Given that 46% of Google searches are localised ones, building a strong local SEO strategy is a priority for all business owners and digital marketers. While there are many contributing factors to consider, including reviews and hyperlinks, there is one item that is commonly overlooked despite its huge influence. Business citations.
When utilised in a winning fashion, business citations can become an integral feature of the marketing strategy – not least because it’ll influence online and offline leads in one fell swoop.
Whether you’re unaware of what they are or just want to learn more about the best ways to incorporate them into your digital marketing plans, here’s all you need to know.
What Are Business Citations?
A business citation is an online reference to your company’s NAP. The NAP is a term that describes the contact details of your business and will include the name, address, and contact details. Business citations can be split into two categories:
Full citations: All three aspects (name, address, and telephone number) are included in the content.
Partial citations: Two parts (name & either address or number) will be listed within the content.
However, it is worth noting that in the modern online arena, the website details and photos relating to the business (such as shots of the premises) may be included too. Still, the details of the NAP are the focal points, and everything else is a bonus. Full citations carry far greater authority than partial citations.
Business citations are great for local SEO because unlike hyperlinks, they will count towards your visibility ranking even when the content is left as naked plain text. Moreover, the details of the NAP can be displayed vertically or horizontally and they will still count towards your SEO.
Given the key nature that’s included, citations are viewed by search engines as a particularly useful metric for confirming a company’s/website’s authority.
Where Does The Nap Data Come From?
For the business citation to have a positive impact on your local SEO ranking, the details displayed on the supporting website will need to match the EXACT details as displayed on your company website and Google My Business listing.
Therefore, it is imperative that you create your GMB listing and take the time to check that all details are accurate.
The Benefits Of Having Business Citations
Business citations can serve many purposes for your business, and the rewards aren’t limited to your local SEO strategies. When people come across accurate data relating to your company on another site that they trust, they will naturally place greater trust in your business by association. Likewise, when your details appear on site’s that share a similar audience to yours (without being direct competition) it can bring fantastic results.
As far as local SEO is concerned, local business citations can have a dramatic impact. Here are just some of the reasons why they improve your ranking.
- Business citations link up with the details of your Google My Business listing, which gives you a better chance of securing your position within the snack pack (the list of local business shown at the top of page one when users run local searches).
- Local business citations are a great way to gain links and a virtual thumbs up from some of the biggest websites in existence. This is especially true when you consider the traffic levels of the country’s most popular directory sites.
- Business citations gained in organic ways (such as through news articles) will often include keywords in the text too. This naturally boosts your local SEO when people search for terms relating to your products and services.
- Many of the sites that will provide a business citation will be closely linked to your business in either geographic terms, business services, or audience. Those relevant associations will work in your favour in terms of local SEO.
- This is one of the easiest ways to gain lots of links (or naked citations) that include the same relevant information, which can build a far clearer image of what your business does. This is something that search engines will love when ranking pages.
Essentially, then your local SEO rankings can see huge rewards on the back of gaining local business citations. While they aren’t the only key metric to consider, you should not overlook their importance for a second longer.
Where To Gain Local Business Citations
Appreciating the benefits of utilising local business citations for your advantage is one thing, but knowing how to do it is another altogether. There are several ways and places to gain them. Focus on the following and you won’t go far wrong:
It’s already been mentioned by the Google My Business listing is imperative to your local SEO strategy, particularly in terms of business citations. Make sure that it utilises all information related to the NAP along with web address, photos, and reviews.
Structured local business citations are found on search engines, local business directories, and Apps that are designed to provide users with accurate and relevant information about