Citations are defined as mentions of your business name and address on other webpages—even if there is no link to your website. An example of a citation might be an online yellow pages directory where your business is listed, but not linked to. Citations can also be found on local chamber of commerce pages, or on a local business association page that includes your business information, even if they are not linking at all to your website.
Citations are a key component of the ranking algorithms in Google and Bing. Other factors being equal, businesses with a greater number of citations will probably rank higher than businesses with fewer citations.
Citations from well-established and well-indexed portals (i.e., Superpages.com) help increase the degree of certainty the search engines have about your business’s contact information and categorization. To paraphrase former Arizona Cardinals’ coach Dennis Green, citations help search engines confirm that businesses “are who we thought they were!”
Citations are particularly important in less-competitive niches, like plumbing or electrical, where many service providers don’t have websites themselves. Without much other information, the search engines rely heavily on whatever information they can find.
Citations also validate that a business is part of a community. It’s hard for someone to fake membership in a chamber of commerce or a city or county business index, or being written about in a local online newspaper or popular blog.
Citations and links from these kinds of websites can dramatically improve your local search engine rankings.
There are thousands of places where a citation – submission of your business name, address, phone and website – can be built for your local business. Every local business should focus on building a strong core of citations that not only broadens the visibility of the business, but also strengthen search engines’ “trust” in the validity of the business’s existence. High-quality, authoritative citations are also viewed by experts as the #1 ranking factor in competitive local search markets.
Citation Consistency is most important factor for local ranking. The presence of correct business name, address, phone and website everywhere the business is showing across the web, is the foundation for local search engine optimization.
Some people think they only need to update their Google My Business listing which is incorrect. In fact, according to David Mihm from Moz “If all you’re doing is updating your Google+ Local Page, you’re going to continue to see problems because “new” erroneous data will constantly feed into Google from all of its other sources.” This has been known to create bigger problems down the road. So what is the downside if you have inconsistent citations, duplicate citations, or citations that are just plain wrong?
In a nutshell you’re missing out on getting credit for that citation, its hurting your local rankings in Google, and its potentially creating longer term issues when the incorrect data is scraped. Unfortunately while there are some resources you can use to simplify this process, it’s not as easy as waving a magic wand or blinking while wearing your Google Glass.
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