If you have recently set up your website for a local offline business you own, you need to know about local citations.
Google and other search engines aren’t just about bringing global traffic to your website. They do an equally good job of driving local visitors to your website and then to your store.
Read this guide completely to know about local citations to get started.
What Is A Citation?
A citation mentions your business anywhere online, including your name, address, and phone number (also known as a NAP). These are not just important for Google maps, but they drive leads to your business and give you legitimacy.
For example, the citation for a business can be:
Lvl 1, Suite 10 124 Symonds
Street, Auckland 1010
09 390 7634
When the crawlers of search engines crawl the information on your Google My Business Page, they would understand that Smegoweb is a digital marketing agency in Auckland. This will help your business show up higher in the local search listings.
We would advise you to include your website as well.
Remember NAP = name, address, phone number!
How To Find Your Citation?
On your Google My Business Page. If you haven’t set one up already, you must. This gives Google the longitude and latitude on Google maps as well as verifies you as real. Once you have set your Google My Business Page, you are married to that address, so select it carefully.
Why Are Consistent Citations So Important?
It may sound like crazy talk, but Google, Yahoo, and Bing all sat down together in the past and agreed to recognize “structured data” (or Schema). To overly-simplify it, “Schema” is fancy geek-talk for a NAP.
If you are setting up your business online for the first time or you’ve been online for a while, it is crucial to follow these steps, or you can screw up your online presence.
Consistency is The Key
Always keep every element with your citation consistent. If the name of your business is “Bob’s Accounting,” don’t refer to it “Bob’s Accountants” elsewhere. You have to remember that these are robots (spiders) crawling your pages for information. They don’t make rational decisions! To spiders, “Bob’s Accounting” and “Bob’s Accountants” are two completely different businesses!
If “Bob’s Accounting” Address is “1781 West Cliff Ave” on your Google My Business Page, use it exactly that every time it appears online. For example: Don’t deviate and use “1781 W Cliff Avenue” for the same reason we mentioned above – you will confuse the poor spiders!
Use Correct Phone Numbers
If your business is local, use a local phone number: DO NOT use 1-800 numbers! The telephone number of your business should match the area code of the city in which you operate.
This also includes tracking numbers! It’s OK to use a tracking number to track performance on a television spot or radio campaign, but don’t publish them on the web. It creates inconsistent data.
If your business moves addresses, make sure your business listings and move with it! This is where we see most new businesses fall into a quagmire. Maybe you decided to go to the DIY route, but now the usernames and passwords are scattered, missing, or (worse yet) are in the hands of an ex-employee.
This creates a potential nightmare scenario! Keep a list of all your local citations with usernames and passwords in a simple spreadsheet like this.
Do not create duplicate citations! If there’s one thing search engines hate, it’s duplicate content. If you don’t know how to access your Google My Business listing, don’t create another one. Get the one that’s there deleted or get control of the original. Duplicate listings trigger spam penalties, something you don’t want.
It may sound like some work. However, as they say in the fitness world: “No pain, no gain.” If you have to play your cards right, this is the reward: A nice juicy spot in the local “3-park” or “six-pack”! (depending on Google’s mood).
This doesn’t just apply to Google only. Your results on the other search engines are likely to be very similar. Since all the big search engines are using the same structured data — the big directories are likely to feature your business name in the local searches as well, thanks to the proper optimization!
The Power Of Unique Content
When it comes to Digital Marketing, content is king. Make sure whatever information you have put up on your Google My Business Page and your website is true and unique.
High-quality content can make your business stand out from the competition online, and it can’t be discounted in any case.
If you’ve made it this far: Congratulations! You now know the importance of consistent citations!
Keep the tips mentioned above in mind, wait for a few months, and you’ll soon see your Business name pop up in the local search listings!