Have you ever searched for a local service, restaurant, or car dealership to find that their contact number or physical address is wrong? This is so frustrating and often companies don’t even know that their details are listed wrong!
Let’s explore how effective local SEO services including quality local citation links are essential for your business.
What are citations and what are the benefits?
A local citation will be an online reference to your business in order to provide users with core information such as your name, address, and phone number. This is also known as ‘NAP’.
There are thousands of directory websites or sites which host details relating to various companies and their location.
The goal of a citation can be summed up in 4 simple points:
- To verify your business.
- Ensure the correct contact details are present and working correctly.
- Provide your audience with instant access to call you or navigate to your site.
- Have the opportunity to rank in the local map pack and local search results.
Must have citations (bare minimum):
At a minimum, you should have the following set up with accurate business information, NAP, description, and links to your website:
- Google My Business (GMB)
- Bing Maps
There are also social platforms where your business will need to be added such as Facebook, however, we will be exploring alternatives and more focused citation and listing sites.
On these websites, there are multiple categories to choose from when adding your website. These categories will include almost every possible industry type. Depending on how niche your business is, you should not have any problems adding your company industry with ease.
Not all sites are equal:
It goes without saying that not all websites are quality and beneficial. There are great websites and really bad ones.
But does it matter? This can be a grey area. When it comes to citations, some SEO’s feel that placing a companies details on as many platforms as possible is the way to go, regardless of how the site looks, how much authority it has and the quality of content on the site.
Use your discretion. I prefer the quality VS quantity approach, especially with pure link building. With citations, however, it may be good to have a good mix between quality and quantity.
Do you need to build citations for local SEO?
Traditional SEO focuses on a broader scale of requirements and tactics. However, dependant on the business, it is essential to implement dedicated local SEO services. It is better to have the most holistic SEO campaign as possible which can be filtered down or added to depending on the results of your efforts.
If a company operates in multiple locations, for example, we offer search engine optimisation in London, High Wycombe, Leeds Manchester, Reading (more). Therefore, it makes sense that we have online references (citations) to our business in those specific areas.
If you are targeting multiple areas, whether global or local, be sure to take full advantage of all available local SEO tactics, as long as they are producing results and quality traffic.
In an article on local citation software by an industry-leading local SEO citation building and SEO company called Loganix, they outline a list of essential tools and software to use when creating and managing your citations. Check it out here.
Top three local citation tools:
The following tools are created to help you manage your local citations as easily as possible. To save hundred of hours, citation tools will automatically set up and create relevant citations based on the information you provide when setting up the campaigns. Be sure all of your details are correct!
1 – YEXT
Yext are an extremely popular local SEO management tool which help you manage every aspect of your local optimisation efforts. Their tool call ‘Yext Listings’ is effective, easy to use and very powerful for all your local citation needs.
An easy process:
Simply select your target location, industry, and contact details. Include relevant information about your business, add the relevant links and contact numbers and you are ready to go. Once Yext shows you all of the results, you can manually check them to ensure they are good quality (suggested) and you can also contact them regarding their local citation management services.
2 – Review Trackers (positive reviews are crucial)
Did you know that roughly 72% of customers will not engage with you until they have read reviews and user comments about your brand? A further 15% of online users do not trust a website or company which do not have reviews.
To illustrate the power of reputation and positive reviews, a study shows that the best-selling products online will have a review rating of between 4.2 and 4/7 out of 5. Roughly 90% of online users will need under 10 reviews to make up their mind about a product, service, or company. This forces companies to ensure the best possible service to their customers, high quality of their products and accountability.
To illustrate how perception is everything, let’s explore a tricky industry which generally has a Bad reputation – used car dealerships. I found a local car dealer in London and by typing their brand name, the following appears in Google search:
his car dealer is promoting trust and a good reputation. Out of 234 Google reviews, they have an overall rating of 4.6/5 as well as 121 votes on Facebook.
This goes a long way in promoting authentication and reliability.
In the used car industry, people can be sceptical from the get-go and it is essential to convince them that your business stands out from the rest and not fall into the box of ‘dodgy’ car dealers.
Even on an expensive purchase, positive reviews in the form of visually appealing gold starts goes a long way to grabbing the sale.
The image on the right is the first element you will see in Google when searching for ‘dyson vacuum cleaner’,
3 – Bright Local
Another provider of local citation tools and software, Bright Local take it a step further with a full suite local SEO platform with capabilities further than just citations. I have also found that they offer niche citations sources which is extremely helpful if your offering is very targeted and focused on uncommon areas.
You also have full access to data aggregators which will then send your company information across a wide range of platforms. I would definitely suggest Bright Local for a comprehensive offering for your efforts.
Search engines consider the type of information and mentions of your brand from a wide variety of sources on the web. They understand sentiment too, therefore too many bad comments and reviews will hurt you.
It makes sense to have your business listed in a wide variety of trusted online sources and directories so that Google can verify that you do exist and that your brand is trusted. If your site is listed on a platform with outdated information or incorrect details, Google will be unable to verify it.
Be sure that your details and reputation are of the highest quality and accuracy in order to found and perceived in the best way possible for both users and search engines.
Down to what matters:
Do you build local citations purely for Google? Yes and no. The ultimate goal is also to get relevant traffic from the citations. This is where quality VS quantity come into play.
If a source of your citation is low quality, you will not get any traffic as the source of your information looks bad. Perception is everything.
How do you track the performance of your citations?
Apart from the readily available tools from Google, such as Google analytics (check referral traffic and engagement metrics from citation sites), there are many local SEO reporting tools.
If you are building citations for a client or your company, be ready to show the results of your efforts in a positive and relevant manner for company owners and stakeholders. You need to make a business case for the time and investment involved in building citations.
In my experience, citations can often break or get removed for some reason. This is not always the case but how do you know if a link is broken or if a citation is missing? There are dedicated tools for this, just as there are specific tools which help you monitor every other aspect of your SEO work.
Two tools which are popular for this are Screaming Frog (amazing tool) as well as Little Warding.
It is suggested to get serious about your tracking with focused parameters and URM tracking. This way, you will have no doubt as to where the traffic came from and how well the citation is working.
You can use one of the many UTM tracking builder tools, such as Google’s campaign URL builder.
Go ahead and add the relevant fields and produce the tracking code. You can then add the exact parameters and campaign source directly into analytics and find it easily.
Think of local citations as a way to show authenticity and trustworthiness. It is also good practice to be visual and present on as many relevant platforms as possible. Do all you can to ensure the best reviews, contact details and information about your business on quality citation sources and sites.