In our last article in the local SEO 101 series; Setting up a Google Business Page we explained how to set up your Google My Business page. Now we will share with you some helpful tips to help boost your online presence and where you rank in local searches.
How citations affect you
Because Google wants to provide its users with the most accurate, high-quality information available, it searches for listings that have the most consistent presence on the web (which is one of Googles organic search ranking factors). One of the biggest considerations is citations such as listings and reviews from various trusted sources, the most valuable being your Google My Business listing.
Business citations can be any mention of your business across the web. But what impact they have on your local SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)? Consistent, accurate information across the internet boosts your search engine rankings as it shows that the source is trustworthy, as well as creating a user-friendly experience. If the information is varied across different platforms, then the search engines cannot be sure of what information to trust and as a consequence, may not show your business information at all.
Consistency is everything
Let’s say that you own a t-shirt printing business and your Name, Address and Phone Number (NAP) and all your other vital information is consistent across the internet – Google, Facebook, Yelp etc. This coupled with the accurate information on your website also shows search engines that the information about your business across the various platforms can be trusted and will yield more accurate results.
Your competitor, on the other hand, has moved premises in the last year or so and has a new telephone number, but they’ve only updated this information on their social media pages but neglected to audit the rest of their online presence. This means that the search engines are less likely to trust the information due to its inconsistencies.
Geo and Industry-specific platforms
Depending on what industry you are in and the physical location of your business, there may be specific sites where you can obtain a listing for your business giving you additional opportunities to build more high-value structured citations.
A good example would be hotels and other hospitality industry companies can get listed on TripAdviser.com which is an extremely popular website that consumers often consult before making a purchase.
Some of these citations will be free, while others may require a payment. A good rule of thumb to follow is to only pay for a citation if you will be more likely to receive sufficient traffic or transactions to justify the expense.
An unstructured citation is one that appears on a website or app that isn’t specifically structured for the publication of local business listings. For example, a mention in a news article or blog post, or on social media platforms. These all act as a reference to your business in the same way as a structured citation.
You can also build unstructured citations by getting featured on blogs, submitting editorials to local newspapers or engaging in social media campaigns. You can also gain voluntary mentions of your business just by publishing great content, being a trustworthy source of information or just by being a popular business.
Once a local business has built its core citations, its geo/industry citations and its Google My business listing, it is rarely worth continuing to build endless citations on low-quality directories. Instead, focus on trying to gain new unstructured citations from noteworthy sources as they can introduce your business to a whole new audience bringing new traffic and transactions. In more competitive markets, valuable unstructured citations, such as a mention in a popular blog post can be a huge difference-maker.
This is the most authoritative source of information about your business on the internet, so it is vital to make sure that your NAP is formatted and spelt consistently and accurately anywhere it appears on your website.
Make sure that references deep within your site aren’t overlooked either. The same also applies to your header and footer. If at any point your business data changes, audit your whole website to correct all references first before making editorials to other citations across the internet.
Why is all this so important?
Citations serve to not only make sure that your business information is accurately displayed on the platforms that your consumer base is using, but it also ensures that search engines, such as Google, can find a broad, accurate representation of your business across the internet on reputable platforms. This will increase the chances of your business ranking highly in the local search results for the most relevant terms.
The most important goal when building citations are to make sure that your consumers and search engines are being properly informed with your business information when it is published anywhere on the web. If Google’s main priority is to make sure that users are receiving the most accurate, high-quality information then it is up to you to make sure that you’re providing the best information possible if you want to rank highly in local searches.
Find out how Ascensor can help with your local SEO today!