Chances are, if you’re working with a local SEO company in Denver, you have heard the term “citations” used more than once. But what are they? Simply put, it’s any mention of your company on a webpage. The mention can be one or all of the following: your company’s name, phone number, address (NAP) and/or a link to your website.
Are Citations Important for Local SEO?
Absolutely! MOZ, an other industry leader in SEO, believes that 25% of your ranking in Google is based on the quantity and, more importantly, the quality of your citations.
Structured citations are typically found in directory sites such as DexKnows.com, Yelp.com and BotW.org, among others. In most cases, your company’s name, address, phone number and homepage will be listed in the directory in a structured manner.
When only a portion of your company’s contact information is listed on a webpage, it’s considered an unstructured citation. A good example is when one of your customers writes about you on a blog or forum. They might only mention your company’s name or link to your homepage. Other common sources of unstructured citations include local newspapers, job posting boards and event sites. Unstructured citations can be valuable in helping local SEO efforts.
Quality citations can be broken down into two segments:
First is the consistency of your NAP across different sources. You want to make sure your name, address and phone number are consistent across every source. Make sure you list “St.” if your business is on a street. Also, don’t us an 800 number; use your local phone line instead.
Inconsistent citations can do more harm than good. Google compares all your citations and more matches will make Google will trust the information, thereby awarding you with higher rankings.
The second part of quality is the source. If you get mentioned on a respected website Google trusts, the notation will carry more weight for local SEO than getting mentioned on your brother-in-law’s blog. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a major site, but a local newspaper or TV station are great sources for local citations
Naturally, the more quality citations you have, the better your rankings will be. We recommend you start with structured citations, because they’re typically easy to get. Once you have completed structured citations, you can move onto the unstructured ones. However, they require more time invested and are more difficult to receive.
Sources of Unstructured Citations
Look at where your competitors are listed. Do a search for their phone number and see where they come up, then search their address. Its not hard to get unstructured citations, it just takes some effort. Getting unstructured citations can be some work and require a little ingenuity sometimes. A few great ideas we’ve seen work tremendously well include:
- Try sponsoring a local charity or event. Typically, they will have a “thanks to our sponsors” pages.
- Provide discounts to local schools, clubs and non-profits.
- Offer a yearly scholarship. It’s easy to set up a scholarship and you can get some great citations across multiple university websites.
- Post jobs in local newspapers, even the small neighborhood ones.
- Ask your vendors to list you on their website.
Now, before you run out and create hundreds of citations, you should check what citations already exist for your business. Citation cleanup is challenging, and you can read more about it at How to Clean Up Your Local SEO Citations.
Building citations might not sound sexy but it’ll help you raise your rank in Google as long as your NAP is consistent. Citations are also a good source for traffic generation. While you might not currently use any citation sources for your personal use, some of your potential customers are. Contact us to discuss setting up a crossroads where customers browsing the web and your business can intersect.