Whether you’ve only recently started considering your own business endeavor, or you’ve been running a small company for some time now, chances are that you’ll have heard of a few crucial terms, such as SEO and “web citations.
Regardless of what you might automatically assume, a citation isn’t a bad thing. It is not like getting a speeding ticket but rather it’s a way of improving your brand image. This gives your website and your company, the attention they deserve. Citations can be defined as those instances wherein your business name, address, phone number, or brand are referred to on another webpage.
You don’t have to be blessed with a back link from the website that refers to you for it to count as an official citation. For instance, a common example of a local business citation might be an online directory where the name of your company is listed, although there’s no link to your online presence. Similarly, citations can be located on pages for your local chamber of commerce, or on an association page including your company information. The possibilities are actually endless.
The following are just some of the things that a citation may, or may not include:
- The company name and nothing else
- The phone number and name of the company
- The phone number, address, and name of the company
- The phone number, address, name of the company, and link to website
Why Are Local Business Citations Important?
You may already know that having a good search engine ranking is important. But when you have a small local business, you may benefit more from improving your local rank, than your ranking worldwide. Citations are a key factor for local search rankings, and the more you get, the more you can establish yourself as a reputable company within your niche. More often than not, a company with a large number of citations will rank much higher than businesses with fewer citations.
However, it’s important to remember that although citations can be useful, not all citations are created equal. There is a significant amount of variation between the values of different citations presented by different websites.
For example, if you manage to get a mention of your business address, name, and phone-number on a highly-reputable website that is well-known within your industry, you’ll benefit much more than you would from plastering your company name over spammy websites created for little more than link-building.
Building a reliable number of citations can be particularly important to businesses running in niches that are generally less competitive, such as electrical or plumbing companies. Within these niches, a lot of service providers in local areas still don’t have websites for themselves, which means that search engines don’t have to go through as much information. However, because of this, search engines must rely heavily on the information that they find through citations.
What Are Structured and Unstructured Citations?
Structured citations are the most common forms of citation that you are likely to find. These are frequently included on various listing sites for businesses. On the other hand, unstructured citations are the mentions to your website, business, address, or phone number that are found in online articles, blogs, event listings, government sites and job websites. Both types can be very beneficial to your local rankings, but unstructured citations are often better for building your reliability as a company.
Citations that are found within well-indexed online portals, and well-established directories can help to improve the understanding that a search engine has about your business, so that they can better categorize your website, and your company. If all of the information listed about you on various different directories across the web all show the exact same information, then search engines will have an easier time recognizing your contact information and ranking your company. In simple terms, structured citations help search engines to confirm that the business owners trying to rank in their results are actually who they say they are.
Where Can You Get local Citations?
Today, the convenience of the internet has ensured that there are thousands of places wherein you might be able to get a citation for your business. If you’re looking for a good list to begin with, click here.
Every local business should recognize the importance of building a strong collection of citations when it comes to building their visibility, and enhancing the level of trust that they inspire in search engines and consumers alike. Authoritative, and high-quality citations are often regarded by experts to be the most important ranking factor in competitive local markets for search engines.