Why Are Local Citations So Important
Local citations are one of the most important things you can do when it comes to local SEO. Local SEO is when you try to rank for your keyword phrases with a geographical location as part of the keyword, for example, ‘plumber Sydney or ‘electrician Subiaco’. Trying to rank for your keyword with a major city can be a lot more difficult than targeting a suburb but it isn’t impossible.
What Are Local Citations?
Local citations are listings on business directory style websites and include key information about your business such as name, phone number, address and website. This is commonly referred to as NAP – which stands for Name, Address and Phone Number, as these are the three most crucial pieces of information you need to include in your listing. In Australia, examples of local citation websites worth adding your business to include Google My Business, Start Local, Yellow Pages, True Local, Come On Aussie and Hot Frog, to name a few.
So Why Should I Care About Local Citations?
It may seem like a tedious and time-consuming job but local citations are more than just listings on generic business directory sites. Local citations are often an important ranking factor when it comes to the Google and Bing algorithms (as well as any other search engine) for local search. Granted there are over 200 different ranking signals in the Google algorithm alone but this is not one to ignore.
Each time a search is conducted by a user, the search engine looks for clues that tell them your business is a good result to return. And when they see the same information on multiple sites for your business in that particular location, it makes your business a more relevant result for Google to serve, pushing your business up the rankings. It helps Google confirm that your details are actually correct and match your website.
For this reason, it’s essential that you include your full contact details – business name, phone number, physical address and any other contact information you may use – on your website, preferably the home page and this information stays consistent everywhere you use it. The footer of the website is a good place to put this information.
I’ve Set Up All My Local Citations – What Now?
Of course it’s not just a good idea to create these listings, but you also need to keep them up to date. If anything changes, update each listing, not just the first few you can remember. For this reason, it’s a good idea to keep a list of sites where your business is listed so when information changes, you know exactly where it needs to be updated. No more scrabbling to try and find where you listed your business. Having consistency across your listings is a major part of helping the search engines verify your information as correct – if they find listings that have all different addresses, a variety of phone numbers or other random details it can confuse them and make them less likely to show your business in the results.
You can also work on getting more reviews on your local citations, especially Google My Business listings, as these carry quite a lot of weight when it comes to local search results (even if Google doesn’t say that outright).
So even if you don’t have a website yet, it’s a good idea to start setting up your local citations with just your name, address and phone number at the very least. This will help search engines like Google and Bing to discover your business information and location and potentially return your listings as a result when someone searches for your product or service.