No matter if your goal is increasing online visibility or expanding consumer base, local business SEO (search engine optimization) citations are an essential element in ensuring success. Citations mentions of your name, address and phone number on the internet help search engines verify the existence and credibility of your business; in turn they increase search results ranking for local searches – therefore making them essential in supporting local rankings on all online platforms.
Data aggregators offer one of the best strategies for building and managing citations online, making it easier for consumers to locate your business. They’re particularly beneficial to niche markets or locations like healthcare services which would benefit from having listings on sites like HealthGrades, Vitals, and RateMDs.
Though there remains some debate as to their overall effectiveness, most experts agree that citations have an impact on local search rankings. According to Moz, consistency and number of quality directories where your business appears are among Google’s five ranking factors for local searches.
Local citations can either be structured or unstructured, with structured ones including elements like your business name, address and phone number while unstructured ones might include other details about your operation, such as operating hours, pictures or services provided or even your website URL. Both forms of citation are valuable but the most essential are those appearing on authoritative domains.
Yelp is an easy and popular way for business owners to list their information and post customer reviews about their service or product. Another excellent place for local chamber of commerce membership citation is through networking opportunities with fellow business owners as well as potential clients.
Citations can also be found on social media platforms, maps (e.g. GPS systems) and articles posted to news sites or blogs. According to a BrightLocal study, 77% of consumers regularly or always read online reviews before visiting a restaurant; it is therefore imperative that your NAP information remains correct and consistent throughout the web. Correct NAP information can not only hurt your SEO, but it may also prevent consumers from finding you and negatively affecting their experience with your brand. To safeguard against this happening, regularly review and update your NAP information using services like Help A Reporter Out (HARO), which connect journalists with reliable local sources to notify you when new listings have been added to trusted local sources.