How Building Citations Can Increase Your SEO Performance
Most people view the process of building citations as “extra work” or as a “distraction” from more important tasks. Citations can be seen as an added hassle with minimal benefits. The reality is that this is a completely wrong way to view this important SEO tool. In reality, citations are absolutely imperative in improving your search engine rankings and generating exposure.
What are citations?
When you have a business in a local area or city—especially one that is small and not well known to those out of town, it can be hard to track down information about your establishment. In these situations, the most important thing you must do is to find a way to get your name and contact information out there to your potential customers.
The process of garnering attention from the public can be tough in the beginning. Citations are an SEO tool that any business has access to that can help propel your business to a much higher rank on search engines. You may have heard that building citations are important, but don’t quite understand what they are yet or how they work. The process of building citations has changed over time and will continue to change as business owners need them more than ever before. The good news is that the process is relatively easy to understand. Here’s how citation basics work:
A citation is a mention of your business name, address, and phone number on some form of online tool (usually an app). Many different types of online tools exist for businesses like yours; from location-based apps like Yelp, Boardwalk magazine (locations and events), Apps for Business (app focused), LocoNite apps (events), Placemeter (location-based), and Google My Business listings.
You can also create citations yourself by referring people to your website or listing in a relevant way through social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram with specific hashtags or keywords – just make sure you’re following the rules and policies on these platforms to avoid being blacklisted!
Citations help search engines understand your business.
Citations help search engines understand:
- what your business is about
- where your business is located
- how to categorize your business
- what your business offers to its customers
Citations are one of the many ranking factors in local SEO.
While they are not as important as on-page optimization or link building, citations can help boost your visibility in local search results and help search engines understand your business by verifying that it is legitimate. Citations are also very important for start-ups and companies with less than 5 to 10 reviews online.
How do you build citations?
So, how do you build citations? You could use an automated tool for this, like Whitespark Local Citation Finder or BrightLocal. These work great, but have costs associated with them. You may not be able to afford these services at the moment. If that is the case, then you can build citations manually by searching Google for “your city + your category” (e.g., “Washington DC + Pizza”). Then visit each of the websites that are returned in the search results and see if there is an option for submitting your business’s information or claiming your listing if it is already present on their website.
Not every citation needs to contain all the details about your business. For example, a phone number isn’t necessary on Yelp or Facebook (although it doesn’t hurt to include it), but having a consistent NAP (name, address, phone number) across all your citations will help increase their effectiveness.
Citations are important for local SEO.
Local citations are a way to show Google your business’s name, address, and phone number along with other key information on the web. They are mentions of your local business that include all or some of the aforementioned elements.
Citations help search engines like Google confirm that your business exists, but they also help you show up for local and map searches. The more comprehensive and consistent citations you have across the web, the better signals you’ll give to Google about where your business is located and what it is all about.
Citation building is a time-consuming process but is worth it as long as you can keep sight of your end goal: improving SEO performance. At Appletree Design Studio, we offer cost-effective solutions that can radically transform your business’s search engine rankings and take your company to the next level. Contact us today to learn more.