When you hear the word “citation,” you probably think back to your college days where you had to learn the inner workings of MLA, APA or other documentation styles. However, now that you are a business owner, you assume that your days of citations are behind you; after all, you are producing your own content. While you don’t need to cite your own ideas, you do need to know about local SEO citations.
Defining Local SEO Citations
Before you can learn about why local SEO citations are important, you need to know what they are. An SEO citation is the name of your business, the address and the phone number. The citation might include other information such as the website address or the email address at which you can be located and contacted. You may think that it isn’t a big deal to pay too much attention to business citations that are floating around the internet. In fact, however, correct citations add value to your business, and incorrect ones can steal your business.
Citations on Your Website
You must make sure that the information on your website is correct throughout all of the pages. Contact information should be available, generally on the bottom of each page. You likely also want to have a page specifically for contacting the company that provides more in-depth information and perhaps even a submission box for comments and questions. If the citations are incorrect on your own site, it looks unprofessional. Also, when people constantly have to click to other pages to simply find the address or phone number, they may become frustrated.
Citations Elsewhere on the Web
Now that you have covered the citations on your website, you may think that you are finished. However, citations can appear other places on the internet. For example, they may appear in local listings. If you do not currently have your business in local listings, you need to get it there. When people type in the name of your company into a search engine, an address and phone number may pop up. Someone may have added listing information for your company on social media sites. You must conduct a thorough investigation to find out if these listings are correct. Imagine how much business you might have already lost if people are constantly getting the wrong phone number or address for your business.
Why Citations Matter Especially for Local Businesses
Chances are, you use some local businesses yourself for products or services that your company does not offer. Think about the last time you were sitting in a coffee shop by yourself or sitting in the parking lot right after packing your car up with items from the store. You may have taken out your phone to see where you could find the next set of items on the errands list, and a local company popped up. You were able to easily navigate your way to the establishment because the correct address was available. Also, the option to click one button and obtain directions was there. That is why citations are so important for local businesses. Right now, someone may very well be trying to get to your company, but the lack of local citations or incorrect local citations may be preventing him or her from accomplishing that goal.
Local citations are not just random bits of information that you can ignore. Instead, you need to take the time to consider how these citations affect your company and how their absence or lack of accuracy can produce negative effects. Now is the time to start fixing them for a more prolific 2016.