So, you’ve done your due diligence when it comes to SEO. You use all the right keywords, you’re building quality backlinks and you have solid domain authority. Still, you find that you’re just not attracting enough visitors.
Local SEO is a crucial part of any comprehensive online marketing strategy. Focusing on local SEO makes sure you reach your audience as efficiently as possible.
To help you with this, below we’ve put together a short guide to local citations. We will cover the definition, types, and uses of local citations and how you can set them up for your business.
What is local citation?
Simply put, a local citation is any mention of your business online. This can mean your company name, address, phone number, web address, zip code, or any combination of these.
When talking about local citations, you will often run into the term ‘NAP’. This is considered the default citation form, listing your company name, address, and phone number. Other versions include WNAP (with your website at the beginning) or NAPU (with your URL at the end).
Types of local citations
The two main types of local citations are structured and unstructured citations.
Having a structured citation means your NAP is listed in an online business directory. These are websites like Yelp, Yellowpages, or Facebook, where you can register your business and have customers find your profile and leave reviews.
These websites will require you to, at the very least, include your NAP, so the customers will be able to see your information by default. For example, this is how your business info looks on Yelp:
On the other hand, unstructured citations are mentions of your business on any other type of website. This usually means your business is mentioned on blogs or social media posts.
Even if an unstructured citation doesn’t contain a link to your website, it’s still valuable. It mentions your company and puts it in front of a potential customer. All they need now is a simple Google search.
The Benefits of local citation
There are a number of ways local citations can help put your business on the map:
Search engine rankings
There are three main factors of local citations that will influence your search engine rankings:
- The number of citations your business has
- How accurate the information is
- Where the information is posted
The more citations you can get, and the more accurate they are, the better your chances are to rank highly with search engines. Because of this, you have to avoid inconsistencies and incorrect info at all costs.
You also need to make sure your info is posted on trustworthy and highly ranked websites. We will go into more detail on how you can do this below.
Tying in with what we mentioned above, if you make sure your info is consistent and accurate across all platforms, it will be that much easier for potential customers to find you.
If your business is easy to contact, you can expect more web traffic, call and, ultimately, sales.
Local reputation and authority
No matter what business you run, most of your income will come from local customers. This means that you want to be well-known locally.
By using well-placed local citations, you make sure you stay at the forefront of your customers’ minds. This builds both your online and offline reputation and drives more business your way.
How to build local citations
We will use a twofold approach with building local citations making sure all your current citations are on the level and building new, high-quality citations.
Audit your current citations
To properly check your current citations, follow these steps:
- Search for your phone number:
this is an easy way to see how many citations contain the P part of
your NAP. Again, you want to remain consistent with your company
information, so note down any partial NAPs.
- Gather your log-in info: at
this point, you will need to collect all your social media log-in
info so you could review and possibly correct the citations there.
This may require contacting your current or former social media
- If you can, use outside help:
there are a number of companies that will charge a fee for
correcting or removing faulty citations. If you can afford it, this
can be a very efficient way of dealing with outdated citations. Even
if you simply end up deleting them, the effects will be the same as
if you fixed them.
- Track your work: if possible, use one centralized solution to track the progress you’ve made. There are several online tools that can help you with this. It’s a simple step, but it will help you avoid any mistakes or confusion.
Use local business directories
Since we’re talking about local citations, for this next step you’ll want to look at business directories and websites for local businesses.
Make sure your company is listed on local websites aimed at tourists or any local directories with enough users. This will tie your business to your location and make it easier for local customers to find it using search engines.
When it comes to larger online directories, you want to make sure that people can actually find your company info. This means you need to consider if there is enough interest with customers and if the platform will make it easy to find your business. Web traffic from organic searches can be a good indicator of success with this.
Leverage social media
Finally, you want to make sure your business has a presence on larger social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Yelp.
This will help in two ways. First, it helps get your business in front of as many people as possible. Second, it allows your customers to leave reviews. As we mentioned above, positive reviews will give your search engine rankings a significant boost.
The bottom line
Building local citations is crucial for any business that wants a strong online presence. It increases your SEO score, drives traffic and boosts sales.
Local citations are easy to build, especially if you use online tools and citation aggregators. With this in mind, you need to take full advantage of them so you could take your business to the next level.