Local Business Citations

Local Business Citations

Even before COVID19 struck, local businesses were starting to move away from traditional, paper-based marketing.  The pandemic simply accelerated the process.  Local business citations are an essential part of local SEO.  Here’s what you need to know about them.

What is local business citation?

A local business citation is any reference to a business’ name, address and/or phone number.  The two most important business citations are Google My Business and Bing Places for Business.  These allow Google and Bing to show your business on their maps and to provide users with directions to your premises from wherever they happen to be.

Just claiming these two (free) citations will help your business get noticed by customers.  There is, however, a lot more you can do.

Why local business citation is important

There are two reasons why local business citation is important.  The first is that every citation is a way for potential customers to find you organically.  Depending on the nature of the citation, it may also act, effectively or openly, as a recommendation.

The second is that it can help to raise your profile with the search engines.  This makes it more likely that you will be referenced in the organic results.  Basically, search engine optimization, like marketing, is a combination of repetition and relevance.  Business citations are guaranteed to provide repetition.  In some cases, they can also prove relevance.

In local SEO specifically, business citations can help you get listed on the “map pack”.  This is the list of businesses shown “pinned” on a map so users can visualize where they are.  Effectively, they get you two chances to win.  One chance is the map pack, the other is the regular text-based results.  Ideally, you want both but either is still good.

Using local business citations effectively

The key to using business citations effectively is to make sure that the same details appear across multiple, legitimate sources.  Making sure that your details appear in the same way is simple in theory.  It should be simple in practice.  In reality, however, maintaining consistency across all citations can be a major challenge.

Likewise, it can also be a challenge to ensure that your citations are appearing in the right places.  As a minimum, you want to avoid spam sites.  You also want to ensure that your business is listed in all the major directories for your industry.  Be aware, that these directory listings may well outrank your own results for the same search due to their authority.

Ideally, you want your business to be cited across all legitimate and relevant sources, both for your area and for your business sector.  Making this happen can be quite a stretch for smaller companies.  This is why it can be helpful to use a local business listing service.

Choosing a local business listing service

When you’re evaluating local listing services, you really need to assess two key points.  Firstly, you want to see evidence that they know their way around SEO in general and local SEO in particular.  Secondly, you want to be reassured that they also understand and appreciate basic customer service.

If you’re interested in local business citations or any other aspect of local SEO, please contact us.  We’ll be happy to help.