The biggest win in local SEO right now is citation building.
The concept of “local” SEO is pretty huge, but I am going to assume you are here because you want to increase your position on Google for a specific location.
Citations are almost always the first step toward that goal. It is also one of the least talked about concepts, despite being extremely effective.
What Are Citations?
Citations are mentions of your business name, address and phone number (NAP) across the web with no-follow links back to your website’s homepage.
If any of those pieces change, it can cause major problems if not updated across the board with consistent data.
Citations are ranked in Google using a secret algorithm based on the quantity, quality and uniqueness of the sources, but it is extremely difficult to find any real information about this process.
One thing that is clear though is that by simply showing up in more places online, you have greater authority.
If an address or phone number changes for whatever reason, you can fix it easily across your citations with no loss in traffic (because they were never there).
Why Are Citations Important?
Your business will rank higher when other sites link to yours without passing any Page Rank.
This happens naturally through conversations people offline and online (see example below), but citations are a fast, easy way to get your site in front of more eyeballs.
In an ideal world, Google will rank your business even for keywords you have not targeted because it knows that people looking for that term might find your business offline with a citation.
As with any SEO activity, the best results come from building links naturally, but citations can help you build a foundation quickly and easily if you haven’t been active online yet or simply need to make up some ground when it comes to search engine rankings.
Of course there is competition out there using the same tactics as you, but by taking action now and getting in front of your competition, you have a better chance at building authority across the web.
Where To Get Citations?
There are three main options when it comes to getting citations.
You can build them manually one by one, use an automated service or hire someone to do it for you.
The biggest reason for this is because most listings are not claiming their profiles online yet which means they need to be followed up with periodically until they are claimed or removed completely from search engine results.
Manual Citation Building:
If you have a smaller budget or just want to dip your toes into the citation pool, then manual building makes sense.
The biggest challenge here is finding all of the places where your business should be listed and adding it manually one by one on each site.
If done incorrectly, this can take hours or days depending on how much ground you need to cover and if some sites do not provide easy ways to add listings (Yelp for example).
In most cases though with local SEO, you won’t rank higher by simply getting listed everywhere with 100% complete profiles even without links back to your website from all of them. While this should be done, it is important to remember that having incomplete citations with no-follow links back to your site are better than not being listed at all.
Automated Citation Building:
If you have a bigger budget or just want an easy way out, then using an automated service makes sense if you know how to pick the right tool for the job.
The biggest challenge here is that there are currently many companies offering citation building services online claiming they can get your business in front of thousands of new eyes online by building thousands of citations for less money than traditional SEO firms charge for one good link from a relevant website.
While this might be true, finding a reputable choice, is a lot harder than it sounds because there are a number of companies selling their services claiming they can rank your site higher in Google by building citations with no-follow links just to get you signed up and never hear from them again once the money has been collected.
Not only does this hurt your online reputation, but you will have wasted money on something that didn’t work or perhaps works so slowly that you cannot recover what was spent on it before Penguin 2.1 kicks in.
Hire A Citation Building Company:
If you have a substantial budget or want someone else to do the work for you, then hiring a that specializes in local SEO makes sense.
For a fixed monthly fee they will build citations for your site, follow up on sites that are not working with them to claim their profiles, monitor the listings once they are built to ensure they are maintained over time and provide you with regular reports on the progress being made.
If done correctly, this can be a great way to go because you know exactly what is being done, how much it costs each month and have someone there personally dealing with making sure your local SEO campaign is run smoothly so you can focus on other aspects of your business.
What To Look For When Choosing A Citation Building Company:
While many companies promise fast in less than 30 days when hiring one to build citations for your business, the most important thing to remember is that this process takes time with most sites needing 30-60 days or more before seeing any significant results.
If you call a company after only 30-90 days, they should be able to provide reports showing all of the progress they have made building new links for your site and even give you monthly rankings updates with keyword rank tracking in Google so you can see exactly where your site is ranking online.
This way everyone knows what needs to be done each week/month depending on where your campaign stands at the moment with an established plan in place for moving forward by looking back.
SEO services usually suggest using local citation to improve your rankings since they can bring several benefits like:
- It helps expand the online footprint of a particular business.
- It ensures accuracy and authenticity for online listings.
- It makes SEO strategies more effective (by cross-linking) Google considers local sources to be more relevant than others.
- If there is less competition in an industry then it’s easier to rank high on SERPs Therefore, if you want to increase your business’ online exposure and rankings, then these are some of the best ways to do so.
Bottom Line :
The citation game has changed.
If you are not already working with an experienced local SEO firm, then I recommend that you find one instead of trying to do it yourself or hiring a company offering cheap links because these could end up hurting your site more than helping it.
Not only will this make your life easier in the long run, but it makes for better results because anyone can build high-quality citations, but only someone with years of experience doing so knows how to get them done while avoiding common mistakes that can put an online business at risk.
A local business’ website or landing page gets a new link on another site. This link has the same domain name of the target website, but its content contains different sources.
For example, if your company’s URL is www.techywebtech.com then the source may be located at http://www.techywebtech.com/about/.
The fact that Google treats these two URLs as different sites confirms this phenomenon is known as “duplicate content.”
However, despite similar contents, search engine spiders treat these two pages differently and give priority to one over another by assigning them with specific ranks (i.e., authority).
This ranking for one web page another often happens when it comes to citations.
When you search for businesses in any industry, the results are often filled with different kinds of citations to their official websites.
To help you find them easily, these sites sometimes contain information about various other sources that give reference to each business’ website; it’s also known as “local citation.”
High-quality local citation services can help your company rank high in SERPs and drive more traffic.
If you want to stand out from the crowd and increase business’ online presence.