Why SEO experts want you to know about citations

Digital marketing is an ever-changing and evolving industry. Although this makes it an exciting and interesting area to be involved in, it can make it difficult for small businesses to stay on top. With Google adapting its regulations on a regular basis and leading SEO experts often changing their advice on how to adhere to this, it can be a massive challenge for companies to ensure their site content doesn’t suffer.

Often it is the lesser-known aspects of SEO that can make or break a digital marketing strategy. Citations are one of these; able to completely transform your ranking on Google but something that few people outside of the industry know about.

A recent study from BrightLocal found that an incredible 90 per cent of local SEO experts considered accurate citations to be either critical or very important for local search ranking, while 86 per cent said the quality of citations was more important than their quantity.

It also found that industry relevance was the most important factor to use when determining citations, while a third said niche or specialist directories offer the greatest authority.

But what are citations and why are they so important for local search?

Citations are any mention of your business name or details on other websites, whether or not it directly links to your site. They can help you to build authority and helps Google and other search engines to consider your business to be legitimate.

Usually references will include your business’s name, address and phone number (NAP). Giving all these details is better than giving just your business name and address, for example, but a partial citation can still be used.

They are a key element of Google’s ranking algorithms, meaning that if you have a higher quality of citations than your competitors – and are equal on all other factors – your business is likely to rank better than theirs.

Citations are particularly important for industries where there isn’t a high level of digital savvy. Without any other information online at its disposal, the search engine has to use what it can find and citations can be weighted heavily.

However, even if you’re in a competitive industry, where there is a strong online presence, citations are still an important element of your digital marketing strategy.

Citations can support your local SEO strategy but it’s important that all citations are accurate and consistent. The format itself doesn’t really matter but the one on your website should also be what shows up on your Google+ Local page or anywhere else.

As well as reviews and links, Google uses citations as a primary factor when determining how to rank your business in local search results. This means it could make a massive impact on your online presence if you’re not ensuring consistency across different platforms.

Bright Local SEO Citations
SEO Mark – Local Citations
Moz – Local Citations
Search Engine Journal – Local Citations

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