When I say “citation”, I’m not talking about a virtual cop pulling your website over for speeding, and then issuing you with a “citation”. What I’m referring to are online citations for businesses – the kind that can really help your website in local search rankings. (Yeah, nothing like the image you first thought, eh?)
You’ve probably heard the terms ‘link building’ and ‘keywords’ thrown around by internet marketers before; they were (not so long ago) some of the essential tools to achieve peak search engine optimisation (SEO) results. But as you probably already know, high ranking factors have changed a lot lately, making those previous methods no longer enough for effective SEO. But because the internet isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, taking the time to research & add new techniques, like citations, correctly to your toolbox of SEO strategies is well worth the effort. So without further ado, let’s introduce: The Online Citation!
What’s A Citation? (if it’s not a traffic offense)
There’s a bit of debate as to what the exact form of a citation looks like; but it’s literally any mention of your business on the internet – regardless of its hyper-linked to your site or not. Because of its ‘loose’ structure, a citation can be a combination of (but not limited to):
- Your business phone number – by itself
- Your business name – on its own
- Your business name with a physical address
- Your business name combined with your phone number
- Your business name mixed with your phone number and address (AKA – The Complete Citation)
- Or all the above – plus a link (AKA – The Mac Daddy Complete Citation)
Okay, okay…you ‘get’ what a citation is. What’s it to you as an online business owner?
Why You Should Care.
Because online citations for businesses play a big role in how your site will rank in local searches. Let me explain that a bit more…back in early 2011, Google unveiled their “Blended Place Search” – merging its organic algorithm with the Google Places Local Businesses index. Yeah…okay, so what? Right? Well, as you probably already know, when the “Panda“, “Venice” and “Penguin” updates came out it sunk a lot of low quality sites. But what I bet you didn’t know was, that after everything settled down with those updates, Local Organic search results started to float to the top.
Ahhhh!! Make sense now? Because citations list geographical components, they become a key factor for search engines (like Google) in pin-pointing if your business is local (more suitable) for the person conducting the search. So there…now that you know you should most definitely care about online citations – what next?
Structured vs. Unstructured
You’re most likely familiar with ‘structured’ citations, they’re classic-looking listings on sites like the Yellowpages.com and Yelp.com. The ‘unstructured’ type are usually found on news sites, job websites, blogs and so on. Even though having both citation types are good, the unstructured ones are the little gems you’re after; because they can add a lot of value to your local listings. Sounds easy enough so far, now how can your business benefit from citations?
Getting a Citation
It can happen naturally, by other websites listing your business details because it provides a service to their visitors. But citations can also form an active part of a good online marketing strategy. By using a Local Citation Finder, you can analyze the usefulness of citations – just like how one would go about doing keyword research. But be careful, just like backlinks, not all citations are created equal. Simply listing your business details on any old website isn’t a guarantee it’ll help you (could even do damage!). So make sure to do some research first, submit your citation to reputable sites, and watch how a business citation improves your local listing results.
If you had a hard time following how citations can help you with your SEO campaign and want more information, or would like us to improve your rankings through local search listings, click here to contact Melbourne SEO Services. Our helpful online marketing specialists – who always use best practices for business – will get the right online citations for your business, and fast.