The globalization of the economy through the Internet has come full circle—now, brands are working to build their online reputation and still deliver solutions for local clients who need assistance. Ultimately, local SEO becomes a part of the greater SEO strategy for an organization, but today it’s an increasingly important part of the equation for total optimization of your online presence.
Local SEO refers to the use of location-based keywords in your website content, directory listings, and other online profiles. You can even incorporate local terms into your Facebook and other social media accounts, maximizing the chances that your business will be found when people search for your specific industry and the area in which they live.
What about local SEO citations, though? These little gems are going to be more valuable to your efforts than you may realize. And when you find out just what these citations are, you might be surprised that you’ve heard of them before by another name: NAP.
That’s right—your NAP, or “name, address, phone number” is the same thing as a local citation or local SEO citation. Citations include any online mention of a business’s name, address, and phone number. These can be found on:
As we’ve discussed previously, your citations must be the same across the board for the sake of search engine rankings, credibility, and so forth.
Of course, the name, address, and phone number are just the beginning of your local SEO citations. In addition to the NAP, some citations may also include reference links or backlinks, as well as:
Basically, these citations can contain just about any identifying information that helps people better understand your business and what you have to offer. Having local citations will ensure that you have a higher chance of being found in search results because you have a bigger online presence. It will also boost your credibility, as we mentioned, because search engines take businesses seriously when they work hard to create and perfect local SEO citations.
Your local citations will either have a positive or negative impact on your search rankings, consumers, and business image as a whole. When it comes to search rankings, it’s not just having a large number of citations that matters. You also need to have accurate, high-quality data on reputable platforms. For example, five listings on premium directories are much more effective than 50 listings on questionable or borderline-spam directory sites.
Consistency and quality build trust, both with your customers and with search engines. Not only that, but when you have accurate citations, you can help your existing and potential customers discover your business, which can increase traffic in several ways. If your citations are inaccurate or inconsistent, that’s going to cost you valuable reputation points, as well as profits down the line.
Local SEO citations are just one part of the local strategy to improve the three “R’s”: reputation, rankings, and revenue. To keep these things in line, you need to take an active role in managing your local citations in any way that you can.
You have a few different options on how to proceed when it comes to getting your business listed online. You can choose manual submission and do it yourself or pay someone to do it for you. The other option is to use an aggregator that will submit your citation to hundreds of other websites and directories. If you do it yourself, it will take some time, but it will guarantee that everything is just the way that you want it and that the listings are consistent across the board.
You could also pay someone to manually submit all of your NAP listings across the Internet. Perhaps you’ve got a limited bandwidth issue, or you just don’t have the time to do the tedious work, this could be a good solution. Once you’re done submitting the listings, you’ll have to track where they’re at so that you can go back and manage them over time and as things change.
Take an active role in managing your citations. Don’t wait until someone submits a correction or makes a complaint. Check out your NAP listings regularly and make sure that everything is up to par. If you notice that there are issues with consistency or some cleanup that needs to be done to appease the ranking gods (and keep your business looking professional), you can also find auditing tools that will assist you in your efforts. And again, you can also pay someone or hire a third party to handle all the auditing and corrections, too.
Once you’ve got a solid local optimization strategy in place with plenty of citations, or directory listings, you’ll be ready to start fielding all the leads that come in. But do you have the resources in place? For starters, you need a 24/7 answering service to ensure that you never miss a lead. In addition, check out the lead intake, appointment scheduling, and live website chat solutions from the virtual receptionists at Smith.ai. While you’re building your local presence, we can help field the leads and more. Plus, if you’re still working on the marketing, ask about our outbound sales support and assistance with outreach campaigns, too. We’ll handle all your needs, no matter what those might be, and include a custom strategy to manage it all.