With majority of mobile phone searches targeting local businesses, local SEO is becoming a success formula for businesses to reach out potential customers. While plunging into a local SEO mission, you must understand that it is significantly different from long distance SEO and therefore calls for an altogether different approach. While the focus of long distance SEO is content optimization and integration, local SEO works on citation building. It just means getting the local businesses mention your name and address in an authoritative way. Citation building is also called as the new link building. Prominence and citations play a crucial role in deciding whether your business can show up in SERP.
Citations are in other words, online references to your business consisting of NAP (Name, Address and Phone Number). In the language of local SEO, citations are an equivalent to links that point out to the physical location of your business rather than your website which is the case in long distance SEO. For giving local ranking, Google uses criteria such as relevance, prominence and distance. While it is not possible to control distance, it is possible to control prominence and this is where citation building comes into picture. In addition to creating links, citations help people find your business locally. While links depend on coding, citations are done in plain text. Search engines only care whether the citation contains reference to NAP.
What are Structured and Unstructured Citations
Structured citations are those that are found in the local business directories. As you can control them, you can decide how they appear by changing them suitably. For example, a Yelp listing page is nothing but a structured citation. Mentioning about your business information on sites that are not directories are known as unstructured citations. In most cases, such references might not be complete as one of the elements of NAP (name, address and phone number) might miss in them.
Right Citation Building Strategies
There are different ways to gather these citations.
- Benefit from citation building services
Exclusive local SEO firms like Whitespark and BrightLocal can build citations. Since they enjoy access to thousands of sites that accept their citations and because they build the citations rather professionally, they can make this work for you.
- Build citation manually
If you wish to build citations manually, make use of Moz and build citations in a simple way. Find the potential places to enter citations including Google My Business, Yelp, Facebook, Infogroup, Acxiom, Localeze, and Factual. The important thing here is that your citation must be identical all the time. Only when you use the NAP in the same way, you can earn search juice. If your citations do not have consistency, still you can work on them with the help of Moz local. Visit site by site and update the citations. It is also important to find what your competitors are doing and cover all those bases.
- Commission a digital agency
If you wish a complete solution, then it is a good idea to hire a full service digital agency. Since they are experts in the locality as well as the business domain you are in, they can do a great job in presenting your brand to the local consumer world. The added advantage in working with them is that they can tie citations as part of a comprehensive SEO and digital strategy for best results.