Citation is a relatively new term to many people in SEO. Many people overlook the importance of citations, especially in regards to local SEO listings. So what exactly are citations? Citations can be thought as a mentioning of your business names, address, and phone number on a webpage, regardless of whether or not they’re linking to your website. These are usually directories, online phonebooks, yellow pages, and review sites, but they may be any site that mentions the above information in standard format.
Citations are important because they verify your address to search engines. Consistent information tends to provide a sense of validity to search engines, which ultimately improve your reputation in regards to SEO.
So, if citations verify your address, one might ask why or how it is relevant to your SEO campaign. Citations may not be very important for global or nationally targeted websites, but for local and regional services, it’s almost as important as having a website itself. Google has been increasingly making Google Maps listing have precedence over organic search results. You may notice that when searching for local plumbers in your area, the Google Maps listings now come up before, in the middle, or beside the organic search results. So, even though your SEO campaign might be fantastic, it might still be 2nd in the rankings – but only to the Google Maps listings.
One may then ask how to improve their rankings in Google Maps. Although this is a tad more difficult to manipulate than organic search rankings, it’s still something that can be done through the usage of citations. Having a lot of citations alone is not enough to creep to the top of local listings, one must still pay attention to regular on-page and off-site SEO. You need to make sure that you have a lot of citations, and that they are all accurate. All of your citations need to have the same information. If a large portion of your citations are conflicting with each other, then that sense of validity will be very difficult for search engines to grasp.
Many link building tools can help you expand citations. But for the most part, it’s as simple as submitting the same address and business information to a number of directories. The more citations, the better chance you have at appearing closer to the top of the map listings.
Remember, you have to actually have an address within the search area. One cannot make thousands of citations for a service in one city, and hope to be found in listings in search areas more than one hundred miles away. Hence, the citations need to be relative to the search area. Once all of these guidelines have been taken into account, and you’ve started to build out your citations, you can expect their ranks in map listings to begin to improve.
Where Can I Get Citations For My Site?
For some examples of citations, and links to these and more, scroll to the bottom of our page and check out the Citations section in the Footer.
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