We live in a world where almost everything is done online, and it is through the internet, making it essential that your business can easily be found online.
Gone are the days when people picked up their local phone directory and leafed through the yellow pages until they found the business to suit their needs. The world moves at a faster pace, with more distractions, more options, but also more opportunity for you and I!
As a business owner, you may wonder how some businesses prominently show up in search engines and others don’t. It has been said that there are over 200 factors that search engines use to determine the best results for a search. Not only that, but nearly every day there are changes to those factors!
Those with the best visibility are doing something right, would you agree? But what is it? Perhaps it is:
- Professional Web Design?
- Compelling, and Diverse Content?
- Effective SEO?
But what about citations? Could it perhaps be that they are doing well because they are getting traffic to their website through local business directories? Could it be that Google sees them as a relevant search result because the business is sending signals of consistency and stability to Google, thereby helping their search rankings? I think so….
Often overlooked when creating an effective online marketing strategy is the use of citations.
Citations are an integral part of an online strategy for any local business that wants to be found in more places online, and get in front of more eyeballs.
What is a Citation?
Citations are just what they sound like, a mention of your company online. This typically happens in business directories.
There are a plethora of online directories to choose from and it is important to be able to reach your target demographic by choosing the directories that will reach your target audience. Search engines such as Google, Yahoo, Bing, and Yellowpages.com all have directories in them that allow people to search businesses in a target area. More and more people are turning to these online directories every day to find exactly the business they need in their specific location.
What Should be in a Citation?
While, we have covered this in previous posts BUT understanding the things more and better, an effective citation building is done through looking at basics like the type of business you run, your business name, zip code, city, and address of your location. These are then delivered to various online search engines to help your business get the recognition it deserves, but ALSO to help you get traffic from those websites.
Other factors that go into effective citation building are your business hours of operation, including the days of the week your business operates. Consider adding any special coupons or discounts your business is offering. Often times adding a couple can make you stand out a bit more than the other listings in the directory.
Why Citations Matter
Let’s face it. People don’t wanna wait. They want instant gratification. Online searches are now conducted anywhere with almost everyone connected to the web wherever they go. As smartphones have gained in popularity in recent years, almost everyone carries one of these devices that helps them stay connected no matter where they are. If someone needs the service or product you are offering, chances are they will use their mobile device to look for a business just like yours. Most search engines have mobile apps that allow users to locate a business wherever they are.
Having your business listed in search engines people use the most will increase traffic to your location. When people see that your business comes up in a directory they have searched online your chances of a new client increase tremendously. You may want to localize the data you supply to online directories through citation building to reach the best local areas available through the internet. When you localize your data, you reach more areas within your target demographic and will draw people from a further distance.
Use all Available Resources
When building effective citations don’t limit your business to only local directories. There are many places on the internet that people go for information. Social media sites are popular amongst people of all ages and are an excellent citation building tool. You may also want to look into local business directories, becoming listed with your local chamber of commerce. The bottom line is that you want to spread your citations in as many trustworthy and reliable websites as possible so your business is easily found and you get the clients you deserve and that need your service.
What are you doing to ensure you have your citation strategy in place?