Using citations is perhaps the easiest method for maximizing local search marketing as a small or midsized business (SMB), and citations seem to be very important in 2013. For starters, a citation is a mention of a business' name, address and phone number on another website. Citations are a nice tool because a business does not actually need to have a web address to have citations, and they are an easy way to boost local SEO.
The more citations a business has, the higher it will be listed on Google Maps or Google Plus Local pages because the repeated and consistent listing of a business' address and phone number builds trust with major search engines like Google and Bing, conveying to them that a business is truly local.
To start acquiring citations, small business owners can go to getlisted.org to find out where their businesses are currently listed and where else they can be listed to optimize local search results. Next, begin listing the site on outside pages to build citations. The following pages are a good place to start:
- City Search
- Google place page marketing
These sites are the first step in building local SEO citations. To further improve citations, small business owners should also include hours of operation, specials, discounts and coupons in these listings.
Another option to build citations is writing guest blog posts, article marketing, submitting press releases and including address and contact information in all email signatures. SMB owners can connect with local bloggers who write about topics relevant to their businesses' products or services. Business owners will find that writing a guest post can improve their local SEO citations and help them reach out to potential new customers. It's a win-win situation, as blog owners benefit by being connected to their local communities and gaining the legitimacy that comes from being recognized in the community.
If a local SMB is in a less competitive industry, just a few good citations could boost that business above and beyond competitors that have not taken advantage of local SEO citations. Though citations are a new and increasingly important tool, SMBs should remember that a good number of favorable business reviews still ranks higher than citations in local search results. To this end, SMBs should also have a strategy for garnering favorable customer reviews.