Why Consistent Local Citations Are So Important!

I was having trouble finding an article to communicate the importance of consistent local citations, so I wrote my own to make this subject a bit less complicated.

What is the citation?

A Citation is a mention of your business anywhere online that includes your name, address and phone number (also known as a NAP). These include your Google+ Pages, Yelp, YP, Linkedin, Citypages, Better Business Bureau, business Facebook pages etc. These are not just important for Google maps, but they drive leads to your business and give you legitimacy. Here is a list of the top citations by US city.

If you stop reading this article right now — please take this advice with you: KEEP YOUR CITATIONS CONSISTENT!

For example, the citation for my business is:

JM Digital Marketing
3467 Adina Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90068
(310) 666-5449

JMDigitalMarketing.com (optional)

I would advise you to include your website, but this is optional.

Remember: NAP = name, address, phone number!!

picture of a local ciration

Where did I find MY citation?

On your Google plus page. If you haven't set one up already, it is imperative that you do. This gives Google the longitude and latitude on Google maps as well as verifies you as real. Once you have set your Google+ Page, you are married to that address, so select it carefully.

Why consistent citations are so important? It may sound like crazy talk, but Google, Yahoo and Bing all sat down together in 2011 and agreed to recognize “structured data” (or Schema). To overly-simplify it, “Schema” is fancy geek-talk for a NAP.

If you are setting up your business online for the first time or you've been online for a while it is crucial to follow these steps or you can really screw up your online presence.

  1. Always keep every element with an your citation consistent. If the name of your business is “Bob's Accounting” don't refer to it “Bob's Accountants” elsewhere. You have to remember that these are robots (spiders) crawling your pages for information. They don't make rational decisions! To spiders “Bob's Accounting” and “Bob's Accountants” are two completely different businesses!
  2. If “Bob's Accounting” Address is “1781 West Cliff Ave” on your Google+ page use it exactly that every time it appears online. For example: Don't deviate and use “1781 W Cliff Avenue” for the same reason I mention above – you will confuse the poor spiders!
  3. If your business is a local business, use a local phone number: DO NOT use 1-800 numbers! The telephone number of your business should match the area-code of the city in which you operate. This also includes tracking numbers! It's OK to use a tracking number to track performance on a television spot or radio campaign campaign, but don't publish them on the web. It creates inconsistent data.
  4. If you find your business is listed on a directory site: Claim it! This way you remain in control and don't have to worry about having a competitor hijack it.
  5. If your business moves addresses make sure your business listings and move with it! This is where I see most fall into a quagmire. Maybe you decided to go to the DIY route, but now the usernames and passwords are scattered, missing, or (worse yet) are in the hands of an ex-employee. This creates a potential nightmare scenario! Keep a list of all your local citations with usernames and password in a simple spreadsheet like this.
  6. Do not create duplicate citations! If there's one thing search engines hate, it's duplicate content. If you don't how access to your Yelp listing, don't create another one. Get the one that's there deleted or get control of the original. Duplicate listings trigger spam penalties, something you don't want.

Does this sound like a giant pain in the ass? It is! However, as they say in the fitness world: “No pain, no gain.” If you have play your cards right, this is the reward: A nice juicy spot in the local “3-park” or “six pack”! (depending on Google's mood)

GOOGLE 3-PACK

If you've made it this far: Congratulations! You now know the importance of consistent citations!

This doesn't just apply to Google either. Your results on the other search engines are likely to be very similar. Since all the big search engines are using the same structured data — the big directories such as Yelp, Cirtpages, and Foursqaure do as well.

This is only one of a myriad factors that determine whether your site gets exposure online or not. There are companies that can take on this Herculean task (shameless plug). We have ranked clients working some of the most competitive industries in the most saturated cities in the United States without that much difficulty. Chances are, you business will be a cakewalk.

Contact us, and let's talk and see how we can help you.


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