In the world of SEO, a citation is a reference to your business on another website. These references can be in the form of a link, a mention of your business name, or even just your address and phone number. While citations may seem like a small thing, they can actually have a big impact on your search engine ranking. They are the proof that your business is what and where it claims to be.
Here's why: When Google and other search engines crawl the web, they look for websites that mention your business. The more websites that mention your business, the more likely Google is to believe that your business is important and relevant. This can lead to a higher ranking in search results, which means more people will see your business when they're searching for products or services like yours.
So how can you get more citations?
There are a few things you can do:
- Claim your business listing on GoogleMyBusiness. This is a free service that allows you to create a profile for your business that will appear in Google Maps and search results. You must have a physical address for your listing — we'll chat about that pesky limitation in another post.
- Submit your business to local directories. There are many local directories that allow you to list your business for free. Some popular directories include Yelp, Bing Places for Business, and Yahoo! Local. It looks like Foursquare is still in the location services game, too. I'll make another post about some must-have citations and maybe even some step-by-step instructions for each. Let me know in the comments if that's something you'd like to see.
- Get listed on review sites. Review sites like Yelp and GoogleMyBusiness allow customers to leave reviews of your business. While negative reviews can hurt your ranking, positive reviews will help to improve it. Are you listed? Great! Now go collect reviews! There are good and bad ways to do this. But that's another post for another time.
- Encourage your customers to mention your business on social media (and leave reviews there, too). When customers share your business on social media, it helps to spread the word about your business and can even lead to more citations just growing organically. (You'll want to monitor this, of course! But that's another post.)
Citations are an important part of local SEO. By getting your business listed on as many reputable websites as possible, you can improve your search engine ranking and attract more customers. Not to mention the backlinks, Duke; the backlinks!
Why are Citations Important for SEO?
Citations are important for SEO because they help search engines understand not just what your business is but also where your business is and why you should be found by searchers. This is increasingly more important for mobile search as time goes on. Why? Because mobile search is quickly becoming just about the ONLY way people search.
When you have citations from multiple reputable sources, it tells Google that your business is reputable and that you care about your information being accurate. This can help you rank higher in search results, which means more people will find your business when they're searching for products or services like yours.
In addition, citations can help you build trust with potential customers. When people see that your business is listed on multiple reputable websites, they're more likely to believe that you're a legitimate business and that they can trust you with their money. This is a such an important concept that Google has made huge algorithm changes for categories of content that they deem related to "Your Money & Your Life." This is SO huge that I've even created a blog tag (#YMYL) specifically for it and I will be making a few posts about it over time.
How to Manage Your Citations
Once you have some citations for your business, it's important to keep them up-to-date. Make sure that all of your information is accurate: business/website name, physical address, phone number, hours of operation, services provided, and either a plaintext address or a backlink to your website! You should also monitor your citations for any errors or inconsistencies. If you find any problems, be sure to contact the website owner/customer service and ask them to correct the information if you cannot correct it yourself.
Managing your citations can be a lot of work, but it's worth it. By keeping your citations up-to-date, you can improve your search engine ranking and attract more customers to your business.
Citations are an important part of local SEO. By getting your business listed on as many reputable websites as possible, you can improve your search engine ranking and attract more customers. Be sure to keep your citations up-to-date and monitor them for any errors or inconsistencies. By following these tips, you can ensure that your citations are working for you and helping you to grow your business. Stay tuned for some step-by-step instructions on how to set up your local SEO business listing citations.