There are a whole host of factors that go into ranking a website, but for local SEO the appearance of citations plays a major part. Citations are simply mentions of your business across the web, whether this includes the full name, address, and phone number, or just your brand name. The citation might link back to your site, or just be a mention without a backlink. With much of local SEO relying on relevance and geography, having mentions from authoritative sites in your community can engender trust in your business.
Sifting through local business listings and search platforms can be time-consuming, but a data aggregator has already done this work for you. In most cases, this type of service will charge a fee, but it can be a simple way to get your business listed across various platforms. Services such as Express Update, Yelp, and Neustar Localeze take your business information and submit it to search engines, local business directories, car navigation systems, and other relevant places. Submitting through an aggregator can help your business in the search engines, while also allowing people to find you through other local sources.
Social Media Properties
The link between effective SEO and social media is hard to ignore, but it is not just about having a social media presence. Your social media profiles usually provide an area to include your full business details. The major sites, including LinkedIn, Google +, Facebook, and Tumblr, all allow you to post your personal biography details. If you become active on these sites, your profile page will usually grow in authority, creating a powerful backlink. Many social media sites include groups or pages dedicated to local business, and this can also offer you the chance to add your business.
Track Your Competition
A quick way to uncover a host of citation opportunities is to see what your competitors are doing. To do this, choose the highest ranking competitors, track their links, and add your own business to these locations. The more time-consuming option, which is also free, is to search in Google for variations of your competitors name, address, and phone number, using quotations marks to create a specific phrase search. You will need to search through a number of listings to get some results, but the process is simple to complete. To speed up results, use a paid service like Majestic SEO, Moz, or SEMrush, in order to generate a list of backlinks with detailed analytics.
In almost every location and regional area, various bloggers will be actively creating content. While a more general blog is unlikely to add your citation, niche or geographically related blogs may be happy to include you. If a blog has a resource page, you could discuss adding your site if you can show you provide value. If this is not possible, sending out a press release can provide a reason for writing about your business, with references to your business name included.
Host an Event
This might not be possible for every type of business, but hosting an event is a good way to generate a number of citations. Hosting the event from your business location will require sites to include your address details, whether they include a backlink or not, so you benefit from a number of local, relevant citations. If your facilities allow it, you could host a small gathering for business leaders, a charity event, or a discount sale. To generate your citations, along with some great promotion, contact local blogs, online newspapers, event listing sites, and local social media groups.
Citations are only one part of a strong local SEO campaign, but they are arguably the most important. A collection of citations can improve your trust level from the search engine’s perspective, allowing you to get ranked for a variety of related keywords. In most cases, citations are easy to achieve, and allow you to spend more time developing your business.