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Citation Services: A Secret SEO Tool

Citation Services: A Secret SEO Tool

Written by enCOMPASS Agency

You may have heard it said that “Citation services are a secret SEO marketing tool.” In 2016 it’s true. Citation services are incredibly effective, incredibly important and incredibly overlooked. Because so few businesses even know where to begin with citation services, we recently conducted a short webinar where we let the cat out of the bag and shed some light on what citation services are—and why they are important.

We invite anyone who is interested to watch the recording of the webinar, which runs around 6 minutes long. We’ve also got a summary of the main points here.

What is a Citation?

Online marketing jargon can be dense sometimes, but citations are not at all hard to understand. Basically, anytime your business is mentioned on a third party site, that’s a citation. It could be in an online directory, a social media site, an event site, a review site—it doesn’t matter. Anywhere there is a business mention for your company, that counts as a citation.

Why are Citations Important?

As for why they matter, it all comes down to the search engines—and to Google, in particular. Google’s algorithms actually use citations to determine your company website’s standing in search results; to accurately display your business on maps, with up-to-date contact information; and ultimately just to make sure your business shows up for online searches.

There are, at present, more than 300 local directories where your company can and should have citations—and that includes the online Yellow Pages, Yelp, Twitter, and a bunch of sites you’ve probably never heard of before. In each of these sites, your company should have what’s known as NAP information—that is, your business Name, Address, and Phone number.

The key, however, is to ensure that your NAP info displays accurately and consistently in each citation. Any small variance can undermine your efforts; for example, if one listing has us listed as enCOMPASS but another one lists us as enCOMPASS Agency, that’s an inconsistency. And if you list your address as 123 Anywhere Street on one site but 123 Anywhere St. on the next, that’s also a hiccup, and in both cases it could jeopardize your attempts to improve search engine visibility.

Getting Started with Citation Services

Many companies have inconsistent, messy listings spread across different directories—meaning their citations aren’t doing them much good. This can be repaired manually, of course, but doing so would require a herculean commitment of time and effort. So what’s the solution?

The solution is to engage a citation service, which will clean up all 300+ of your directory listings for you—ensuring that your company is showing up prominently, and with accurate contact information, in online searches.

Using a citation service is something we recommend to our clients. Again, we encourage you to view our webinar to learn more, and also to contact our team directly to ask about which citation services we can recommend for your business.