Do you know 62% of consumers will disregard a business if they can’t find it online?
That means over two-thirds of your potential customers won’t convert if they can’t find your business information online.
That’s what many businesses are losing by ignoring the power of local citations!
Citations may hold less weight than they used to, but they still contribute to SERPs. This article will discuss local citations, why they matter for local SEO, and how to get them.
What is a Local Citation?
Most SEO experts define local citations as mentions of your business information on third-party sites, especially its name, address, and phone number. Simply put, they are listings of your business information on the internet. Local citations typically appear in online business directories, review websites, social media platforms, and other online platforms where business information is listed. These citations help search engines like Google validate and verify your business’s location data’s existence, legitimacy, and consistency.
Why Citations Matter for Local SEO
1. It Creates Local Buzz and Discoverability
Research reveals that 46% of all Google searches are for local businesses or services. With more than 3.5 billion searches being received by Google daily, that’s a whopping 1.6 billion of them that include local intent. Undoubtedly, it’s easy for a small business to be lost in the crowd!
Even though 97% of users searched online to find a local business, with 54% searching once a month and 12% every day, your business can still be invisible like air in search engine result pages.
We needed to show you these stats to know what you are missing if you still ignore crucial local SEO ranking factors like local citations.
Listing your business information on online business directories, social media platforms, review websites, and more (we will expand on how to get local citations later in the article) places your site in the limelight. In other words, it increases your business discoverability beyond bespoke billboards or the best mobile billboard in the United States.
For example, “near me” searches have increased by over 200% in the last two years. But the dividend of this increase is only available to local businesses that have claimed their Google Business Profile.
Also, there was a 61% increase in calls from Google Business Profiles in 2020, and an average Google Business Profile receives 33 clicks per month.
In fact, 64% of consumers use Google Business Profile to find contact details of local businesses.
If you aren’t there, how do you want to be noticeable?
2. It Establishes Trust with Potential Customers
“Think of local citations as mini-testimonials. They are a way to tell your website visitor that the information you’re claiming is actually true. If you want to be a part of your business community for the long term, then you need those citations to build trust,” says Cynthia Davies, Founder of Cindy’s New Mexico LLC
Gitnux analysis reveals that businesses with Google Business Profiles are 94% more likely to be viewed as reputable. That means businesses whose information is mentioned on the internet, especially on reputable directories, reap the reward of increased trust and credibility.
More so, 96% of consumers access a business’s Google Business Profile within the past week before purchasing.
3. It Validates Your Business Before Search Engines
“Local citations act as a verification method for search engines to provide that your business is where you say it is and that it is a genuine business operating within a specific area.
This is crucial for local SEO, as search engines must understand your location to relate this to where to ‘place’ your site with local competitors.” Paul Maher, Head of Content of Fourth Day.
4. Online Directories and Review Sites Have Real Estate on SERPs
Online directories often have a high domain authority and are trusted sources of information for search engines. When a business is listed on prominent directories like Yelp and Google Business Profile, it benefits from the authority and reputation of these platforms. Search engines consider these directories reliable local information sources and rank them high on result pages.
For instance, individual plumbing services in Yelp’s list might be unable to outrank the #2, #3 or $4 position on SERPs for the keyword “plumber washington dc.” But claiming a listing on the directory gave them leverage beyond their individual capacity.
Research shows that the #1 result on SERPs has an average CTR of 27.6%. And you know it’s easy for these directory listings and reviews sites to rank #1 on Google search results. Also, an average Google Business Profile receives 33 clicks per month.
Having your business information on all online directories and review sites gives your business visibility and suppresses the effort of trying to have real estate on SERPs.
5. It Increases Traffic and Conversions
You have built trust with your prospects and search engines and your business is easily discoverable and visible.
Increased traffic and conversions!
Caleb Rule of Rule Marketing Group shares a case study on how his company increased YAMS organic traffic and conversion by optimizing relevant local citations.
“With a music store, Young America Music Schools (https://youngamericamusic.com/) wasn’t being found much by potential customers. Their on-site SEO wasn’t strong, but they were also buried in Google Maps if you searched for a music store … even though there weren’t many to compete with locally.
We first upgraded the website and cleaned up the on-site SEO. Then, we focused on claiming and updating information in multiple places such as Yelp, YP.com, Bing, and more. It was amazing how this local business that’d been around for a while had either significantly wrong information floating out there or wasn’t listed.
Nobody can assume they’ll be found!
Soon, Google My Business began driving 50% of the traffic to the site and 67% of the conversions – we know this because of utm parameters placed in the links within the GMB listing to help us break out that traffic vs. other organic traffic within Google Analytics.”
How to Get Citations to Boost Your Local Search Visibility
Let’s start with this important note from Robert Bentz, CEO of Purplegator.
“It’s one thing to get a listing, but it’s far better to get listed on sites that real people visit, where they are likelier to click over to your site.”
1. Claim and Optimize Your Google Business Profile
With a Google Business Profile, you can manage how your business information appears on Google’s result pages.
According to Google Business Profile Help, with a Business Profile, you can:
Maintain accurate information about your business online
- Tell Google your hours, website, phone number and location (a street address, service area or place marker, depending on your business).
- Use Google Maps and Search to stay up-to-date with your online presence wherever you are.
Interact with customers
- Post photos of your business and its products and services.
- Collect and respond to reviews from customers.
Attract new customers
- Improve how your business appears online so that new customers can find you.
- Point customers to your website.
To claim your Google Business Profile, visit the Google Business Profile website and input your business information correctly. Then proceed with the verification process to make sure your business is eligible to show up on Google.
2. Leverage Other Local Directories and Niche-Specific Sites
Platforms like Yelp, Yellow Pages, Bing Places for Business, and more are good sites to provide your business information.
For instance, businesses can provide their name, address, phone number, photos, videos, website URL, work hours, and more on Yelp.
Aside from creating a citation for your business and a potential increase in traffic, you can boost your site’s link profile via some of these sites that allow do-follow links to be created.
Also, you will want to submit your business information to directories in your niche.
For instance, your business information should be on TripAdvisor if you own a restaurant, travel agency, or hotel. Also, your business information should be on Angi if you are a home improvement contractor.
Most importantly, your business information should be on the local Chamber of Commerce or other local association websites.
You can also participate in local events and sponsorships or collaborate with local influencers, bloggers, or news platforms to have your business mentioned and linked.
3. Build an Active Presence on Social Media Platforms
Create a business page on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest. You can also set up a business account on Twitter by converting it to a professional account. A professional Twitter account provides access to advanced profile features that allows you to provide more information about your business. NOTE: Ensure you have the same business information on all your social media platforms.
4. Use Data Aggregators
Many online business directories rely on owners submitting their NAP directly to the website to be listed. Site owners and marketers need more time to submit their company’s NAP to thousands of websites. Fortunately, data aggregators offer a straightforward solution to this problem.
Data aggregators gather data, including business NAPs, and distribute it to numerous websites, saving you time and effort.
From sources across the web, the top eight most reliable data aggregators are Alteryx, Localeze, Factual Inc, Foursquare, IBM, Infogroup, Databricks, and Cloudera.
5. Leverage Journalist Request Platforms
Journalist request platforms are sites that bring writers/journalists and industry experts together.
A journalist submits the topic and description of the information required while the platform algorithm publishes to individuals registered as sources. However, it is expedient that a writer provides the source’s information (possibly with the business information) whose quote was used in the article with a link to the source’s site.
You can leverage several platforms like HARO, Qwoted, Helpab2bwriter, and more.
Local Citations Mistakes Made Too Often
1. Inconsistent NAP Across the Citations
The slightest variation in address or phone number can confuse search engines and reduce credibility.
This mistake happens mostly because many business owners assign tasks to different people.
Robert Bentz, CEO at Purplegator, shares a similar experience with one of his clients:
“One of our restaurant clients in Iowa had inconsistent NAP across their citations. We had to diligently work with our reps to delete the old, incorrect listings. Moreover, because different people did them, there were differing NAP!
We set them up with our local citations provider and immediately saw an increase of 15 spots for a vital keyword, “catering Des Moines.” This resulted in an average of 8.33 new catering jobs per month over the next quarter than the previous quarter. That translates to an additional $3332 in sales per month!”
2. Not Using Industry-Specific Directories
Most business owners are distracted with the euphoria of Google Business Profile and ignore relevant niche-specific directories.
No matter how insignificant those niche-specific directories might be, they are where your specific audience resides. Aside from creating a citation, industry-specific directories are potential sales points.
3. Incomplete Listings
Recent analysis shows that complete listings are 7x more likely to get clicks than those left unfinished.
Provide the complete details of your business on online directories. Most online directories even give room to upload your business photo, videos and other media.
4. Not Updating Your NAP Information
Most people expect their Google Business Profile to update their address as they move to a new location.
That’s a dream that can never come true.
Update your online listings consistently as soon as there are changes.
5. Failing to Add a Working Hyperlink
“Failing to add a working hyperlink to every listing is a common mistake businesses make regarding local citations. You miss out on valuable referral traffic when you don’t include the link to your website as part of the listing. Also, you fail to take advantage of the valuable ‘link juice’ that comes with a reputable online directory linking to your business. Whenever a high-domain site links to yours, some authority is passed along to your website, compelling Google to perceive your site as reputable and authoritative. As a result, you can rank higher on local search results.
Ensure that each citation you send into online directories contains a working link to your homepage. This way, leads can directly access your website, and the business gets the much-needed authority juice.” Lida Richards, CEO of Candida Diet.
What’s Next After Getting Local Citations?
Local rank tracking!
This SEO practice helps you monitor your site’s local search ranking and evaluate your local search performance.
You can do this by manually entering your keywords into Google’s search box and scrolling through the result pages to find your site. However, you can take the burden off you and get more accurate results using software that easily tracks your geo-location keywords and provides your local SERP performance in real time. This tool is Keyword.com!
Keyword.com is a local keyword rank tracker that helps track local SERP rankings with no Google Business Profile sync required. This tool provides who is competing for your local keywords and how to outrank them.
More so, its filter makes it easy to track keywords based on country, state, city or zip code. Interestingly, you fly over the hurdle of duplicate effort by sharing live local keyword ranking reports with your client or team members via a link.
Try your 14-day free trial to see your performance on SERPs street by street.
Frequently Asked Questions on Local Citations
1. Are Online Review Platforms Local Citations?
Online review platforms like Yelp, Google Reviews, TripAdvisor, and others create local citations. They include the business’s name, address, phone number, and other relevant information, which search engines consider when assessing its regional presence and credibility.
2. Can Local Citations Improve Search Engine Rankings?
Consistent and accurate local citations can positively impact your business’s search engine rankings. Search engines use these citations to validate and verify your business’s information, and having a strong presence across multiple platforms can improve your visibility in local search results.
3. How Do I Manage My Local Citations?
To manage your local citations, regularly monitor and update your business information on online directories and review platforms. Ensure consistency across platforms, promptly address any inaccuracies or outdated information, and encourage customers to leave positive reviews to enhance your online reputation.