Local Citation Building: Ultimate Guide

Local Citation Building

Let’s say you own a local landscaping business. You’ve got yourself a shiny new website to help attract more clients and let everyone know you’re here.

Read also: Local Landing Pages

It’s got a sleek design, a smart structure, and you’re even keeping the blog updated with helpful gardening guides full of relevant keywords.

And yet, you’re not getting the influx of email inquiries you’d hoped for.

You’ve put in the groundwork (pardon my pun), but you’re not seeing the fruits of your labour (sorry, couldn’t help myself).

To get found by local customers you need to rank highly in local Google search results, and this is something you can’t leaf to chance.

Sorry, that’s the last thyme.

I mean time.

If keywords are the roots that anchor your website to Google’s index, then local citations are the fertiliser that’s going to give you a boost on the search engine results pages.

‘What are local citations?’

I hear you cry.

Well, since you asked…

Local citations are examples of when your business is mentioned on other websites. To count as a local citation, the mention doesn’t have to link to your website, although that always helps.

The citation does need to include your business name, address, and contact information. There are a range of ways you can get your business mentioned online, which we’ll get into later.

But for now, let’s look at why it’s important to build local citations.

How Do Local Citations Work?

Local citation building is one area of local SEO that shouldn’t be ignored if you want to appear on search engine results pages for local searches. That’s because Google wants to bring relevant and trusted information to its users, and one way that it can determine if you’re a trusted source is to corroborate your information with other websites.

If you’re a local business with your own website, but there’s no mention of you in any online directories or local news outlets, you don’t appear very reputable. However, if Google can crossmatch information from your website with other websites, for example, your business address and phone number, then it gives your website and business more credibility.

And credibility is exactly what Google is looking for when it brings results to its users.

Essentially, the more times your business is mentioned online, the more prominent and authoritative you look to search engines, and therefore you’ll appear more prominently on their SERPs. More prominence on Google translates into more traffic to your website, which means more opportunities to convert visitors into customers.

Types of Local Citations

There are two types of local citations, and both are valuable to your local SEO efforts. A structured local citation is usually found in an online directory or review site, such as Yell, Tripadvisor, or TrustPilot. Structured citations will look something like this:

Local Citation

Unstructured citations are the second type of local citation, and these are instances where your business is mentioned in a more natural context online. This could happen when someone on social media recommends your services, or you might appear in a local news story.

To count as a citation, your business name and contact details need to be supplied.

Build Your Local Citation Profile

Now you know what local citations are and why they’re important to local SEO. But how can you build them for your website?

Create Structured Citations

The great thing about structured citations is that these can be created by you, making them a quick and easy way to build your local citation profile.

Start with a Google Business Profile, then add the details of your business to as many relevant directories you can find. Online directories such as Yell will allow you to set up a business listing for free.

You should also set up a number of social media profiles and create a structured citation with your business name, address, contact details, and website. If you come across examples of structured citations online that are incorrect, for example, there’s a mistake in your postcode, be sure to remedy this since errors can damage your online trustworthiness.

You want to ensure consistency across all of your local citations as this helps search engines to recognise that you’re a reputable business. This includes consistent business opening hours and typos in contact details.

Create Unstructured Citations

Unstructured citations are typically those you have less control over, but not always.

You can get yourself mentioned for free in the local press by doing things that are newsworthy and letting local news outlets know about it.

For example if you’re launching a new service, or adding a new premises to your business, a local online news site may be interested in this. Holding charity or community events can also help you get mentions on local websites, for example consider sponsoring a local school’s summer fair or raising money for a local hospital.

Run a Google search for your business and trawl through all of the results to see where you are already mentioned online. Get in touch with these websites and ask that they list your address and phone number alongside your company name, to transform a mention into an unstructured citation.

Local Citation Management

Once you’ve gotten to grips with local citation building and ensured your business is mentioned on a range of other websites, remember the work doesn’t end there. It’s an ongoing process.

Since you’re not the only one who can mention your business online, you need to keep track of any local citations that appear and ensure they’re correct. You may also need to update local citations if you move business address, change your phone number, or alter your opening hours.

A good way to keep on top of local citations is to set up a Google Alert for your business name so that you get notified any time your business is mentioned online.

Now That We’ve Reached the End

Local citation building is a major part of local SEO. If you’re running a business that relies on local custom, such as a florist, a hair salon, a restaurant, or a window cleaning service, then you need to get on board with this.

This is going to make you easier to find online when anyone local to you conducts a search for the type of product or service you offer, and ultimately bring you more leads and potential customers.

How will anyone find you if they don’t know you exist?

Want some guidance for your site? Contact us today.

Karli Edmondson-Matthews
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