What are Local Citations?
With an ever-growing market, how do we make our local businesses stand out from the crowd in our own backyards? There are many factors that determine your visibility on the web especially as it relates to local search. Local citations are one piece of the equation that can help to increase your web visibility at large and most especially, locally.
Citations are mentions of your business around the web; these typically include your businesses NAP (Name, Address, Phone) and in some cases a link to your website. An example of a citation is an online travel directory where your vacation rental business is listed. Citations can be procured from a variety of any national, local, international, and industry related directory platforms, as well as with local chambers of commerce, tourism boards and many other various organizations around the globe.
Consistency when using citations is key. If a guest is trying to find you on the web and comes across a citation with out of date or incorrect information, they could easily be led astray, which makes for a poor guest/potential guest experience. Additionally, the more consistent your brand name, contact information and categorization the more certain the search engines can be about the authenticity of your business. Local citations help search engines verify that your business is who it says it is!
How to check local citations?
Before auditing the internet for your web citations, identifying your businesses official company name, main local address, and phone number (NAP) is an imperative first step to this entire process. All updates and newly created citations should match this format from here on out!
The next step is to find what is out there. There are a variety of tools free and paid that will help you find and track your citations. Some even have features where you can update and purchase new citations without leaving the platform, bing bang boom! However, be wary many of these services are automated and not manually monitored, allowing for a much larger margin of error, making incorrect updates or duplicate listings. Additionally, these services can cost a fortune.
Before signing up and giving your credit card information away a good alternative if you are just starting out is to check the following directories for a listing YOURSELF! If you have a citation and the NAP is correct, YAY! If the NAP is incorrect go through the verification process to claim/verify/update the listing. If you cannot find a listing, time to create one with your newly designated NAP!
Top Directories to Ensure You Are Listed In According to Bright Local:
So, What’s Next?
After you’ve done your preliminary audit of the above directories, what’s next? Depending on what tool or service you have decide to use to monitor your citations, you’ll want to move onto procuring new citations. What should you be looking for when obtaining a new citation?
Citations from well-indexed and well-established portals such as YellowPages are a good place to start. Be sure to go after several similar local, regional and state wide directories as well. Ensuring first that you don’t already have a citation with them to avoid duplicates.
Citations are not a one and done deal. You must continually monitor them as partial and incorrect citations can show up nearly every day. Citations though they can be tedious and seem such a small part of the grand scheme they are an integral part to the success of your local business.
Have a million other things going on with your local business and need some help with citations? Contact Blizzard Internet Marketing today to find out more about what we can offer you to help you succeed in local search.