We have all heard about search engine algorithms, but did you know; citations play an essential role in your local search engine optimization (SEO)? Citations are online references to a business featuring the business name, address, and phone number (NAP). Google’s algorithm looks for these citations to signal the legitimacy of your business. Keep reading to learn more about why local citations matter.
Citations are crucial when it comes to your search visibility. Benefits of local citations include:
• Increased local ranking
• A boost in traffic to the website (referral traffic)
• Piggybacking on business directories
• Building a large customer base
• Backlinking opportunities
• Generating awareness
Some examples of local citations include Google Business Profile, Bing Maps, Facebook, and Yelp. These citations have the potential to be listed on hundreds of different websites based on your citation category – manufacturing, healthcare, real estate, etc.
Components of a Local Citation
When building a business listing, there are a few components that can be included to verify your business’s existence. In addition to your name, address, and phone number (NAP), you may add these components:
– Company website
– Operating hours
– Business description/category
– Photos/ videos
– Social media handles (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube)
– Email address
Structured vs. Unstructured Local Citations
There are two types of local citations: structured and unstructured. Structured citations are used more frequently because of business relevancy. An example of this could be the mention of automotive services in a business directory holding details of many similar services within the geographic area. Examples of structured citation sites are Apple Maps, Bing, Facebook, Google My Business, and Yellow Pages.
Unstructured citations are used less frequently on third-party, external websites, blogs, or other digital locations with partial business information. Examples of unstructured citation sites may include community organizations like the local YMCA.
Because local citations are crucial in gaining trust from Google, NAP consistency is important. A dependable online presence will boost your visibility, thus increasing traffic to your website. Although this can be a time-consuming task, having relevant, updated information for users to review can lead to more conversions and sales.
Inconsistencies can breach trust with Google when crawlers are reviewing multiple listings. Inconsistencies may include spelling/ abbreviations or incorrect phone numbers. A NAP cleanup is crucial for your business reputation.
Want to learn more about local citations? Book a meeting today with Calgary SEO expert at CIPR Communications to discuss the importance of local citations to your SEO program. Our experts will guide you through the fundamental components of achieving local SEO success.