We bring you a complete guide to building local citations. We are going to discuss everything you need to get started with citations, including providing you with examples. Of course if you would like the experts to handle your submissions then please see our low cost service at https://shop.heroseo.co.uk/product/50-premium-local-business-citations/
Throughout this guide, we are going to discuss the following aspects of citations:
- What is a local citation?
- Why they are so important to your business;
- The two different types of citations;
- How to make a citation the correct way;
- Why accurate information is all-important.
So, without any further ado let us start by first looking what a citation actually is.
What is a local citation?
A local citation is, in easy to understand terms, a way of getting your business address out there on the internet. It makes sure customers can easily find you.
A citation is shown online on websites, business directories, social media and much more. It generally includes the name of your business, the address and a phone number and in some cases, a map.
It is extremely valuable for local SEO as it is one of the key ranking factors. In other words, it boosts your chances of Google and other search engines ranking your business website or social media page.
The citation can appear in many places including your own business website, your Facebook page, social networks and business directories. In fact, it can be shown anywhere people look for information online about local businesses.
In the example above the citation states the business name, in this case, a restaurant, the address, time it opens and closes, telephone number and the website. Our example is a NAP citation, called this because it features the name, address and phone number, among other things, of the local business.
Why local citations are so important
You might have guessed already why local citations are so important. They help those looking for businesses like yours to find you online.
At the same time, they could also help your website or page to rank higher in local search queries.
We do not have to explain how it can help to match those looking for your type of business to find you as its self-explanatory – the name, address and phone number.
However, we are going to explain how a local citation can help you with local SEO.
How a citation helps you with local SEO
It is thought that the citation can help search engines such as Google and Bing, along with others, verify the trustworthiness, existence and legitimacy of your business.
The way it does this is by appearing on numerous websites that are relevant and trusted. For example, on Foursquare, Facebook page, Moz and business-listing directories.
If the search engines discover your citation on many of these sites it boosts confidence that you have an existing operational business and your claims about your business are true.
Many factors go towards search engines ranking businesses, so citations are just one of them, albeit a valuable factor. In fact, citations account for 11% in local search engine rankings.
The results from the above do come from 2018 but it does give you an idea of how they do help with boosting search engine rankings.
As they also help people to find your business more easily, citations are still worth giving thought to.
How your citation can bring more customers your way
Citations are important when you take into account that search engines are not the only way people find businesses.
For instance, when looking for a plumber people often turn to their local Yellow Pages, Yelp, Mybuilder, Trustatrader or Checkatrade. People trust sites such as these as they are well known and have reviews from others who have used a service.
The different types of citations
Now we will look at the two different types of citations you might consider using. These are structured and unstructured.
The structured citation
In the structured citation, you include your business name, the address of your business and its phone number. This is also called NAP, for obvious reasons.
An example of a structured citation can be found below.
Citations such as the one above are often listed on business directories, including high-quality directories such as Yell, Scoot, Thomson and the Yellow Pages. These are all directories where you need to see your citation listed.
The structure is simple; it contains the correctly formatted business name and address and possibly schema microdata. Microdata can help search engines further, so help people to find your business. High-quality business directories also organise businesses by area and type.
The unstructured citation
The unstructured citation generally provides more information about the business, along with other information, but it is not as structured as the one above.
You can find examples of the unstructured type of citation below.
Unstructured citations vary greatly in size and shape but usually have the name of the business and the address. However, it could just be part of an address or even just a phone number on its own with the name.
You see these types of citation on social media profiles, among other places. There is generally more leeway when making an unstructured citation and you can use them in many more places than the structured. For instance, on YouTube channels, Facebook pages, Twitter and LinkedIn.
How to build the correct citation
As we talked about above there are two types of citation and it can pay to use both types. You do not have to put your citation on every business listing out there; just ensure you have them on the most popular and well known.
- We suggest that you ensure your business is listed with the top three data aggregators
- You submit to core sites
- Submit to local site and popular industry sites
- Go after unstructured citations
So, let us break this down and take a deeper look into the above.
Make sure you are listed with the top data aggregators
If you have done some research on this, you will have realised that there are thousands of business directories out there. It is impossible to submit your citation to all of these.
Along with this, if the business directories relied upon businesses submitting information many gaps would appear in data. This is where the data aggregators come into play.
What is a data aggregator? It is a company that specifically collects information about different businesses and then goes on to distribute this information to business directories and other websites.
If you provide the top data aggregators with your citation, acting as the intermediary they will distribute it to hundreds of websites without you having to do a thing.
The top three data aggregators in the UK are:
Each of the above compiles information and if your business information is gathered by these sites you can be sure that it will get on the major search engines along with such as the Yellow Pages, phone directories and other various online information providers.
If you want your business found you just have to submit your citation to these popular data aggregators.
First, visit the main webpage for Express Update and search to find out if your business is listed already on the directory.
If the business is listed, you can click on the “Claim Now” button then verify it is you making the claim.
If your business is not listed, you will see a link that takes you to “Submit a New Place”. Just click on it.
Infogroup makes it easy to submit your citation into the database. Simply visit this link to go to the Express Update page and fill in the information using the form supplied, which you can see below.
Infogroup really does make the whole process quick and easy compared to other aggregators so it should be your first port of call.
It goes without saying, but we are going to say it anyway, that you should take your time and ensure that all information you submit, or any information already in the listing, is correct. If you change your business phone number, for example, remember to change it on the citations listings. The same applies to an email address and business address if you relocate.
Submit your citation to core sites
While submitting your business information to data aggregators is essential as they, in turn, pass it on to other sites, not all of them are reached. Therefore, you should submit to core sites in your own country too.
The top 10 core sites in the United Kingdom are:
To check the top citation sources in any other country just check here.
It may be worth submitting your citation to all of the top 10 sites, even more, if you have the time. Getting your information out there to as many core sites as possible in your own country can only help you.
For instance, when performing a search for plumbers near me on Google, Yell and Thomson Local both turned up on the search engine.
This tells you that they are definitely worth adding your business information, as they are popular with the leading search engine.
So, how do you get your information on the core sites? Let us look.
We have chosen Thompson Local, as it is a popular option. To list your business information manually in the database just visit the main website here.
Click the link at the top left-hand side of the menu bar that says “List My Business”
Choose either free or business listing and fill in the information. Your business will then feature in the database for your industry alongside key contact information, boosting your visibility on Google and other search engines. It will also have a link from Thompson Local and offer directions to your business.
Of course, if you are submitting your citation manually to many core sites it is going to be a tedious task. Luckily, there is another way; you can use a submission or management service. One option is BrightLocal.
You can try BrightLocal free. We chose BrightLocal, as with this company, you are not locked into expensive contracts that you have to pay continually to ensure your business citation remains live. You can get better local rankings without high monthly fees, submit quickly to data aggregators and remove duplicates.
Submit to local sites
You can then go on to submit to popular local sites that cater to your specific business category. For instance, if you were a plumber or electrician you would want to concentrate on sites such as Checkatrade or MyBuilder.
If you run a boarding house, guesthouse or hotel you will want to make sure that you are listed on TripAdvisor and so on. Choose only those sites that match what you offer.
To find sites that match your particular industry you can do a search on Google. Just type in: [your location] business directory or [your location] business listings.
Choose the ones that you want to submit to and visit the site.
Make use of unstructured citations
Finally, you might want to consider unstructured citations. So far, the sites we have talked about use structured citations.
You can find unstructured citations alongside mentions your business has had in the press, on social media, on review sites or blog posts. In other words, you do not intentionally ask someone to publish your business citation; instead, you get it when someone writes about your business.
The above citation is from an article on Wikipedia about an attraction in South Yorkshire.
The citation has the name and location along with a backlink to the website, making it a powerful SEO tool.
You could also find citations by making a list of your suppliers and searching for them on Google using the term: site:suppliersname.com intitle “stockists” or add “clients” or “suppliers” to the end.
You can pay the website a visit and check if they include your business name, address and website address for the backlink.
Keep your citations up to date and relevant
Of course, it is no good if you spend time uploading your citations to directories and core sites only to change some of the information.
If you change your business phone number of physical address, you do not want to forget to update your citations. You do not want to lose customers by sending them to your old address or giving the old phone number. This is where a good citation submission site can pay for itself as they make it easy to alter and change any existing citations without having to manually go back to all the sites and make the changes yourself.
If all this seems like a hassle, then why not let the experts handle it for you with our low cost citation submission service at https://shop.heroseo.co.uk/product/50-premium-local-business-citations/