory talking about clothes wouldn’t help. If you aren’t sure which directories you should invest in, try checking out the competition to determine where to post your NAPs.
Why It Matters?
Local SEO upgrades work best when nearby potential customers know where you are and how to contact you. However, when basic NAP info is getting mixed up due to update inconsistencies, then this would damage your business’ reputation. If you’ve changed location, number, or company name, you should constantly revamp and refresh it in various directory lists.
The key to effective citation building is information consistency. However, with so many directory lists to update, it can be quite taxing while you’re running other parts of your business. That is why SEO experts suggest hiring an office manager to serve as the public informant and verifier. From Google, Bing, Facebook, Yelp, Instagram, and more, it should not contain any conflicting information. Any minor inconsistency could lead to getting pinged and rank points deducted by search engine algorithms.
Garnering the majority of daily online visits worldwide, Google directory lists should be on top of your citation-building strategies. Among different platforms, try prioritizing the Google My Business directory. Doing so would drastically increase your search ranking as more people visit your business and leave reviews online. So, how important is citation building in Google My Business?
For starters it:
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- Places your business NAPS directly into Google Maps, giving your customers better access and directions to you. Getting pinned on Google Maps also notifies consumers regarding your services whenever they’re searching for an establishment that is nearest to them.
- Allows easy business hours modification, giving potential customers a better way to plan out their trips.
- Grants both you and the customers to upload business pictures that can help in navigation.
- Enables you to provide faster response and creative ways to serve your customers. Google My Business provides an online ordering system for restaurants and other establishments.
- Makes it easier for satisfied customers to leave their reviews and testimonies, which in turn boosts your search ranking.
Why Is It Essential for Local Search?
Online marketing despite its huge scope and greater market influence is most beneficial to your business when it entices locals to reach out to you. Nearby customers are your biggest assets, especially when you’re just starting out. You don’t have to spread the word to the next city right away just to be known. All you have to do is start building trust with the closest neighbours and organic customer visits will soon follow.
Starting local is key for any developing venture. That is why it’s important to invest and put effort into local search citations. By publishing accurate NAP info in both major and local search engines and directories, you can increase the chances of customer engagement. Reliable info acts as a signal to search engine algorithms that you are legitimate. So, when your neighbours try to look for nearby services, your business will appear right away.
Local search rankings are different from general search rankings. The former usually has an added specific location in its tags to minimize the data pool for faster and more accurate results. So, if someone is looking for home staging in Toronto, search engines will only provide the businesses that are within that area.
You can use this to your advantage by using different keywords that gradually pinpoint your actual location. So, next time, when you’re updating your address in various directories, input the most detailed location.
Why Maintain Citations?
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Maintaining connections and referrals through citations is essential for strengthening your business’ credibility. The more it gets featured and listed in major search engines and directories, the more likely the public will trust you. There’s not an official list of directories on where to maintain your citations but a good rule of thumb is to update all info found in major sites like Google, Facebook, Yelp, Foursquare, and Apple Maps.
However, the market always shifts, and the directories that prove to be the most relevant and trusted will change. For you to ensure which directory to prioritize, you can do some personal research to be updated with these trends. Constantly updating these citations is integral to boosting your business’ rank. You can also add in more information than the standard NAP. You can list down your services, branches, menu, price rates, and more!
Now that you’ve discovered the importance of good citation building, it’s time for you to know how to start it up. Before you begin, you might already think that it’s such a menial ask to manually input all your NAP data in each directory. However, the good news is, your company information automatically inputs in sites right away when you get tagged or referenced by your customers. However, not all of this posted information will be accurate.
For you to control and ensure fact-checked data, you can explore the following citation methods:
- DIY Manual Input
This method is managed by your personal team or on your own, as you manually visit listing sites and directories while inputting your standard business information. This approach can be very time-consuming but it’s the most affordable. And, since you’re the one personally entering the info, you can double-check its accuracy.
- Hired Manual Input
Still a manual operation, this approach is less time-consuming as a separate SEO company does the job for you. This is best applicable for businesses with operations that are too busy and focused on production and service.
- Aggregator Input
This method refers to hiring major search engine companies to pass on your business info on data aggregators, which allows faster distribution across different platforms. This is considered to be the most efficient and fastest way of citation building.
Adapting to these upgrades will show your customers that you are providing the best and latest services that the market can offer. You can also hire local companies that offer citation building services for a more efficient NAP data update. At the end of the day, the main goal of citation building is laying the foundation of trust between you, search engine directories, and customers.
It’s a 3-way communication line that requires you to make the first move. For the cycle to begin, you need to dole out accurate details across different directories. This will then be followed by a boost in search ranking and eventually organic customer traffic. Citation building might seem like such a simple upgrade for your local SEO strategies, but it can create rippling effects on your company image and advertising.