When it comes to SEO for local business listing rankings, nothing is nearly as important as business citations.

This is because local is booming. Google states 97% of consumers search for local businesses online.

What does this mean to you? It means if you do business in your local area, you better be visible online!

The Importance of Local SEO

Well besides the astonishing fact from Google above, you just need to establish your local brand presence.

Local search is expanding, and more SERPs being dominated by local real estate.

This is evident between local search results showcased via Google Maps, the Local Carousel, and the Google “7 pack”.

This is big for…uh…small…businesses as there are more avenues to outrank national brands in the SERPs.

Search engines want to provide the most relevant solution to their users. In 2012, Google launched the Venice Update which basically intertwined more local placements into the organic search results.

The same month Venice was launched, the Suggest Update was released for YouTube which strived to make YouTube search results more locally relevant based on the location of the searcher.

This signified an increased effort by Google to bring more localized results to your searches regardless of your search medium.

Los Angeles Local SEO Search Results

 

What Are Business Citations?

You can think of citations as any mention of your business online.

Typically, this listing will include at least one of the following: Business Name, Business Address, or Business Phone Number.

You may have seen this called NAP listings (Name, Address, Phone Number).

The ideal citation would include all 3, and all 3 would accurately reflect your current business information.

The ultimate goal is to increase your online exposure, and make your brand easily distinguishable through local business listings.

The problem is your local business citations may or may not have been listed by you, leading to many inconsistencies and errors between citations.

The last thing you want is to lose a potential customer because they didn’t have accurate information to reach you with.

Google Local Business ListingsLocal Business Listings (Citations)

If you look at the 2013 Local Search Ranking Factors you will notice that 55% of the weight relates directly to accuracy and volume of local business citations.

Listings can be anywhere online, but some places are better than others when it comes to your business niche or category.

Interestingly enough, tests by Nifty Marketing showed that accuracy of citations was a bigger factor in local business listing rankings than the amount of citations a business had.

Knowing this, you may want to make sure your citations are accurate across all current listings before you attempt to acquire more.

If you think about that, it makes sense. Nothing screams relevancy more to a search engine than a collective group of search results all saying the same thing.

So how can you fix your citation listing accuracy?

Local Citation Data Aggregators

If you want to go straight to the source of citation data, head to the data aggregators.

Data aggregators comb the web and suck up as much business information as they can find, and then proceed to feed it out to thousands of listing directories and business information sources.

The primary data aggregators are Infogroup, Neustar, Factual, and Acxiom.

Verifying that your information is correct with these sites will help ensure most of your citations are accurate across the internet.

Resources For Checking & Finding Local Business Citations

There are a many tools you can use to search for and check the accuracy of your business citations.

Your more basic tools will find your current citations and list them for you, to more advanced that will fix inconsistencies and find more listing opportunities.

Popular websites that offer software or services that assist you with citation search, fixing, and building include Yext, Whitespark, and Moz Local.

Just make sure you understand what is included and not included when choosing a software or service. Some services will cancel or remove all
citations built through them if you decide to stop using them.

Got Local?

If you haven’t got into the ‘local mindset’ you need to start…like…today!

If you are a local business it just makes sense to be seen in local search results. It is another spot in the SERPs you have a chance to appear
versus non-local businesses.

If you are confused about the local process, or simply don’t know where to start, I’ll put a shameless plug in for our local SEO services.

We will audit your current listings, fix inconsistencies, and then make sure you are in all the right spots based on your industry and services.

Either way, get local or get lost…in the search results!