Bernadette Coleman

Dominate Google Local Search: How to Build Citations

Dominate Google Local Search: How to Build CitationsDo you understand the importance of optimizing your Google My Business page and the factors Google considers to rank your page, including your location, reviews and ratings, and how to build citations? If you’re not clear about what I’m talking about, go back and read the past few posts on these subjects. It’ll help you understand how to get more customers in your local area.

Okay, so I’ve covered two out of the three factors. Let’s talk about the 3rd factor Google considers to rank local search – citations.

What Are Citations?

Citations are “mentions” of your business name, address and phone number (also referred to as NAP). Although a website will help your online presence, you don’t need one to have your NAP mentioned.

An example of a citation is when your business contact information is listed on Yelp. This “mention” of your business helps your rankings. The more directories that mention your business, the stronger your rankings will be.

With all other factors being equal, a business with more citations will more than likely rank higher than a business with fewer citations.

Also, citations that are either local or relevant in your industry have a greater impact with your ranking over citations that are less relevant to your business.

How to Build Your Citations

Here are some potential sources that will help you build your citations:

  1. Data Aggregators – There are four primary data aggregators in the U.S. – Infogroup, Neustar, Acxiom, and Factual – that contain local business data and syndicate into most local search engines.
  2. Local Search Engines – These are directories such as Yelp, Foursquare, Hotfrog.
  3. Local Blogs – Blogs that mention your business info. You can find them if you search terms such as “[your city] blog,” “[neighborhood] blog,” or “[school] blog”.
  4. Locally focused directories – Examples would be Yahoo’s Regional Directory and the Best of the Web’s Regional Directory. You can search for “[your city] directory” or “[your state] directory.”
  5. Industry-focused Directories or Blogs – Websites that focus on topics and keywords related to your industry can help your rankings, even if they’re not local. Search “[your industry] directory “or “[your keyword] directory” to get an idea of sites to get listed on.

Consistency Matters

Make sure your citations (those “mentions” of your business name, address and phone number) are accurate and consistent.

Why is this so important?

  • Google will establish trust and relevancy through consistent information. And Google will favor businesses that can be trusted.
  • In fact, inconsistent information will hurt your rankings. So if you’re a local auto shop and list your business name as “Charlie’s Auto Shop” on your Google + Page and “Charlie’s Car Repair” on your Facebook page, this will hurt your rankings.
  • Be consistent; make sure to list your business name spelled out the same across all of the directories on the web. The same rule goes for your phone number and address as well.

If you need help building out your location pages, reviews, ratings and citations there are organizations that you can hire to do it. One of those is Advice Local, a local presence management technology developed by my company.

What are your favorite directories? Do they mention your business?

Bernadette Coleman

Bernadette Coleman is a SEO, Local Search, Engaging Content Enthusiast & CEO of Advice Interactive Group, an Inc500 Digital Agency.

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