If you’re wondering “what are local business citations?”, you’re not alone. As the popularity of local SEO grows and more and more local businesses fight for prestigious Google rankings, business owners need to be aware of what local business citations are and how they can help them.
Location-based mobile searches have risen considerably in recent years, with many customers Googling phrases such as “business x near me” in order to find reliable businesses in their local area. This shift towards location-based searches has given small local business a chance to compete with larger corporations, although they need to first ensure that their local business citations are in order.
What are local business citations?
Put simply, a local business citation is anywhere on the internet where your business’s NAP footprint is cited. Your NAP footprint consists of your business’s name, address, and phone number – the essential details required to track your business as an entity online. If your business doesn’t have all of this information online, then Google is likely to treat it as suspicious and rank it poorly.
Where should I put my local business citations?
Spreading your business’s consistent NAP footprint across the internet is a great way to improve your Google rankings. However, you can’t just do this anywhere; you have to do it somewhere which is relevant to your company. The easiest places to cite your business are business directories and review sites such as Yelp, TripAdvisor, and FourSquare. Social media pages are also a good place to put local business citations, and your Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ pages should all feature your business’s name, address, and phone number information.
How do citations help you?
How Google’s algorithms work remains a mystery to us mere mortals. However, it is known that Google uses local business citations in order to confirm the legitimacy of your business. It makes sense really – the more places in which your business appears on the internet, acting normally with its customers and content, the more likely it is that you’re a regular and consistent business as opposed to a fly-by-night scammer who wants to hide their information.
Your NAP footprint also allows your customers to have more trust in you; customers would rather work with a company which has a phone number and address listed on Google as opposed to a company which appears to be elusive and hiding things. Just remember to keep your NAP footprint consistent across all your citations, otherwise, Google will treat it as suspicious and penalize you in the rankings. For example, don’t list 2 different numbers on TripAdvisor and Yelp, even if they are both valid. Remain consistent and your local business citations will be effective in improving your Google rankings and enhancing your legitimacy!