When it comes to achieving local search engine visibility, citations are a critical factor… and all too often overlooked. Indeed, if you feel like you’ve been doing everything right with regard to optimizing your website for local search queries, but you’re still not seeing the kind of results you’d like, we’d venture a guess that your underlying issue is probably a lack of proper citations.
In this post, we’ll define what online citations are, exactly; we’ll explain what makes them so important; and finally, we’ll discuss some ways for you to achieve additional citations for your business website.
What Are Citations?
The definition of a citation is pretty simple. When we talk about a citation, we’re talking about any instance in which your business’ information (including name, phone number, website address, and/or physical address) is published on a site other than your own. The most effective citations will include a link back to your site, but that’s not strictly necessary. Basically, any independent validation of your business’ core information qualifies.
Citations are important SEO ranking factors. Generally speaking, the more citations your business has, the higher your website will appear in online search queries. Of course, this is a little bit of an oversimplification, and there are a number of compounding factors to consider. For instance, getting a citation from an authoritative or high-traffic website will mean more than getting a citation from a less-impactful site.
Why Do Citations Matter?
Your business should care about citations because, well, Google cares about them. We often say that Google has a simple business goal: To provide its customers with a valuable product, e.g., to offer search engine users with relevant and substantive results. Citations are one way in which they strive toward that aim.
The logic is this: If your website has citations from a number of relevant, highly credible websites, that means a lot of trustworthy and in-the-know people have deemed your information to be useful. Thus, Google can recommend your website in full confidence that the information it contains is valid and commendable.
A website that lacks citations isn’t necessarily bad, but it is, in a sense, unproven, unverified, and unsubstantiated. Thus, it’s less likely to provide the end user with the kind of information they seek.
You’ll also understand why Google gives additional weight toward citations from highly credible and high-traffic sites; it’s additional credibility attributed to your own website and its content.
Where to Get Citations
As you pursue an effective SEO strategy for your business, it’s important to look for opportunities to gain citations for your business. Thankfully, such opportunities abound for anyone who knows where to look!
Some of the most common places to turn for citations include:
- Local indexes. Does your business have a profile set up on sites like Yelp and Foursquare? If not, then you’re overlooking some low-hanging fruit, and some key opportunities for free citations.
- Local business directories. Is there a business directory specific to your city or region? You can often find them just by Googling and get a citation simply by requesting one. Even if the directory charges a small fee, it can be well worth it in the long run.
- Local business organizations. Have you considered the local Chamber of Commerce? What about a professional organization or directory that’s specific to your industry, such as a directory of regional car dealerships, hair clinics, or whatever else?
- Local blogs and publications. If you can get your business profiled in a local blog or even the regional newspaper, that can win you some really valuable citations.
These are just a few examples of the kinds of citation opportunities that exist for your business.
Working with a Citation Service
While there are plenty of avenues for gaining online citations, doing so can sometimes be a cumbersome undertaking; it’s especially frustrating if you find that there is incomplete, out-of-date, or conflicting information in some of your online citations, which can actually impede your SEO efforts.
A professional citation service will generate clear, consistent, and accurate citations on your behalf, on websites that really matter to your overall SEO objectives. That’s something we’re proud to offer here at enCOMPASS. Our team offers a full spectrum of citation services, from verification to distribution to monitoring and support. Also note that we can help you avoid duplicate listings, which often occur for businesses with more than one location, and can derail your SEO activity.
When you trust your citation needs to enCOMPASS, you can rest assured that our team is vigilantly tracking all online mentions of your company; and, that you can reach us with questions or concerns at any time.
We’re here to chat about citations whenever you’re ready. Reach out to us at your next opportunity.
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