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How to Get More Local SEO Citations

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For local businesses, ranking high in search engines is a must. It’s a sure way to get people who are searching for your restaurant, retail store, product or services to find you.

The growth of ‘near me’ searches shows that when people are ready to make a purchase, they don’t want to travel far. In other words, local SEO is critical if you want to reach these people.

You can take advantage of this by positioning your business at the top of search results. That’s where local SEO citations can help.

Read on to find out what a local citation is, why it matters in search results, and what you can do to use them as part of your SEO strategy

What Is a Local Citation?

First thing’s first A local citation isn’t a parking ticket or traffic citation that you get in a small town. A local citation in the digital world is where and how your business information appears online.

A local citation refers to your NAP, or in some cases, NAPW. This stands for Name, Address, Phone Number and Website URL.

That’s the most basic information there is about your business. These citations would appear in the phone book back in the day. Now, there are hundreds of sites that your NAP can appear.

Citations Help with Local SEO

Can local citations help your business rank higher in search results? Yes, they can.

Google uses over two hundred factors when determining search results. It wants to show the best results to its users and needs to make sure that the information it presents is trustworthy.

If your information is correct and accurate across a dozen sites, the more likely Google is to trust that information and display it in search results. Of course, the more sites that list your information, the better.

Another way that citations help with SEO is that they show the authority of your website and business. That doesn’t mean you’re a thought leader, but it can show that your business is popular.

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Again, the more places where your business appears, the more popular it will appear to search engines. That means a higher ranking for you.

Two Types of Local SEO Citations

When you’re digging into the world of local SEO, you’ll find that there are a few terms that overlap. That’s the case of local citations and backlinks.

There are two types of local citations. These are structured and unstructured. A structured citation is one that appears online with the NAP or NAPW structure. These are usually directories.

An unstructured citation is like a backlink to your website. This is a webpage, blog post, or online forum that has your business information in natural text.

For example, a person is online asking for a landscaping service recommendation in their area. Another person responds with “Call Smith Landscaping. They’re in Smithville and the number is 555-1234.”

The big difference between the two is that a structured citation follows a specific format that’s consistent across the site. An unstructured citation doesn’t have that structure and makes it a little challenging for search engine spiders to find.

Which type of citation is better. For the purposes of local SEO, a structured citation is better and should be your main focus. You don’t want to completely discount an unstructured citation, but you don’t want to put a lot of effort into getting them.

How to Get Local SEO Citations

You know what local SEO citations are and why they’re important. What does it take to get local SO citations? Here’s what you need to know.

Start with an Audit

You want to find out how your business appears across websites now. This is especially true if you’ve changed phone numbers or locations.

Make a note as to where your business currently appears and whether or not the information is accurate. If it’s not accurate, make sure you submit information to correct it. You can keep a running spreadsheet to keep tabs on this every few months.

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Get More Citations

Where are the best places to get local SEO citations? Start with search engines. Google My Business and Bing Places are two of the best places to have a local citation. After all, that’s where people look when they’re looking for information.

Other places are Yelp, Angie’s List, TripAdvisor, Apple Maps, MapQuest, and Foursquare. Don’t forget about social media accounts like Facebook and Twitter, too.

You can do this manually or have a local data aggregator submit your citations on your behalf. It doesn’t cost you anything to input your data into these sites manually. It will cost you about a day or two of time.

There are services that will do this work for you for a nominal fee. Some won’t charge anything while others will charge about $300 for the service.

You have to weigh the cost of your time versus the expertise that a data aggregator can bring to the table. For a lot of people, it’s worth the money to outsource this work and see results sooner rather than later.

Boost Your Local SEO with Citations

There are hundreds of factors that make up search results. Local citations are still influential in search results, and you want to make sure that you’re set up to take advantage of that.

You’ll need to audit your online presence to make sure that your name, address, and phone number are accurate in online directories and elsewhere on the web. You can then look to data aggregators and directories to make sure you have as many citations as possible.

By having your NAP appear consistently across many sites, you’ll be able to show search engines that your information is trustworthy, which will boost your search rankings.

Are you ready for more digital marketing tips? Take a look at the SEO blog to find out what else you can do to score higher search rankings.