Exactly what is a citation? What are local SEO citation sources and how do they impact your search engine rankings?
In this video I will answer these questions and more as I break down the concept of citations into easy to understand terms for small businesses.
What is a citation? It’s another reputable website that has your information on it. It doesn’t have a link back to you but it has your information on it like your business name, your business address and phone number. You can use many of these different types of websites. These citation sources or categories of citation sources can all have your contact information on them. The object is to have as many of these sites with your consistent information on them as possible. Now obviously we want to use reputable citation sources and I’ll mention a bunch of them here for you as I’m sharing the different categories out there. I break these citation sources down into five categories.
1. The "Big 3"
The first major category that you are going to want to pay attention to are the “Big 3”. The search engines such as Bing, Yahoo, Google local. You are going to want to make sure your company is properly listed on these. Completely fill out the profile and add as many pictures as you can. If they let you add videos, then add videos! But most importantly make sure that your name, address and phone number are consistent and written the same EXACT way, down to the comma if you can. The same exact way! It will serve you, trust me!
2. "Local Portals"
The second big category is what I call the “local portals”. Some examples of these are SuperPages, City Pages, Merchant Circle, Yellow Pages, Yelp, etc. There are tons of them out there. Your clients can go on there and review you and look at your information. A lot of times you are being found in the search engines because of your listings on these sites. So having listings on these sites are very important. Very important! Once again as with the big 3 search engines discussed above, we want to make sure your site is claimed. You just need to go to the site and claim your business so that they know that it is you. Then make sure your information is accurate and optimized as much as possible. You want to have the proper and consistent information across all of these sites.
3. "Micro Sites"
The third category of sites are these key local sites, or “micro sites”. These “micro sites” are within your own city and can be your local chamber of commerce, the websites for your local tv and radio stations, your local newspapers, other online local news sources, or any local directories whatsoever. Once again, it’s very important to have citations with your listing on these as well. They don’t need to have a link coming back to you. They just need to mention your business name, address and phone number.
4. Trade Directories
These top three I mentioned here help local SEO big time! They are huge for local SEO. Digging a lit bit further, let’s look at the fourth category of citation sources that I want you to know about. These are trade directories. If you are a chiropractor, get listed in chiropractic directories online. If you are a house cleaning company, get listed in local house cleaning company directories online. Find the directories that relate to your trade and see if you can get a listing on there. It can be paid or free listings. I’m not going there with you right now, just understand that these types of listings can be very important.
5. Social Media Sites
The fifth and last category of citation source that I want you to be aware of are social media sites. In particular, Facebook and Google + [Note: Google+ is no longer relevant, however the core message here is!] You want a business listing on these, not necessarily a personal profile and there is a difference. For example, I’m Dean Mercado and I have a Facebook page, but I’m not talking about my personal Facebook page. I’m talking about my Online Marketing Muscle business page.
Keep in mind that things haven’t changed in the marketing world. There are just different tools, platforms and mediums that we are use now. In years past it used to be things like PR. PR used to be huge for us because most people didn’t care about what we said about ourselves, they cared what others said about us. Very important point! These citation sources just act as a way of saying and proving that you are who you say you are. That’s all they are doing, but they are hugely important! So make sure your citation sources are completely filled out with consistent data and make sure that you claim them.
Now I understand that it is a lot to ask of you to go out and do all of this stuff. If you can’t do it yourself, find someone to give you a hand. Shameless plug here, yes, Online Marketing Muscle does this service for our clients! There are other companies out there that do it as well. It is a tedious type of work to take on, but at a minimum get started. Find ways to get it done or if you’re not looking to outsource it, start tackling some these sites that I’ve mentioned. You will be pleased and happy that you did. This is the way you stay relevant to the search engines. Just think about it how would it be for your business if all of a sudden you weren’t showing up in the search engines results! Citations are key! Get on them!