Local citations can increase your online visibility and increase your client base. A local citation is an online mention of your local business’ name, address and phone number. These mentions may occur on review websites, blogs, apps, social media platforms, online groups or in local business directories.
Why Local Citations Matter to Your Business
Local citations are important to your business because they help consumers find you, and they can boost your search engine ranking, which in turn, makes your search engine related marketing more effective. Your local business data is easily accessible online, more walk-in traffic is created and better digital exposure increases sales and targeted customers.
Core Elements of a Local Citation
Your business’ local citation should be made up of three core pieces of information; your business information, customer and product reviews and a link to your web site. You can also include other elements in your local citations including; hours of operation, accepted payment options, and store and product images. Keep in mind that regardless of which extra items may be included, the three core data pieces must be present for a quality local citation.
Categories of Local Citations
There are three main categories of local citations consisting of Large Directory Listings, Smaller Local Profiles and Supporting platforms. You should try to have citations in all three categories. Some of these platforms to build citations and profiles require a monthly fee while others are free. For many, the free option covers a basic profile with additional fees to complete a much more substantial and in-depth local citation.
Large Local Business Data Platforms – Major platforms such as Google My Business, Bing and Yelp allow local business owners to create citations for their businesses and publish them on their platforms. Social reviewing networks, like Facebook Reviews, can also be an excellent source of local business citations.
Small Local Platforms – Geographical and industry-specific platforms offer highly targeted directories in which local business citations can be populated. Professional associations and online local networking websites are examples of local micro-platforms. Your local chamber of commerce website is another strong resource.
Supporting Platforms – In addition to mainstream local business data platforms and local micro-opportunities, you can supplement your local citation count with blogs, database websites and online news sites. Supporting platforms can be reached by intentionally submitting your information to them, or by earning the citations by sharing valuable content and appealing to public interest online.
While high quality local citations can benefit your business, poor local citations can hit your business with a negative punch. A negative impact may occur due to a low number of local citations or inaccurate data. By taking a proactive approach, you can build a high number of local citations and ensure the information being shared about your business is accurate and up to date. Pay close attention to the business reviews on each of the profiles you create. Negative reviews can have a strong adverse effect on a business. This strategy keeps the search engines happy and avoids the problem of consumers being directed to the wrong phone number or an inaccurate location.
Local Citation Summary
Every business, from the solo-entrepreneur to the large corporation, can benefit or be negatively impacted by local citations. Local citations inform your business reputation and influence search engine rankings and business revenue. Now that you grasp the potential benefit of local citations, you can take a powerful approach to creating and managing your business’ local citation campaign.