One of the biggest factors to get your Google Local Business Listing ranked #1 is citations.
In this article, I’ll explain why they are so important and then give you the 4 major categories of citations so you can go out and get them to improve your rankings.
What is a Citation?
If you’re not familiar with local search engine optimization (SEO), then you’re probably wondering what the heck is a citation. If you have written any research reports, then you may remember you had to “cite” your facts and resources. In local SEO, Google uses citations in a similar way.
One of the biggest problems Google faces when ranking Business Listings is how to distinguish between the real businesses and spam.
Since Business Listings are free and anyone can create an account, Google needs a way to confirm and cross reference the information in the Business Listing. Google does this by measuring citations for the business.
A citation is the exact reference of your business name, address and phone number as it is listed on multiple websites.
For example, your website should have a contact page with your name, address and phone number and this information should match exactly what is listed in your Business Listing. Therefore, your contact page is a citation because it is an exact reference of the Business Listing information and it’s listed on another website.
So as Google finds more and more citations throughout the internet, they will gain confidence the information is correct. This is why citations are so important. If Google doesn’t trust your business information, then you will not be able to rank #1.
So it’s critical to get citations for your Business Listing. If all else is equal, then Google will rank you #1 if you have the most citations because they will trust you more than your competitors. There are definitely more factors in the ranking process, but citations are huge in local SEO.
4 Major Categories of Citations
So now that you know citations are so important, let’s talk about where to get them.
There are 4 major categories of citations:
- Major Business Directories: For example Yahoo Local, Bing Local, Best of the Web Local, Yellowpages and Yelp
- Geo Specific Business Directories: For example, Long Island, NY has a directory called “Long Island Exchange” which is a directory for only long island businesses.
- Industry Specific Business Directories: For example, Avvo and Martindale-Hubbel are attorney specific business directories.
- Local Focused Social Profiles: For example, Facebook and LinkedIn allow you to enter your business name, address and phone number which will give you a citation.
As you can see there are many opportunities to get citations and in some cases it depends on your location and industry.
So the next step is to do some online research to find your specific opportunities and then submit your business information to each of the relevant directories.
To get started on your research, try searching in Google for:
- “[your industry] +directory”
- “[your city/state] +directory”
- “[your industry] [city/state] +directory”
That should get you well on your way to tracking down your citation opportunities.
If you want to learn more, then click here to watch my free presentation about, “How to Rank #1 in Google Without Hiring an SEO Company.”