Do citations affect my business?
Search engines aim to provide users with the most relevant information on every unique search. To ensure they deliver high quality content the search engines consider a number of factors, including a consistent online presence and location being two of the most important factors.
A citation can be any mention of your business name, address and phone number for a local business across the internet. Consistency is key in citations as search engines look for consistency and accuracy of information across the internet to boost your local search engine rankings. If the information is varied across different platforms, then search engines cannot be sure of what information to trust and may impact your businesses position is search engines.
Consistency is key
Let’s say that you own a café in your local town. Having your name, address and phone number consistently presented across the internet, for example on Yell, Facebook and Google My Business is really important. This coupled with the exact information on your website also shows search engines that the information about your business across the various platforms can be trusted and will generate more accurate search results.
Accurate citations of your business name and contact details help people discover your local business, which can result in web, phone, and foot traffic, culminating in transactions. Inconsistencies in your business information online means that search engines are less likely to trust the information.
Get recognised locally
Depending on your sector and location of your business there may be industry specific sites where you can obtain business listings. These can often be more valuable citations that allow you to provide additional information about your business and services.
A great example for trade-based services such as gas engineer, building contractors and plumbers etc can get listed on checkatrade.com which is a very popular website that consumers often consult before selecting a tradesman for their specific job. The average score and rating system also help to build trust with potential new clients.
Payment may be required for some of the larger websites, but some of these citations may justify themselves in the amount of work received in response to the business listing.
It is also worth noting that local chamber of commerce websites and business associations typically offer places to get listed which are specific to the geography you serve.
Get your website exact
Your website is your online shop window, so it is essential that your business details are formatted and spelled correctly. This includes your business name, address, phone number and any other contact information. Whether it is on your contact us page, the footer or any service page, the information needs to be accurate and consistent to have the desired local SEO benefit.
If at any point you move address or change important contact details, fully audit your website to ensure that any reference to this information is amended before changing it on any other citation listing.
Increase unstructured citations
Unstructured citations are any mention of your company on a website that isn’t specifically structured as a local business listing. These citations include mentions in a media article, blog posts, editorials or on social media platforms. These all act as references to your business in the same way as a structured citation.
Once a local business has developed a strong structured citations list, it often isn’t worth building endless citations on low-quality directories. Unstructured citations from recognisable or notable sources begin to introduce your business to a new wider audience and help to increase conversions and interaction with your business.
In competitive industries, valuable unstructured citations, such as a mention in a popular media outlet can be a real game changer when it comes to local SEO.
Why are citations important?
Citations are fundamental to local businesses as search engines crawl the internet to find consistent and accurate information across trustworthy platforms. If search engines such as Google can find a broad range of information about your business this will typically increase the chances of your business rankings increasing in local search results.
The main aim of citations is to support local consumers of your services and to ensure search engines are seeing consistent information about your business. The main of any search engine is to ensure that any user receives the most accurate information in relation to their search term and location. Make sure that you’re providing consistent and accurate information about your business to give your business the best possible chance of increasing your local search engine position.