Oftentimes, a lot of businesses will solely focus on their local market rather than going wider than that. Such businesses are usually small retail stores, restaurants, convenience stores and so on. However, even businesses that are aiming higher than the local market will still rely on the local customers for the most part.
This is where local SEO can help with visibility, awareness and exposure on the local market. Among some of the most important aspects of local SEO are local citations. That being said, let’s find out more about local citations and their importance.
Local citations are basically mentions of your business name, phone number, address and so on, anywhere online. This is the key to helping people to discover your business, as well as for helping search engines determine the legitimacy and credibility of your company. In other words, local citations don’t only help people find you but they also help you rank well for local SEO.
In most cases, local citations can be found almost everywhere in the online world. The most common places you’ll run into local citations are social media, business directories, blogs and websites. But why is this important for your business?
Contrary to popular belief, consumers don’t always use search engines to find local businesses. They will also use directories, such as Yellow Pages or Yelp.
They will also look for recommendations from social media contents and influential bloggers. Therefore, having your business mentioned on any or all of these sources really helps in generating more exposure for your local business.
Simply put, you submit your business information to every directory you can find. The most popular option is to create an account for GMB (Google My Business). Here you provide essential business information, such as an address, phone, email, open hours etc.
The key is to provide the same information to other business directories, such as Bing Places, Apple Maps, Foursquare, Facebook and so on.
The more places you list on the more visible your business becomes. Another way you can get local citations is via unstructured citations. What that means is that your business gets mentioned in articles, videos, blog posts on various sources.
Local citations do not directly impact your local SEO rankings. However, the more citations you have the easier it becomes for search engines to verify your information.
The more your business is mentioned, especially in a positive context and sentiment, the more likely will search engines like Google be able to verify the trustworthiness of your business, as well as verify that your business actually exists and that it’s fully operational.
However, just like with link building, having citations for just any source won’t do you much good. On the other hand, having citations on credible and relevant sources can actually boost your local rankings.
Local citations are vital for local business because they can provide the necessary visibility and exposure local businesses desperately need. Without local citations, it becomes more difficult to stay afloat in a competitive local market.