Most people are aware of SEO and what it means for the success (or failure) of their website even if they don’t know too many of the finer details. One particular aspect of search engine optimisation you need to know more about concerns local SEO citations. Here we explore what they are and why you should be using them.
What is a citation?
A citation is any type of reference made online that relates to your business. Citations can appear in complete form or partial form, depending on the amount of information that is given.
For example your business name is a partial citation because it only gives the name of your business. If you were to add your phone number and business address as well, this would count as a complete citation. Sometimes this information is referred to as your NAP. This stands for name, address and phone number and makes it easier to refer to the information without trotting it out in depth all the time.
A citation – whether partial or complete – doesn’t have to be hyperlinked to your website to be recognised as a proper citation. This means you could have a listing on a business portal website with a complete citation at the end of it and it would be counted. Put simply, the more citations you can create online, the more authority your business will have on the Internet.
Incidentally you can hyperlink some of your citations if you wish and it will have no effect on it being counted. Sometimes it makes sense to hyperlink your business name for example.
Why citations are good for local SEO
Local SEO is important for any business. When mobile phone users search for local businesses, 50% of them visit the businesses they find in that search within 24 hours. This compares to 34% of people who visit after searching on a computer or tablet.
This shows how powerful local search is. Citations are not the only element of SEO that matters, but they will help you rank more highly and be more respected in the search engine results. This is because the information provided within a NAP is very likely to point to a legitimate business. Search engines want to direct searchers to legitimate businesses so they use this information and its prevalence to decide which businesses will most closely appeal to searchers.
You can build your local SEO campaign by gradually building citations on a variety of websites. These should include business directories but you can also put the information on social media profiles and forum profiles among other places. This should be a gradual process and you should keep your NAP identical in format every time. This will help the search engines recognise all your citations as belonging to you. If you constantly change the formatting they may not all be recognised.
In short, citations are all about building credibility and legitimacy for your business. You will stand a better chance of being found in relevant search results by focusing on building your citations, both partial and complete, over the coming months and years.