I mention the phrase “citations” a lot with regard to search engine optimization. It’s important to understand what is meant by citations in the SEO world and why they are a necessity. Additionally, with so many citation sources, it’s important to know which ones are best for a specific business.
What Are Citations?
Citations refer to local business listings online. The citation references a business’s name, its physical address, phone number and additional details like hours of operation, service category, service area and a description of the business. If you’ve ever opened a Google My Business profile, you’re likely familiar with these citation characteristics.
How Are Citations Used for SEO?
A citation is vital to an SEO campaign because it’s used by Google to validate your business. Not only will Google count its own citation (Google My Business) as a citation source, the search engine also looks for additional places on the internet to verify your business information. Once Google determines you are a real and legitimate business through citations, you begin ranking better for your locally focused keywords. Without citations pointing to your Google My Business profile and website, Google won’t truly know who or what your business is.
What Are the Top Citations for SEO?
Every SEO and local digital marketer will tell you something different. This is why it’s important for you to evaluate your business and find the right set of business directories that are the most applicable to your business. For instance, if you are a Utah home inspector, it’s important for you to get listed in real estate directories and localized Utah directories. As Google crawls these sources, they will help associate your business type / category and locale.
With that said, there are a handful of key citations every business should acquire as part of their online marketing strategy:
- Google My Business
- Bing Local
- Merchant Circle
- Chamber of Commerce
- Better Business Bureau
- Judy’s Book
Not only are these sources great for a local SEO campaign, they will also drive referral traffic to your website.
Consistency Is Key
With any citation you create for your business, it’s important to be consistent and avoid duplication. This means if you’re listing a phone number on Yelp, you’ll want that exact phone number for every citation you build. And if you have 2 citations from the same source, Google will ignore both.
How To Get Started with Citations
If you’ve worked with an SEO company in the past for your business and its website, you probably have a lot of citations already. To find out where you have had citations built and where there are opportunities, we have developed a handy tool that looks through different sources on the internet. Best of all, it’s completely free to you to run a scan and understand where you might be missing listings or have duplicate listings.
To get started with our scan, head over to scan.octivdigital.com. If you run into any questions about the scan or want to know next steps if you’re missing a lot of citations, feel free to reach out to us at hello@octivdigitalcom.