Where Can You Get Your Local Business Citations?
There was a time that local business owners thought of search engine optimisation as something that big corporations did. It seemed like the kind of ‘big boy’ game that only mattered to major players that jostled with each other for Internet traffic at a national level. SEO simply wasn’t something that local establishments had to worry about, so if you ran a business at a neighborhood level, it just wasn’t a concern.
Whether or not you ran a bar, a laundromat, or a restaurant, people in the community knew who you were and where you were. You relied on a combination of word of mouth advertising, roadside signage, and possibly things like fliers on windshields. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy anymore.
Even a single brick and mortar business has to be online with a robust website and an SEO campaign to back it up. Local search is exploding for many major search engines, with half of current Internet search traffic happening on mobile media devices like smartphones and tablets, and over half of new Internet users coming online using such devices.
Simply put, people don’t do what they used to do when looking for a place to eat in the community they are in. Rather than ask for suggestions or whip out a phone book, they just pull out their phone and Google it. Your website is a starting point in planting your flag to draw in such traffic, but you also need local business citations to truly get search engine attention and affection.
You might be asking yourself what a local business citation is, and essentially it is any online reference to your business. It might be just the business name, but it can also be the company name and phone number. A complete business citation includes the name, phone number, and address and a truly robust local business citation will include the name, address, phone number, and website address or URL link to the domain name.
In terms of your SEO efforts to get your website listed above your competitors, local business citations matter greatly, as they possibly account for 20 percent of the data and information search engines use in determining your rankings. As you can see, they are important.
Your next question likely is where can you get them? Business listing sites are a good place to start. Make sure your establishment has robust listings on sites like SuperPages.com, Yelp.com, and YellowPages.com. Also, check for local or community-oriented directories.
Then, aim for a secondary list of local business citations where you can put ‘unstructured’ citations. These would be places like forums, newspaper sites, job listing sites, blogs, and event listing calendars. Whenever possible, do aim for high-caliber sites for your mentions. A citation on your city’s mayor page is likely going to look better than getting buried in ten thousand other listings on an open bulletin board page.
All local business citations help build your online profile but remember that ones with backlinks carry more SEO weight than others.