Local Website Citations
What is a Local Website Citation?
Local website citations are basically listings or mentions of your business name and address on directory listings, articles and news stories online. Citations do not necessarily include a link to your site but it’s definitely recommended. A clear example of a citation on the internet is yellow pages, where your company or business might be only listed but not associated with.
You might have come across the phrase ‘web references’ on several sites. Basically, web references are what are popularly known as citations. Google and other major search engines consider citations as one of the decisive factors in determining your web page rankings in major search engine results pages. Similar to the manner which quality inbound links enhance your website’s ranking, so do quality citations and this especially applies to local SEO.
Why are local website citations important?
A straightforward answer to this would be higher local map ranking, especially on Google local map pack. Citations can be considered as a vote as you earn a vote, the more the number votes you earn in Google’s eyes, the higher your site will rank.
You definitely want your website in the top 3 local map pack as this will bring a ton of traffic and new customers to your business.
Citations are a vital component of the ranking algorithms used by major search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo. Companies with a high number of quality and accurate citations will certainly rank in top positions of the local map, in contrast to companies with fewer mentions it is imperative that you list your business contact information in a similar fashion all the time.
You should decide on how you want your business information to read and maintain that mode for each citation built by you. Accuracy and consistency are the two most important aspects in relation to how your business information appears. This is vital since search engines fail to identify your business contact information if there is any slight variation with the one listed on your website. Thus ensure your NAP i.e. Name, address & Phone number is the same on all citation platforms.
What are the elements of a local website citation?
The core element of a local website citation is the company’s NAP (name, address, phone number) and can also include the URL of your company’s website or a webpage dedicated to the particular location. In addition to this, citations have 14 essential components and they are:
- Embedded Maps
- Operational Hours
- Office Directions
- Office Images
- Business Videos
- Payment Methods
- Latitude & Longitude
- Review Management
- Business FAQ
- Companies social media
- Company Email ID
- Work Fax number
When creating citations try to use all the above-mentioned core elements of local website citations. This will add relevance & credibility to your citations.
How to build local website citations?
Local website citations on well-established and reputable portals help to convince the major search engines regarding the authenticity of your company’s contact information and classification. In simple terms, citations assist search engines in substantiating whether companies or businesses meet the standard sought by search engines.
Also, a high number of citations on reputed platforms also increases your relevance enabling search engines to rank you higher and Google brings lists your business in the top local map pack.
There are 2 ways to build citations, one hire a third party firm to build citations on your behalf some well-known names in the industry are WhiteSpark, Brightlocal, The Hoth & Yext.
The second way is the best way, DIY (Do It Yourself). This way you can control them and make necessary changes as and when required.
Here is a list of top local website citations you must register on:
- Apple Maps
- Facebook Business Page
Listings are especially vital in less-competitive niches such as the electrical or plumbing sector. In these kinds of niches, a lot of service providers hardly have their own business websites. With the lack of additional information, major search engines depend on any information they can stumble across via citations or mentions across the internet.
Citations also confirm that a particular business forms part of the community. As such, it is practically impossible for a business to falsify membership in a sector of trade or a town or even a county business inventory. This will impact on the business gaining coverage on a local internet daily or a leading blog.
What are the do’s & dont’s related to building citations?
Every local business looking to rank higher in local searches need to build quality citations of their business. If citations are not done the right way it can also harm the business, thus the internet marketing strategy to build citations must focus on building local website citations the right way in order to get the maximum benefit.
Let’s look at things to be avoided when building citations:
If you neglect these factors it could hamper your rankings and make it tough for your customers to find you online:
- Less number of local citations
- Incorrect/different NAP information
- Duplicate listing on various citation websites
- Negative Review Management
- No/Less number of images of all local citations
- Not updating the special business hours (Example: Business timings on Christmas)
- Building listings on low-quality local citation websites
Now the do’s of building citations:
This one is simple just reverse the don’ts and you have your do’s of citation building:
- Build high number of citations
- Ensure that the NAP listings are correct on all citation platforms
- Ensure you have no duplicate listing
- Ensure you reply back to all negative & positive reviews
- Add 5+ images to all your citation listings
- Ensure your customers know if you are open on holidays by updating business hours on every citation listing
- Always build citations on high-quality websites and avoid low-quality ones
If you ensure that these do’s & dont’s are implemented during the citation building process then you can ensure that your rankings will definitely grow however if the don’ts are too high then it can affect you in a negative way. So be careful when building listings and do it right.
Summary of Citations
Lastly, the quality and the volume of local website citations play a critical role in enhancing your local SEO. Apart from locating existing listings and amending them, you can also formulate new citation references on reputable sites in order to benefit from quality citations.
Citations help you get high rankings and makes it easier for your business to be found by your customers. The most important factor of citation is the consistency of your NAP thus if done right you can expect a regular flow of business & revenue to your business.
We also recommend reading Off-page SEO Strategies for New Website