Usually when you hear that you have received a “citation” it is a bad thing, but in the online marketing world, the opposite is true. If you own a business and you have heard of or read about citations, you may have been confused about exactly what they are.
In simple terms, a citation in the online world refers to any time your company information is listed on a website. These include listings such as local directories, such as Yelp.com, YellowPages.com, and SuperPages.com.
Also, citations can be found on other types of websites such as local blogs, news website, employment sites, social media sites, government sites, the Chamber of Commerce site, and anything else that may mention your company.
Even if the mention has no link to your company’s website and only your company’s name is mentioned, it is still considered a citation.
However, the more information included, the better.
Why Citations Are Good
Any online exposure for your company will bring attention to your products and services, which you can obviously benefit from. Exposure opens you up to potential customers that may have previously passed you by; and citations play a vital role in helping you connect with these potential buyers.
In addition to that, citations are critical for search engine optimization today. Google and other search engines use citations to rank your business. The more citations you have, the higher your website will list in the search results. A higher ranking means more web traffic, which in turn equals more business for you.
So what is the key to getting more citations for your business? While there are a variety of ways to accomplish this, it all boils down to building more of a presence online.
However, several factors should be considered when building these citations.
Tips for Citations
At the very least, your citations should mention your company’s formal name, your physical address, and your local phone number (also called NAP for “Name, Address, Phone Number”) - and anything else that tells a search engine or a customer exactly who you are.
Even more important is that all of your citations are consistent and contain the exact same information. Using different addresses and phone numbers (except in the case of multiple locations) could actually hurt your ability to gain any benefits from them.
Finally, a citation is most effective when it is accompanied by as much information about your business as possible. So be sure to include your hours of operations, pictures, videos, details about your products and services, and any other helpful information you think your potential customers would like to have.