Local results today are becoming increasingly prominent.
4/5th of the customers use search engines to find their products or services in their near them, reports Google
Also, a study reported that 78% of local mobile searches and 61% of local desktop searches lead to offline sales.
Local SEO aims at increasing your brand’s visibility across the local landscape so that your business turns up in the search results for the relevant local queries.
One of the easiest ways to get started with Local SEO is by working on your citation profile.
In order to get to your potential customers, you need to get your name out there and provide accurate and consistent information. Local citations are a great way to advertise your business (The best part? It’s Free!)
Citations are simply mentions of your business on websites across the web, irrespective of whether they are linked to you or not. They include your business information like your business name, address, phone number, category, email ID, website, directions and so on.
Just like links in traditional SEO, Google uses citations to judge the authority of local businesses. But unlike links, citations do not need to be linked to your website. Just plain mentions would work fine.
Importance of Citations
- Citations account for 25% of the local ranking factors – other factors remaining constant, a business with a higher number of citations will be ranked higher.
- They increase the online visibility of your local business – they increase the chances of your potential customers finding your business.
- Citations from authoritative websites increase the authenticity and authority of your website in the eyes of search engines. This improves your search engine rankings.
- Citations are very important for less competitive niches (for example, plumbing) where business owners do not have their own website.
Having talked about the importance, let’s get started with the tricks which can help you with your citations
How to Improve Local Citations?
Get listed on websites which have a good PR
These websites are basically those which have a high PageRank, Alexa rank, backlink count and domain authority.
While mainly people still go to Google for their local queries, a large portion of people prefer using these directories or websites. They drive a lot of traffic and also, perform well on organic results.
Getting links or mentions from these sites increases the authenticity and credibility of your business (in terms of your contact information and categorization) in the eyes of Google.
Here are the top-100 High PR sites where you should definitely build your citations.
Get listed on all those websites where your competitor is listed
An easy way to improve your local rankings is to get yourself listed in all those local directories where your competitors are listed.
I’m going to tell you a few quick steps which can help you with this job:
- Come up with all the keywords that you want to rank for and do a local search for each of them (For example, ice-cream parlor in New Orleans, designer A-cut wedding dresses Chicago).
- Scrape the results (websites) from each of these keywords and document them in an excel sheet. (separate columns for “competitor”, “URL”, “NAP”)
- Search for your competitor’s site along with his NAP details (site: name+address+phone number) and set your Google search results to 100.
- Throw all the NAP URLs in a different excel sheet.
Here is a list of directories where you should get your business listed.
This can be a tedious and lengthy process, so I would recommend using automated citation finder tools which would handpick every site where you should have your mentions. With Local RankWatch, your task can get easier!
Make sure your Business details are Consistent
This business information is basically your business identity and is the primary source through which your customers can connect with you. You need to make sure that you have correct and consistent citations across the local landscape.
If your business has moved to a different location over the years or has changed its phone number, there is a great chance that you might have conflicting NAP details.
Multiple inaccurate listings can hamper Google’s trust in your website. Also, you might lose a few potential customers if they fail to get in touch with you due to confusing information.
The next question is how do you rectify this?
To begin with, create an excel sheet and write your correct business details including your business name, phone number, address, hours of operation, categories, website, email id, postal code and so on.
Now do a Google search of your business name along with its NAP details and copy all the URLs in the results (citations of your business). Tally each citation word by word to ensure 100% accuracy.
Correcting your current citations so that they reflect the accurate business information is more beneficial than going around creating new listings.
Try and get Local Links
Engage in local events and try to get links from these external sources. Getting your name mentioned in the local community is equally important as getting listed on the niche directories.
Here are some ways to get you started:
- Host a local event
- Sponsor charities or any local cause
- Join local networking groups
- Join Local Chamber of Commerce
- Make a press release
- Participate in Local Job fairs
Include key information
Include photos of your business, showcasing your products, employees or your office – this gives a personalized touch. Also, you can incorporate your brand logo, storefront image or a group photo of your entire team.
Add short videos – talk about your business core values.
Integrating these elements in your citations will add more value to your business and cultivate trust amongst your audience.
Additionally, make sure you choose the right category and subcategory for your business to attract the right audience.
The objective of all your local SEO efforts is to get your business out there. Citations are the best way to achieve this. Make sure you create accurate and consistent citations, invest your time in cleaning up incorrect citations, create new listings at all the important places and win the local SEO game.
What are your thoughts? How do you go about building citations?
Please share with us in the comments below!
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