17 Jul Local SEO and the Importance of Citations
Nowadays, gaining a web presence is more than just scrambling to put together a few lines of code, putting up a website, and hoping to get visitors and leads to your website. Putting up a website without some type of search & social strategy is like shooting darts in the wind.
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is going to be the main player/service that is going to drive leads and visitors to your website.
- Social Media Marketing is going to drive your SEO, build your brand, and syndicate all of your information throughout the web – all while driving leads.
When it comes to online marketing, social media marketing and search engine optimization are the hands that wash each other, and they both fit into a strategic custom web design.
Local SEO is a whole other monster. Google has created an algorithm strictly for local SEO, and when a searcher’s intent is to obtain a local result in the search engine results pages (SERPs) they usually serve up a bunch of map listings that are relevant to the searcher’s query, as well as their location.
Here are the top factors for Local SEO – as reported all over the web:
- Current Address Located in the relevant city
- Claiming your Google Places (now a Google Plus Page)
- Correct Google Places category page
- Quantity of Citations
Let’s take a look at that last one. It’s one of the most interesting, and can also be one of the most confusing. After all, what is a citation? And how do you get one?
A citation is pretty much a place you can list your business online, where people looking for reviews and other business information go to find out about your company. One of the best and most familiar faces of this local platform phenomenon is the very well known (and very frequently spammed) Yelp. Yelp is a very important “entity” of your business. It’s where people are going to go to leave reviews, and since the majority of people that leave reviews are leaving bad ones, you want to make sure that you are running things as smoothly as possible over at your company (Or find ways to turn bad reviews into positive marketing strategies).
The more citations you have for your business, the more “points” you will receive from Google and the way that it calculates its rankings for local businesses. You want to make sure that you get your businesses information correctly and consistently displayed on as many citation sites as possible. Not only do you want to do this because it will help you rank higher in the SERPs in terms of your own site, but a lot of these citation sites do very well in the rankings as well and it will help you to gain more exposure.
Do Citations Really Work? Are They Worth the Effort?
There have been case studies all around the web on the effectiveness of citations and how Google relies on them for ranking corporations and small businesses in the local verticals of the search world. When scaling up and trying to build many citations, you can usually expect about 6 months before you start seeing drastic results. Starting with the top 20-40 citation sites is always a good idea, but if you want to get great results you should really aim for 50-70 of them (a side benefit from this is that some of them may count as links). It takes a while for all the major players to pick up your info, but once you do it and start seeing the results, you’ll know it was a good decision.