You can find local citations almost everywhere, on various websites, social media, business directories, catalogs, and platforms. Their purpose is to bring your business closer to your customers so that they can discover you more easily. And as a part of it, they increase your local search ranking. The entire process of citation building is important for your business because it influences your relevance and reputation. As a result, your online presence grows, and in many ways, it helps your business succeed.
What are citations and how citation building works?
In essence, citations are any mentions of your business on the Internet. Take Google My Business (GMB), for example. Whenever you type for certain services on Google, you will see GMB results with a map, almost immediately. Those results count as citations. As you can see, specific information is listed here. Your business name, address, and phone number (NAP) are the basic trio of information citations provide. There are also extended variations of format, like WNAP (W for website) and UNAP (U for URL), you can find across the Internet. And, depending on the website your citation is listing on, it may include a combination of additional information, like:
- Your business description
- Categories of business
- Opening and closing hours
- Products or services
- Social media links
- and more
The marketing strategy business owners use to create and list information about their business on specific websites is what we call local citation building. To rank better for local search queries, you need to create quality citations on relevant websites. On one side, building a few citations is not particularly hard. But, building and maintaining hundreds of them can be an enormous task. In that case, it’s always a better option to go with SEO professionals that specialize in citations.
How is citation building important for your business?
Having a strong citation profile is one of the first things to consider if you aim for quality local SEO. In general, it doesn’t matter if you provide services, offer products, or manage some other type of business. Among many benefits, local citations can help you build your online presence and improve ranking in SERPs. Since search engines decide about your ranking position, your citations’ quality and consistency will help you position better. That’s why it’s imperative to plan a proper citation building strategy. With the right campaign, search engines will verify that your business is legitimate, trustworthy, and reliable.
Benefits of citation building for your business
- Search engine rankings
Quality citation building can significantly influence your search engine ranking position. Just like links, after crawlers index your citations, they help improve your local search ranking. Search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing, and others collect information about your business and validate it. That’s why it’s crucial that your citations are accurate, consistent, relevant, and listed on quality websites and platforms. Your citations can also negatively affect your rankings if they are inaccurate.
- Brand awareness
High-quality citations can also help you increase your brand awareness. From the advertising perspective, citations spread your business information and bring your brand closer to a broader audience. In other words, every time someone search for a specific product or service, the top position on results will expose your business to more people.
- Increase the number of clients
When someone is looking for a service online, the availability and accuracy of your business information increase your chance of acquiring new clients. More and more people will know who to call, which website to visit, where to go, and what type of service to expect.
- Boost your overall reputation
One of the aspects of proper citation building is that it can improve your reputation. Today, when the technology is in everyone’s hands, it’s easy to provide feedback and reviews. Satisfied customers will have no trouble leaving good rates for satisfactory service. This, among other things, can help you stand above the competition.
Types of citations
As we indicate before, there are different places where you can submit your citations online. Depending on the platform you are listing on, there are, in general, two types of citations:
- Structured citations
- Unstructured citations
Most commonly, the type of citations you can find in listing directories are structured. Generally speaking, you can distinguish them because they have a specific information structure. Your business name, address, and phone number are easy to recognize as a part of this structure. Some of the places where it’s absolutely necessary to have a consistent NAP are:
- Google My Business
- Bing Places
One of the most important types of citations for your business is niche citations. Basically, they are citations on sites in the same industry as yours. They hold great value because, by default, well-trusted industry-related websites can show you as an outstanding member of said industry. Overall, they provide information that allows the audience to have a general impression of the validity of businesses in the area.
Usually, unstructured citations are mentions of your business’s name. They can include other information as well, but not necessarily. They mostly appear in places that don’t generally serve as listing directories, for example, mentioning your business in an online newspaper article. They can say something that mentions your business name, but without other information, like an address.
Steps to follow when building citations for your business
- Find and save correct information about your business. This consists of NAP and other essential data.
- Use search engines to find existing citations, if there are any. You can also use various tools to discover them.
- Deal with duplicates and inaccurate citations.
- Find quality listings starting with data aggregators and niche directories.
- Create new citations on relevant websites.
- Optimize your citations for better SEO results.
Don’t forget that citation building is just a part of your SEO marketing campaign. For the best results, you need to keep tracking them constantly. Just like with link building, you will need to monitor and audit them actively. It’s one of the crucial ways to have complete control over your business reputation.
Ranking your business online is not easy, but citations can help significantly. Citation building is important for your business because they are a powerful way to get to your desired audience. The more time and effort you invest in building quality citations, the more you increase your chance of standing above your competitors.
Julian Owens has been writing articles for over 4 years, mostly on topics of SEO and digital marketing. During his time with AZ Citation Services, Julian has learned a lot about the world of digital advertising, and hopes to learn even more in the years to come.