If you are not familiar with citation building, for many SEOs (including myself) it is the bane of their link building time due to the tediousness of entering the same data over and over. In order to express how important these citations are to local businesses, you need to first understand what they are and how they help.
The Ins and Outs of Citations:
What Are Local Citations?
Local Citations come in several forms, from local business directories to national niche directories. The idea is to get a listing with the business’ name, address, and phone number or NAP. Google will then pick up these listings and use them as one of many signals, to help rank your company’s website.
How Do Citations Help?
There are 3 distinct types of rankings present on Google depending on the search. These 3 types are Local, Organic, and Paid. Organic rankings will show up on every search regardless of the type. Here, I’ve searched for the term “news”, notice the lack of Paid and Local Listings:
If you search a term that allows advertising, you will see the Paid and Organic Rankings, here’s a search for the term “video players”:
And finally a local search, that includes a city or state, will bring up local results. This time, I’ve searched for the words “Los Angeles dentists” and this is the results page I was shown:
Notice the differences in this page than the other two. First you have the Maps Result in the top right corner:
And lastly, the local results or “7-Pack”:
These last 2 types of results are the results we’re focusing on when building citations.
Why are Maps and 7-Pack Results So Important?
These results, the 7-Pack especially, are huge in driving traffic to local companies. They have several distinct advantages over organic rankings. The first is the display of the address on the homepage, if you give consumers more information up front, they will be more likely to convert if they do go to your page. The other important feature of the 7-Pack is the reviews. The advantage of this is the same as the address; it will drive higher quality traffic that’s more likely to become a customer.
Local Citations are annoyances that are boring and monotonous. They are also extremely important in driving high quality traffic to your local business. Local Results provide customers with additional information about the company before they click on the search results. This has one major advantage over organic results, narrowing down your clicks to people that are more likely to convert by giving them an address and an aggregate review score.
For local businesses, citation building should always be a priority in order to drive traffic to your site and raise your conversion rate.
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