Tips from a Tampa Citation Service Provider
Much like word of mouth is one of the most beneficial ways to bring people to a business, local citations are among the most important factors to help improve your local search engine optimization (SEO) efforts.
So what are local citations? Basically, any time business data is listed online, even if it does not link to website of the business, that is considered a local citation.
You may see the term “NAP” used when it comes to local citations. NAP refers to the core of local citations, name, address and phone number. If a citation includes all of these elements, it is considered complete. If it only includes one or two of these element, it may be considered a partial citation.
Why are Local Citations a Big Deal?
Getting links to your website is not the only way to help it move up in the search rankings. Local citations are an important part of search ranking algorithms. For local businesses looking to rank well, it is essential to have accurate local citations.
The citations help to show the search engines that a business exists and that its data is correct and up to date. It shows that the business is part of the local community through citations like chamber of commerce listings or mentions on local blogs.
In the 2015 Local Search Ranking Factors study by Moz, local citations were shown to be one of the most important search ranking factors for local businesses. Keep in mind that it’s important not only to have local citations, but to do it the right way.
Why is Consistency Important for Local Citations?
Local citations need to be consistent to be effective. If your business has a number of incorrect or incomplete local citations, you are unlikely to reap the SEO benefits. Moreover, you can potentially hurt your rankings if you have inconsistent citations.
Why? Well, since properly done citations show that a business is credible and part of a community, it makes sense that inconsistent citations can have the opposite effect. When citations have incorrect or incomplete information, it can be a red flag to search engines.
To make sure that you are not penalized, take time to make sure that your citations are correct and always consistent.
Where to Get Local Citations
Local citations can come from a number of different places. Just like in link building, the quality of the site giving the citation will impact how powerful the citation will be.
Of course, it is important to make sure that your business data is listed in the major search engines like Google, Yahoo Local, Apple Maps and Bing Places. Make sure that all of your information is accurate across all of these sites.
There are also other sorts of sites that you can use to get local citations. Some of the most common types of places to get local citations include:
- Data aggregators (like Neustar Localeze)
- Multi-industry directories (like Yelp)
- Industry-specific directories (like chirodirectory.com for chiropractors)
- Directories with a local focus (like Yahoo’s Regional Directory)
- Sites with a regional focus (like Visit Florida)
- Unstructured citations (like mentions by local news outlets or bloggers)
Keep in mind that each of these types of local citations can have many, many sites available. This is why the process of getting local citations takes time and patience.
How to Get Local Citations
There are a couple of different options for getting local citations. You can use paid tools to get automated citations or you can manually go to sites to get citations.
Automated citation management systems may get things done faster, but are they the best choice? Manual citations may be more accurate, but are they worth the time commitment? It all depends on your goals.
Each method has its own pros and cons to consider. Before you decide which method to use, consider both sides of each option so you can make an educated choice that suits your needs.
Pros and Cons of Automatic Citation Systems
Automatic citation systems can be useful in many ways. Some of the pros of these automated citation services are:
- The ability to get many local citations in an easy way
- More local citations in a faster time frame
- Automatic citation systems make it easier to find duplicate listings
- You can get reports to see how the citations are doing
There are also some potential cons to using a service that does automated local citations. These cons may include:
- Price for this service may be pricey, depending on the service and your budget
- You could possibly lose the citations when you stop using the service, so the citation may be dependent on long-term use of the service
- Automated services may not include all of personalization options to make your listing the best that it can be
Pros and Cons of Manual Citations
Manual citations also have a lot of positive aspects for local businesses. The pros of manual citations include:
- Personalization options to make each citation as strong and complete as possible
- You can hire an SEO consultant or agency to create local citations for you
- Manual citations give you the control to make sure that you are meeting all guidelines so you won’t be penalized
- With manual citations, you can focus on quality citations
There are also some potential cons to manual citations, including:
- It can be a very time-consuming process
- If you do it yourself, the time spent may not be cost effective
- You will not have the benefit of reporting if you do it yourself
It is important to keep in mind that if you hire someone to do manual citations for you, the cons listed above may not apply. For example, hiring someone can be more cost effective and can also include the reporting you need to see the results of your citations.
No matter which method you choose to implement, local citations are an essential part of any local SEO strategy. Make sure that you save all of the information you use, like descriptions and login information, so that you keep all of your citations consistent and up to date.