Local business listings management shouldn’t be optional for businesses today, not when most consumers use search engines like Google to look for local companies. As someone operating locally, you can’t afford to discount the importance of having a local business listing and put citation management on the backburner.
Consider this: Google partnered with Ipsos MediaCT to understand consumers’ local search behavior and the impact of a local SEO citation for a business. The search engine company discovered that four in five consumers use search engines to find local business information – searching for a business address, operating hours and such.
Fifty percent of the consumers who searched using their smartphones alone visited a store. The study also concluded searches leading to local search citations led to more purchases than non-local ones. Now, you may be asking: What are local citations?
By the end of this article, you’ll understand what local citations are, which directories you should include in your business listings management strategy and the importance of an accurate and consistent name, address and phone number (NAP) across your local citations.
What Are Citations in SEO?
They are mentions or references of your business’s name, address and phone number found in local business directories or anywhere online. A local business listing allows you to attract your target audience: potential customers, partners or investors.
If you have a brick-and-mortar store with a website, having accurate business citations will establish business credibility, increasing your business site and foot traffic.
The Most Prominent Local Citation Service Online
We gathered data through Ahrefs in May 2022 to help you with your local search citations strategy. As a result, you’ll see the volume of monthly visitors and Domain Rating (DR) of each site on our shortlist. DR reflects the performance or strength of a website’s backlink profile.
|Business Citations Site||Monthly Visitors||Domain Rating|
|Bing Places||17 million||93|
|Better Business Bureau||11.5 million||93|
If you want to start local citation building, this is the place. Previously known as Google My Business (GMB), Google Business Profile (GBP) dominates the top of Google’s results pages for local searches – this reality solidifies the value of appearing in the directory’s local search citations.
Google Business Profile optimization is easy through its features. With it, you can control how your business appears on Google Maps and Search. According to Google, verified businesses on their directory are twice as expected to be considered reputable.
The benefits of a Business Profile, as found on Google, aren’t different from other directories with free business listing services. GBP’s citation management features allow you to maintain accurate business information, interact with customers through reviews and attract new customers by pointing them to your site. Simply, its superiority among search engines makes your business listing highly visible.
Business citations on Yelp are just as valuable as ratings and reviews found on the site – the reigning review site for everything local. According to a survey recognized by Yelp, 97 percent of users spend money on a business they discovered on Yelp within a week.
Local business listings management is free on Yelp. You can, however, choose to upgrade to its local citation service that allows you to stand out in search results and outrank the competition without relying on search engine optimization (SEO) alone.
The paid service also lets you block competitor ads from your page and promote your posts in the app and their weekly emails to your target market.
Apart from billions of potential customers being on Facebook, Facebook Pages are indexable by Google, which is a great reason to consider this in your citation management strategy. Here, your business can leverage a solid social media presence.
You can maximize the platform’s built-in local citation services tools and features for businesses such as managing inquiries, scheduling appointments if you’re a local service provider or uploading your store’s inventory if you sell products – all for free!
Along with its business listing services, Facebook also has a check-in feature on mobile. Whenever customers “check-in” to a business’ location, businesses gain extra exposure because “check-ins” are visible to their network of friends.
Similar to Facebook, Instagram business pages are also indexable by Google and pool billions of potential customers, even higher by a couple of millions! When creating an Instagram business page, make sure to select the correct category.
So if, for example, you have a bakery, when a user searches by entering “bakery near me Instagram,” your page will appear on the search results.
Apart from its local business listing feature, user-generated content (UGC) is another thing you can leverage with Instagram by reposting. Since users can tag your business on their posts, you also get further reach in their network.
Yes, we include Bing Places, even though only about 6 percent of the online population uses Bing as their search engine. However, Bing remains the default search engine for Internet Explorer (IE) and Edge browsers.
With Microsoft owning the majority of the desktop PC market, it’s more than reasonable to include Bing in your local citation building to reach their users.
Better Business Bureau
Better Business Bureau (BBB) is a non-profit organization with a mission to promote marketplace trust. The organization has a robust and trustworthy reputation for consumers and with accreditation here, local businesses can leverage that same reputation.
To be accredited, your business must go through a vetting process that aims to further build the consumer’s confidence both in BBB and your business. Your business citations in the directory also grant you a BBB accreditation seal that you can boast on your website or social media pages.
Nextdoor is a business directory slash social networking platform offering local citation services in more than 260,000 local neighborhoods around the world, not limited to the U.S., U.K. and Australia.
Claimed or verified accounts on Nextdoor allow local shoppers and supporters to discover your business’s local SEO citation through their directory called “neighborhood” for free!
Each verified business page can post twice a month. These posts are called Business Posts that directly reach neighbors’ newsfeeds, the most visible section of the directory.
According to Yahoo Finance, Foursquare’s Swarm app received 1 billion check-ins a year in 2019. In that same year, 50 percent of the Fortune 100 companies were Foursquare partners.
At present, Foursquare heavily focuses on location data gathering, which many known companies utilize, like Airbnb, Twitter and Snapchat. But, ultimately, like with any other local citation service, Foursquare is here to help hundreds, if not thousands, of local people discover your business.
Accurate NAP Across Local Citation Sites
Imagine a consumer arriving at your clinic they found online, only to find out your clinic is closing in 10 minutes. What’s worse, after talking to your receptionist, they learned the doctor they were hoping to schedule an appointment with isn’t with your clinic anymore. They realized they were misled by your incorrect local SEO citation and decided to never revisit your clinic.
This happens when businesses have outdated, inaccurate NAP – an experience you certainly don’t wish for your target market. Having a local business listing on any highly prized directories will not necessarily do your business wonders in and of itself. If you’re listed on Google, there’s a need for Google Business Profile optimization.
And for general business listings management, there’s the provision of consistent, crucial information before gaining conversion-driven local citations such as:
- Name, address and phone number (NAP): It should be consistent throughout your listings. If you need to update your business information, see to it that you update all your business citations across each existing listing.
- Website link: If you want to improve your Domain Rating (DR), be sure to add backlinks or inbound links to every local SEO citation of your business. At the end of your Uniform Resource Locators (URL), you can add Urchin Tracking Module (UTM) parameters or tracking tags to see or “track” how much traffic your site is getting from a specific local business listing.
- Business Bio: This is similar to your website’s “About Us Page.” If you have one, you can simply copy necessary information, edit it a little and paste it. This is where you can highlight your story, mission and vision, values and unique selling points (USPs).
- Photos and Videos: Let users visually experience your company through a picture or video. Be sure to highlight your office, staff and products, if you offer any.
However, it’s understandable that a business owner like yourself may not have the resources, like time and staff, to focus on your business’s local citation building.
Rize Reviews, a business listing management company, can help you capitalize on higher brand visibility by securing your business’s relevant local listings. Get in touch with us to learn more about how we can help your business reach its potential in the local search!