A citation is an online reference which refers to your business’s name, address & phone number commonly known in the SEO world as (NAP). Like inbound links to your website, Google have started to use citations to evaluate the online authority of your business. Unlike links, citations don’t need to be linked to your business’s website in order for Google to credit you for them. So having you NAP listed in plain text on the likes of a free listing on SCOOT is just fine.
What we call a partial citation is one which includes only part of your NAP; this could be maybe your name, contact number, or name & address. This is better than nothing at all but it isn’t as beneficial as a full citation. A full citation should include your full business’s NAP, it doesn’t matter how it’s listed horizontally or vertically but it “IS” important to be consistent. For your citation to help your business’s local SEO it’s important that it matches the exact details on your website and Google+ Local Business page. What format you decide to use is irrelevant but what is important is that you pick one format and stick with that. Your NAP needs to be 100% consistent in the name, (abbreviations? Plc?), address (suite number? floor?), and phone number (+44? spaces or no spaces?) used when building citations.
Along with inbound links and reviews, citations are one of the primary ranking factors that Google are now using when deciding on which order to rank business’s in their local search engine results. To the giant that is Google, it’s logical that a business that’s mentioned lots online deserves a higher ranking priority that those that are hardly mentioned at all, especially if those are relevant in terms of location and topic.
Google also uses citation quality to verify the accuracy of the contact details in their local business listings, as listing addresses or phone numbers which are out of date, incorrect or falsified data looks bad on them and the quality of their search results. If exactly the same NAP is listed on 50+ different websites then it’s highly likely that all submitted data is correct and thus Google can feel confident in showing your business NAP to its searchers.
Another reasons that citations are important is that, as well as helping to improve your business’s ranking in local searches, they help to increase your business’s brand awareness and provide more ways for people to find you online. The more places a business’s NAP is listed, the greater likelihood of people seeing it, and the more people that see it increases the odds that people will contact you.
It’s become a common misconception that the only place to get citations is from directories- this isn’t true, directories provide a great way to get citations but you could expand to looking into blogs, forums, social media sites, etc. So no need to restrict yourself to just using directories as your only citation source.
Start of with the directories as they’re easy although somewhat time consuming. but we can defiantly recommend.
Listing your business in directories is a good start, but one shouldn’t stop there. You should weed out all the sites your competitors have citations on and try to replicate them. You can find your competitors’ citations by searching on Google for a competitor’s name & their postcode, or we have a premium SEO tool that can do that for you and will notify us when a competitor has built new citations.
We hope our article on Local SEO Citations has helped to point you in the right direction, it can be a long journey and time consuming for many business’s so if we can be of any assistance and help you further then please don’t hesitate to contact us. Either call 0161 327 2131 or drop us an email about Local SEO.