Doing citations for SEO the right way
In the matter of SEO web design can offer a lot of on-site activities to improve the website compliance with best practices, however they will prove to be insufficient if they’re not counterpoised with off-site activities. One of the most important off-site activities is improving your website’s presence in the internet. You will find that when it comes to local Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), online citations are essential. That means if you don’t have citations for SEO, you are missing out on lots of benefits – including map visibility, being found in local search results, local brand awareness, and a gain in website domain authority. In this blog post, I am going to talk about how you can get benefit from local SEO by doing online citations the right way.
What are online citations, and why do they matter?
A citation is a reference to your brand, which usually comes as a business directory listing. The citation represents your business for a particular place, providing contact details such as a telephone number or web link. Citations increase your brand’s visibility by differentiating you from others in your field, and cement your reputation with positive validation from a trusted source, such as a directory or search engine.
Organise your website
The first step for building strong citations is to organize your business address, telephone number, business hours and email address into the proper place. Customers must be able to find these details on the first attempt if you are going to get their business. If a customer cannot find the contact details right away, they are likely to hit the back button and go looking for your competitors instead.
Make use of clickable telephone and email links. Many customers will use their mobile to contact a business directly. If you make it easy for your visitors to get in touch, they are far more likely to do so.
Map your business on Google Maps
Most of us search for businesses on Google Maps when we need to find directions to places. Google Maps highlights relevant companies within the searcher’s geographic area, along with contact details and a website link. For that reason, if you don’t have a Google Maps listing you are missing lots of opportunities every time someone searches for a business. Create a listing and you have built another strong online citation for SEO for your company.
What are web directories and how do you find good ones?
A web directory is an online catalogue of websites. There are a lot of web directories in the world. Some of them are available for every person in the world, while some of them are only available for one particular country or region.
When it comes to citations, you need use web directories that are geographically specific to your target audience. For example, if you have a coffee shop in London, it’s better to use the UK web directories. Also, if you are located in Wales, it’s better to use Welsh-specific web directories than London-specific web directories.
You need to search for web directories with a lot of traffic and plenty of authority. Let’s see how we can find them. Go to the search engine, and search for “business directories”, adding “your area” or “your business type” to the search. The results page should bring up plenty of trusted directories with a ton of established web traffic. These leading directories are where your competitors are building citations – and you need to get in on the action with a listing of your own, in order to compete within the market.
Creating citations for SEO
Remember that online citations must be entirely free from mistakes. A mistake in citation details can damage your brand: not only can it prevent customers from contacting you, but it can also harm the authority of that citation. Always double check that the address, phone number and any web links are accurate.
As a seo web development London company, we are highly experienced at creating citations for SEO. We use the leading directories to create targeted listings that have a great chance of success. This builds a strong online presence for our clients, and ensures they have a brand presence right where the potential market is searching for their service.
Adding listings and contact details to directories is usually a simple and straightforward process. You can verify your company’s details through email in most cases. Some directories require further verification, such as HTML code or telephone verification. You may get a call or email from the directory managers, asking you to approve the listing details and confirm you are responsible for that business.
If a directory requires HTML verification, you will receive a piece of code which must be added to your own site’s home page HTML. The verification process confirms that your web presence is genuine – and builds confidence among your consumers that you are indeed a legitimate company with a verified physical and online presence.
Reminders for citation builders
When adding your listing to a web directory, it is important to create a short description of your business and its services. This description has several functions. It confirms to the customer that they have found the right business to serve their needs, and it tells the customer why they should choose you over the competition.
If you are creating several listings for the different elements of your business, remember to give each a unique description. Reusing the same content can appear like spam, and it can create a negative impression of your business among your potential customers. The directory itself may also knock back listings it views as spam, either by listing them lower in the rankings or by not having duplicate listings appear at all. For example, if you submit your business to 20 directories, you need to create 20 descriptions.
It is good business practice to check on your citations often, and ensure that everything is going smoothly. Make a habit of checking your citations once per month. The checks should include all contact details and web links, plus the details contained in the descriptions. If the nature of your business changes, or if you introduce a new product or service, be sure to add a new listing to cover this expansion. If you have a number of different citations across many different directories, it is a good idea to create a spreadsheet for citation management. This allows you to track the status of each individual citation and identify where changes may be needed.
Creating citations is not a complicated process, but you have to do it without a single mistake. It represents your business in a particular place and provides a clear path to your company for web traffic, so accuracy is crucial. An incorrect listing can damage your SEO benefits, and prevent potential customers from reaching out to you.
Always do your research before signing up with web directories. You need high traffic platforms that are respected by their users, and which are relevant to the area you serve and the service you offer. Use Google to identify the most popular directories used by people who are searching for your kind of company.
Create your own system for managing your citations, and use the master list of citations to perform regular checks on each of your directory links. This monthly maintenance is critical, as it ensures your citations are still working at their best for you. To confirm that your citations are making progress and performing well, take advantage of the many analytics tools available. These can give you an idea of how much traffic your directory listings are attracting. Combine this information with your own sales data, and you can see whether the listings are contributing to your overall conversion rate.
We hope that this post has given you some solid information about the importance of building citations, and about how to go about creating and managing directory listings. Citations are crucial for proper SEO web design, and should not be neglected when building your online presence. For more information on online citations, or to see how our web development London company can assist your business, please contact us via our website or add your comments below this post.