What Are Citation Sites and Why Are They So Important to the Success of Your Local Business?
Citations are listings of your business name, address and phone number (NAP) as well as other important information on other webpages. These webpages, known as Citation Sites are sites that consumers and search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing value and trust for their credibility.
Some of the sites will allow your customers to leave a review of your business and some will not. Examples of great citation sites include Yelp, Google Maps, Merchant Circle, Yellow Pages, Foursquare, Trip Advisor, Manta, Brownbook, Hotfrog, and Chamber of Commerce to name a few.
Citations are the FIRST KEY COMPONENT of the ranking algorithms in Google, Yahoo and Bing. Other factors being equal, businesses with a greater number of citations will rank higher for search than businesses with fewer citation site links.
Citations from well-established and well-indexed portals such as those on the SuperFifty List® help increase the degree of certainty the search engines have about your business's contact information and categorization.
As Jeff Peltin, Chief Marketing and Training Officer for MaxGroup Business Solutions explains, “Citations on the right sites help search engines confirm that businesses are who they say they are! Plain and simple, they tell Google, Yahoo and Bing your business can be trusted."
The more information about your company especially on the citation sites, the better for you. Most important of all is that all the information is correct and includes current contact information.
Citations are particularly important in less-competitive niches, like plumbing or electrical, where many service providers don't have websites themselves. Without much other information, the search engines rely heavily on whatever information they can find. In competitive industries, citations are a non-negotiable if you intend on ever getting found. Without proper ongoing citation management, you can expect to be in “Googles basement,” where businesses go to die.
Citations also validate that a business is part of a community. It's hard for someone to fake membership in a chamber of commerce or a city or county business index, or being written about in a local online newspaper or popular blog.
Common Questions and Answers About Citation Sites
“Why does my business need and what does it gain by being accurately listed on citation sites?” Citations and links from these kinds of websites will dramatically improve your local search engine rankings, and this will cause the search engines to return your business website as a trusted listing.
“Is this something that I can just do for myself?”
Citations will make or break your local SEO campaign, and they’re deceptively tricky. Just managing the SuperFifty List® and keeping it up to date and current and answering reviews can be a full time job.
“Do you let me pick which citation sites I want to be on?”
If you’re like most businesses, you wouldn’t know where to begin, and with literally hundreds of citation sites, how would you know which ones are valuable? Each site takes anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour to set up and to have them really count toward your SEO effort, and you want to be on at least 50 of them.
“How many citation sites do you plan to get me on?”
It depends on the SEO Plan you select from MaxGroup. The Local, Regional and National Plans include listing you on 200+ sites. The SEO Essentials© Plan, MaxGroup’s proprietary media marketing and management program, gets you listed on the SuperFifty List®, considered by search engines to be the 50 most important sites.
“Will you keep track of my login info and send it to me as soon as you’ve created my listings?”
Yes. MaxGroup’s proprietary software combined with our contracts with each citation site enables us to move faster and guarantee accuracy. We also send you weekly and monthly emails to report on the results.
“How do you plan on handling sites that I already have incorrect information on?”
If you want to claim and fix your listings on those sites, you (the business owner) or an employee will simply have to verify ownership by phone. It’s quick and easy, but a third party can’t do it for you. We can’t build those sites alone, but we will walk you through the verification processes, and then we’ll handle the rest of the process from there.
“How do you plan on handling duplicate sites and incorrect information on other sites?”
We suppress them permanently which is critical. Google’s algorithms are designed to pick up on duplicate sites (dupes) and incorrect or mismatched information. When the search engines see these flaws they immediately disqualify your website and eliminate it from high ranking search results.
“Will you show me exactly which sites are all set versus need work and which of them require me to do something?”
Yes, our engineers are working on your behalf with complete transparency to you, and you need to be able to see at a glance where each site stands, and if there are any lingering to-dos.
“Do you research the citations that matter in my local market?”
Absolutely. Our software immediately identifies and interfaces (speaks to) a “core” list of citations that are pretty much always important as well as the citation sites that seem to matter most in your particular industry and in your city or region.
“Bottom Line This for Me! What Will You Do That Benefits Me?”
We help businesses maximize their online presence with a personalized, efficient, effective and affordable approach to digital marketing by building an effective digital marketing strategy for your business and reach your target customers online.
We’ll help more customers find your business across the most important websites, directories and search engines. And we do all the heavy lifting for you. By leveraging our powerful people and platforms, we’ll build a visible, consistent and sustainable digital presence for your business that will result in more traffic and sales for you!
While traditional marketing has its place, consumer behavior has changed. According to a Google report, ‘Understanding Consumers' Local Search Behavior’, 4 in 5 consumers use search engines to find information on local businesses; and, 50% of local searches result in store/business visits within 24 hours.
Customers for your product/service are going to go to the business that they can find and that shows up as trustworthy of the consumers dollars. It will either be you, or your competitor. And THAT is the bottom line!
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