Why SEO Citations Are Vital to Ranking in Local Search

Search Engine Optimization

Local SEO is vital to a business’s online success because it allows local users to easily find information about your business. According to Google data, 76% of people who search for something nearby on their smartphone visit a related business within a day, and 28% of those searches result in a purchase. So, if your business is showing up in the search results when a potential customer is near your store, there is a high chance that they will be visiting your business soon and you will have a strong opportunity to convert that customer.

It’s also beneficial for your business to have a dedicated local SEO strategy even if you already have a regular, broader SEO strategy. This is due to the fact that local SEO is different from regular SEO, because local searches are different from regular searches. Local searches include certain geo-specific terms such as “near me” or “city, zip code, state, etc.”. Local SEO can be done through a variety of methods but one of the most important is Local Citations.

Related: Is Your Digital Marketing Strategy Complete? Find Out Here [Digital Marketing Checklist]

What Are Local Citations?

A local citation is any online mention of a local business’s NAP (name, address, phone number). Local citations can occur anywhere that a person can mention a NAP such as an online directory, social media or blog. The most common place for local citations to occur though is on local citation websites like Yelp, Yellowpages or TripAdvisor. Citations help users online find information about businesses and they are also a factor for ranking on Google’s search engine results page. Local citations tell Google that your business exists and is genuine.

Why Local Citations Are Key to Local SEO

One of the main reasons to use local citations is that your competitors probably are. If you aren’t using local citations, then your competitors are getting your customers. But if your competitors using them isn’t enough to sway you on the power citations have there are many more reasons citations can help your business. Let’s go over a few of those reasons:

Google Rankings

Google loves local citation websites. If you do a quick google search for any local term like “Landscaping in Portland Oregon” you will see that the top search results are for local citation websites.

Since Google ranks these websites very well in its search results, having your business’s NAP on these local citation websites will increase the number of users who are discovering your business.

Users like Citation websites

Since Google ranks these local citation websites at the top of the page, people use them frequently and trust them. Most local citation websites have a section for reviews and BrightLocal’s consumer research found that 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal reviews. Since people trust reviews, they will seek them out and may even go directly to websites like Yelp or TripAdvisor to look for them. If your business is not listed on popular local citation websites, you are missing out on the opportunity for users to discover information about your products and services.

The Best Citations Have a Consistent NAP

Having your business’s NAP consistent across citation websites is the best way to have a great local citation strategy. A common error that occurs with local citations is having a slightly different NAP across websites. Google can confuse even the smallest differences in NAP, such as 301 5th St and 301 Fifth St, so it’s important to decide how you want your NAP to look across all websites. This is critical so that Google knows which info is correct and legitimate. If Google isn’t able to identify which business info is correct it can cause a range of issues like Google creating multiple Google My Business pages or a Google My Business page with wrong information. False business info can also spread like wildfire can become a real mess to correct once it has spread to a lot of websites.

How Many Local Citation Websites Do I Need My Business On?

Well, it depends.

The number of local citations you need to be successful will largely depend on the amount of local competition your business has. If for example, you own a dog grooming business in Los Angeles, where the population is 4 million, you will need your business listed on as many high-quality local citation websites as possible. But if you own that same dog grooming business in Bishop, CA where the population is 3,700, you might be successful with your business just being listed on major local citation sites like Yelp, Yellowpages, or AngiesList.

Personally, I would recommend being on the safer side and try to have local citation listings across the web.

Get the Best Local Citations

Not sure where to start? We can help! We specialize in learning about your business and understanding the market you work in, so we can provide the best Local SEO and Local Citations strategy available. Give us a call so we can begin the conversation together.

About the Author

Nick Footer

Nick Footer is an entrepreneur and founder of Intuitive Digital, a national award-winning digital marketing agency in Portland, Oregon. With over 15 years of experience, he has helped hundreds of businesses improve their online presence through search engine optimization, paid advertising, and website design.

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