How Important Are Citations In Local SEO?
Online competition is fierce, even between small businesses competing for customers across a small geographic region. It’s vital, therefore, that local firms use SEO to the fullest extent possible to attract customers and win sales.
Citations are an essential ingredient in the struggle for search supremacy. Companies that have the most consistent and widespread citations tend to do better in search results and can gain far more organic traffic for their websites.
It’s important to note that citations encompass more than just your business’s name, address and telephone number. Today, search engines consider a wide variety of parameters to be citations, including things like fax numbers, reviews, owner information, the type of business you operate, your geo-coordinates, business descriptions, images, videos, opening hours, accepted payments, and slogans. Ideally, you want all of these to be consistent across the web.
Citation building makes it much easier for potential customers to find your business, and also present it as a reliable and trustworthy company. But if you’re neglecting this process, could you be hampering your local SEO potential?
What are citations?
Citations are online references to your business, particularly your brand name, address, and phone number—known collectively as your NAP. These details are important because they act as a unique marker that solidifies your identity and helps Google separate you from all the other businesses listed online. Your NAP also demonstrates your physical presence in a particular geographical area, which is required if you’re going to appear in local search results.
Generally, the more citations you have the better. For instance, a local business with lots of online mentions is more likely to rank higher than one that’s receiving little attention. Having the same NAPs across multiple locations also help to establish reliability, as this consistency effectively verifies these contact details. For example, if you’re listed by both a local blog and an online newspaper for that area, this suggests your business is part of a local community.
What’s the best way to build citations?
Best practice citation building for local SEO is about quality as much as quantity. Yes, acquiring lots of listings are good, and business websites ranking in their local top 10 have an average of 75-86 citations—but those on high-authority and relevant web pages are the ones that will have the biggest impact on your ranking. For that reason, it’s worth exploring other possible sources such as blogs, forums, and press releases, or trying to replicate some of the places your main competitors have managed to get listed.
How effective are citations in boosting local SEO?
Citations are incredibly important in gaining trust from Google, and without this trust, it’s unlikely you’ll rank particularly well. They also help boost your visibility in local search, and if Google sees that you’re getting more attention than one of your competitors, you’ll probably beat them in SERPs. They are also believed to add more value to businesses which aren’t yet appearing in Google’s local business pack. However, their wider importance has somewhat diminished in recent years, and citations are now typically considered to be a foundational tactic as opposed to the be-all and end-all of local SEO.
Improving local SEO
To really move the needle, acquiring local citations should only be a small part of a wider local SEO strategy. Other important components include localised link building, gathering online user reviews and ratings and content optimisation. It’s also a good idea to expand your keyword research strategy to encompass more location-specific terms and phrases.
This, of course, doesn’t mean neglecting the use of citations altogether. The presence and reliability they give your business make them far too important to be ignored. However, to really see a difference in your rankings, devising an all-encompassing strategy that strengthens all elements of local SEO is the best way for your website to make an impact.
Does your business need local SEO and citation support? If so, get in touch with Direct Submit today by calling 0845 2722350 or visit our Digital Marketing website and find out more about our incredible services.