In this century, it is only natural that companies strive to market their business using internet and what it offers. This is a revolutionary way to produce and propagate their message and relay it to countless potential clients. It may sound like a piece of cake and may taste like one, it is not that simple. There are a lot of things that come into before you can actually explore this avenue.
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Search Engine Optimization and Search Engine Marketing, also known as SEO and SEM respectively, is an effective route to cover all bases without breaking a sweat.
Apart from social media and other channels, a USA business directory is a great way to make a start. Business directories are online portals that save information about businesses and their salient services to increase their visibility in the virtual world. They have a lot of interactive sections where those who are looking for a reliable company can interact with former clients. There are other channels there as well, such as review and comments sections, ratings panel, etc.
In simple words, a local citation is merely the mentioning of a business’s name, its address, and phone number online. This improves overall ranking of the parent site and considered to be one of the most important determining factors for local SEO, according to experts.
Local citation involves mentioning of NAP of your business over the internet, such as social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter), Business directory in USA (citylocalpro.com, yelp), and other places of importance. The best part about a directory is that its appearance is sporadic and can be extensively observed.
Importance of Local Citation
As evidenced from the fact, there are many benefits of getting local citations which shows its importance in improving your business’s online presence.
- Your business could rank higher for local search queries.
- This could help people connect people with your company.
Local Citations & SEO
There are three main functions that sporadic local citations can play for the search engine. It shows that your business:
- Exists in real world.
- Is legitimate.
- Trustworthy (because you deal with multiple clients in a given time).
In case of Google, if the NAP of your business appears in many of the search queries, being present at many trusted and reliable sites, the search engine would think it is a legitimate entity and is worthy to appear in the local search queries and results.
While devising a local SEO strategy, you need to keep in mind that not many SEO professionals rely on this tool. They believe that being mentioned at one or many sites across the local search board is not a big plus. Still, there is no denying that it is a great place to start!
John Mueller, Google official, has stated multiple times that Google, as a company, sees the mentioning of a company or business on a site as a mere advertising. It only plays role in local search results and SEO when people actually use keywords from that business explicitly.
Citations & Business Directories In USA
It is observed that many people do not search about local businesses on search engine. Rather, they use specialized sites, such as business directories or local listings, that allow them pinpoint the exact business. This includes citylocalpro.com, Yelp, etc. That is one of the obvious reasons why listing your business on what of these directories is a good start.
For instance, you can search for “local plumbers”, “best roofers in the area”, etc., and you will notice that many of the search results will be of the business directories. The result could be attributed to a lot of mentioning of the words “plumbers” and “roofers”.
Types of Citations
Before we head to creating local citations for a business, it is best to know about different types of citations. There are two main types:
- Structured Citations
- Unstructured Citations
The thing about structured citations is that they list the name, address, and phone number of your business on the same page. Common examples of structured citations are social media pages and business listings entries. Every company mentioned on the website is displayed in an identical way, with NAP being at the center of this information.
This is on the more informal side of the spectrum. This type of citation comprises of casual mentioning of the business, as in blog posts, forum posts, press mention, etc.
Building Local Citations for Your Business
In an ideal situation, you should aim for a combination of both structured and unstructured citations. Keep in mind that more quantity should be your focus than just dropping NAP over every other website over the internet.
Listing Your Business on Data Aggregator
Data aggregators scrap the internet and fetch information about local businesses which is used by local business directories. So, instead of going to business directories, you can list your company on an aggregator. There are many platforms that offer free services for claiming, submitting, and managing businesses.
Connect with Other Core Sites
The thing about aggregators is that they do not share information to all websites. To be on the prospecting side, it is best to cover the bases by submitting your profile on popular sites, also called as core sites.
Here are some of the core sites:
- Apple Maps
- CityLocal Pro
- Yellow Pages
Submit Your Profile to Other Sites
After completing submissions with baseline sites, it is time to head to popular sites. One of the prime examples of this is Google’s subsidiary sites. Also, find the directories and listings of your niche and get profiling on them. For example, getting a page on TripAdvisor is prudent if you run a hotel.
Pursue Unstructured Citations
If you are here, you have done most of the work and way ahead of the curve, as far as your competition is concerned.
In order to master this citations side, connect with popular blogs and articles website with informational content and not the marketing one. This will take care of your unstructured citations.