Ever wondered if there was an official term for “getting your name out there”? Well, in the world of Local SEO, there is! It’s called “citations”, and they’re a key to monitoring how effectively your business is doing in terms of SEO. Citations are a great way to have people find out about your business and can help you rank much higher on search engines.
What exactly is a citation? Simply, it is any mention of your name, address, or phone number (your business’ NAP) that exists somewhere on the Internet. These can be in many locations on the Internet, and it’s important to properly manage citations for accuracy and quality to ensure you’re getting the most out of your SEO strategy.
Citations typically include a company’s NAP primarily, but a business citation can include any kind of media. These include videos, images, descriptions, hours of operation, taglines, or email addresses, as well as any other business related piece of info.
Where Do Citations Come Up?
Citations are very broad, and therefore, very common. You can find business citations everywhere, but there are some places where they appear more frequently than others.
The most common place to find business citations are in approved business directories and listings. The most common one of these is probably Google My Business – the platform developed by Google that uses and spreads business information on search results and other places like Google Maps.
There are also virtual places that specialize in business listings like Yelp, TripAdvisor or Angie’s List. Other places that are important are social media platforms, namely Facebook as being the most important one for virtual marketing (especially with the launch of Facebook Shops).
Those are all examples of intentional citations, meaning ones you make for yourself by uploading profiles and information. But, there are plenty of times that business citations are unintentional. These can include things like feature pieces in publications, business listings for associations or databases, blogs or even social media posts (both yours and your clients).
Why Do They Matter?
Well, citations are the core of your business information. And since they are, they impact almost every aspect of your digital marketing strategy. Citation management is an important part of every local business’ development.
Let’s start with the negative things that can happen if citation management is left untouched.
The biggest issue that could be faced is inaccurate information. Search engines are always looking for information on your business by crawling sites and information to develop the best understanding of your business. So, if your citations have misinformation, search engines and websites could provide incorrect information to potential customers.
Since search engines collect data information from all around the Internet, if inaccurate information is spread out between citations, search engines will have little confidence in your business information and will be wary to post your listing in Google search results and on SERPS.
Plus, the most obvious one is that misinformation deters potential clients. If clients are given the wrong information, it’s difficult to convert that person into a confident and consistent customer.
However, there are many positive things that can happen if you manage and even augment your citations:
With more accurate citations crawled, search engines will be more likely to be confident in your business information and help you rank higher. That’s why citations aren’t only meant to be “managed”, but grown! The more citations you have by things like blog posts or link building, the more information you provide to search engines, and in turn, the higher you’ll rank!
Plus, accurate information can convert potential buyers into satisfied customers. If people find accurate information that appeals to them, it isn’t as difficult to make them commit to your product. Plus, with more citations, there’s a higher chance that people will run into some mention of your business, and in turn, do more research or visit your website.