Citation Inconsistency Hurts Your Local SEO

Written by: Jason Bayless | May 03, 2016

Believe it or not, the way that you create your address and phone number online can make a huge difference in the visibility of your business. The major search engines, led by Google, are turning a very precise eye to the business listings that they promote on their sites. It pays to understand exactly what these websites are program to uplift and what they will bury. Here are the top tips about citations that you need to understand in order to improve your search engine optimization efforts this year.

Claim all of your business pages on Google.

In order to have the best presence within the major search engines, you need to have all of your business pages claimed on Google Business and Google Maps. The Google Pigeon update connects all of these pages and tests for citation inconsistency. Make sure that you are putting all of the same information on all of these pages so that will have the best chance of high visibility on Google. The other major search engines follow the lead of Google in this arena, so you will build a positive online presence from a simple double check of your information here.

Even if you do not have a storefront, you can create a business profile on Google that places you in a certain local area. Google actually has specific pages for just this type of business. You can choose between a Brand page or a Service Area page. Regardless of your proximity to a physical address, any citation that you place on these pages should be consistent with all of the other pages.

The smallest change makes a huge difference.

You may not think that a small change makes a big difference when it comes to your address, phone number and other contact information, but it does. You must realize that you are dealing with a computer that does not connect an address with an apartment number and an address without an apartment number. It will see these listings as two different addresses. Therefore, you may receive negative feedback on your search engine ranking. This may even cause confusion within the algorithm, causing the business to be completely overlooked.

If you have a change that you need to implement over one of the platforms, make sure you implement over all of the platforms. Ping the platforms so that the change will be instantly updated in the Google algorithm. This process is not difficult, and it can be done for absolutely free. Take the time to update all of your pages at once so that there is no discrepancy between addresses or any of your other contact information for any length of time.

Understand all of the guidelines.

When you create your description on your business pages, make sure that you do not just paste text that is copied from your website. This will be viewed negatively by the major search engines. Do not stuff keywords into your description; this will also have a negative effect on your local search engine optimization.

Try to stay away from special characters, as these tend to cause confusion on Google and in the other major search engines. Keep away from the legal designations as well unless having an LLC is part of your branding effort.

When it comes to a local business, it is always best to have a local phone number rather than an 800 number. Make sure that your physical location and the area that you serve has the same zip code.