The Importance of Local Business Citations
As a localized business with a distinct geographic reach, your online marketing initiatives inevitably include search engine optimization (SEO) with an emphasis on “local” SEO. That is, targeting your optimization efforts to capture the market within your geographic region effectively.
Well done if this describes a key component of your business’s digital marketing strategy. But if we’re going to talk about the “local” aspect of your online marketing, we have to ask: Are you building and making effective use of local business citations?
“What’s a ‘local business citation,’” you ask, and “why are they important?”
Read on to learn more about the importance of local business citations and how they can cost-effectively enhance your company’s reputation, boost its local SEO, and improve overall visibility.
What Exactly is a “Local Business Citation”?
Receiving a citation might be considered positive or negative depending upon the context in which it’s given. If your business gets a citation summoning it to appear before the court, that would be negative, while receiving an official citation extolling its excellent work would be positive. In the context of digital marketing, though, a citation refers to any online reference that includes your business name, address, and phone number (NAP). Your company’s Google My Business (GMB) listing is the perfect example of a local business citation. And you do have a GMB listing, right?
GMB is the most significant source of “structured” local business citations, as found on Internet business directories. Other structured big names include:
- Apple Maps
- Yahoo Local
“Unstructured” local business citations refer to any NAP references that might appear online via local news mentions, reviews, event listings, blog posts, guest postings, or other content. Unlike structured citations, which are listed and categorized in an organized fashion, unstructured citations typically lack organization. While many companies focus most of their energies on building structured citations, unstructured ones certainly enhance your online reach and should not be dismissed out of hand.
How Will Local Business Citations Help My Company?
Local business citations boost your company’s visibility, especially on the local geographic level. When customers are searching for the product or service your business provides, you want them to see your NAP in search results, preferably at or near the top of these results. Absent a GMB listing, your company will not likely rank highly in Google searches—your competitors on GMB will. Speaking of search engine results, every local business citation your company has will likely provide a boost to your SEO efforts.
GMB and some of the other big names in structured local business citations also offer additional perks beyond the display of your NAP. For example, many allow you to display supplemental information on your listing, and some allow for business reviews, which can further enhance SEO efforts and expand your visibility.
How to Get Local Business Citations
If your company does not yet have any local business citations, we suggest you start by securing a GMB listing. Not only is it free and easy to do, but your GMB listing should give you an almost immediate boost in both public visibility and SEO. After you’ve set up your GMB listing, you should turn to some of the other big-name directories. These include Facebook, Yelp, and Bing, to claim free listings with them. You should also consider potential smaller, local directories offered by local business groups such as your chamber of commerce.
To determine which business-listing directories seem to draw the most attention, conduct local internet searches of your business type, services, and/or products to see which directories rank highest. Additionally, use these searches to see which directories your competitors seem to rank highest in—if they can appear near the top of a directory’s local search results, your company can, too.
As for unstructured local citations, you’ll need to be a bit more creative. Grab any potential opportunities to get your company’s NAP included on other websites. For example, if anyone wants to profile your company in an online article or blog, ask them to include NAP details. Or ask a prominent local business blogger if you can write a guest post, within which you can add your NAP. You might also be able to get your NAP posted by sponsoring a local charity or sports team. The Internet—even on the local level—is a vast platform that offers numerous pathways to introduce your company’s NAP.
Managing Your Local Business Citations
The first rule of thumb for managing your local business citations involves consistency. This means ensuring that every local citation has the same correct and complete information about NAP. Not only do you want to avoid confusing potential customers with conflicting business details, but any citation mistakes or conflicting information between different directories might confuse search engines, limiting SEO results. Maintain citation consistency by revising your listings whenever relevant changes to your business arise.
Along with consistency, you should take full advantage of what each directory allows in their business citations. Other than NAP, many directories include free and fee-based features such as:
- Website link
- Business descriptions
- Customer reviews
When taking advantage of such features, keep correctness and consistency in mind and make sure you update them as needed. Additionally, when supplementing your citation’s NAP, use SEO with relevant keywords, links, and other optimization efforts.
Enhance Your Digital Marketing Efforts with Moxxi Marketing
If you are intrigued by the potential benefits of local business citations, but just don’t have time to explore this digital marketing tool further, consult with the online marketing experts at Moxxi Marketing. We have a stellar record of developing digital marketing strategies that produce data-driven results for medical practitioners and other local business clients. To learn more, contact Moxxi Marketing today at 239.330.6236.