Local Citation Listing ServicesDecember 6, 2017
What Are Local Citation Listings?
If you are not familiar with local citation listings this article should give you a quick overview of what it is and why it matters. Citations are listings that point directly to your business. The information contained in these listings usually incorporate your NAP. (Name Address and Phone number) In addition to your NAP they often also provide a backlink to your companies website. There are literally thousands upon thousands of local citation listings on the web. Each one that points to your NAP and URL increases your chances of being found by potential customers.
How It All Works
Not all Listing directories are created equally. Some of the more known and widely used directories carry a higher rating than the lesser known directories. Google my business, for instance, has a very high and trusted score that is considered by many to be one of the most valuable directories and usually one of the most accurate. In order for you to obtain a listing from Google my business, your physical address must be verified. Usually in the form of a postcard that is sent to your business and must be reported back of its receipt.
This is not the case for most of the directories and that is where the trouble seems to start. Directories that point to your business through your NAP and web URL have got to be populated somehow. Most of these directories allow you to submit your business information to be added. So what is the big deal? Variations of your NAP can often time occur when you submit your listing. For example:
Acme Hardware Co.
1234 E. Main St.
Acme Hardware Company
1234 E. Main Street
Acme Hardware Company
1234 East Main Street
To a person reading these, it is very apparent that this is one business. All three have slight variations but obviously, they are the same establishment. The problem with these variations, it can very easily be evaluated by a computer to be three separate addresses. And therefore must be three separate businesses. This can result in your business being added to a directory three separate times.
Not only do these directories get populated by manual entry they are often populated by bots. Bots use a process called “scraping”. This scraping act basically copies an existing directory and uses the information it receives to populate other directories. Now if your information is 100% accurate on all directories this is a great thing. More backlinks to your business and your URL for potential customers to find you. But what if you have a discrepancy in only one directory. It quickly gets spread from directory to directory and before long the one variation has doubled then tripled then … Well, you get the point.
Why You Need Local Citations
If this process can get so convoluted why do we need these directories? The answer is simple. Search engines rank your business on many factors. Does your site have original content? Does your site provide value to the visitor? Is your site structured in a way that is easily digestible by search engines? How many other sites point to you as a reference? And many more factors but the reference factor plays a big role in this article. The more sites that point to your site as a source of value the higher your rating. Think of it as brand building. If a site with a high score that provides value to their visitors decides to reference your site then you have somewhat of a status bump. If enough sites do this it tells the search engines that you are a “Brand” and this will steadily increase your search rankings provided that your site is in order on the other factors.
This is why local directories carry so much weight. You are local to the person making the query, you have multiple directories pointing to your URL, and the information is consistent.
What do you do if the information is not correct?
Put on a pot of coffee, Place your order with Amazon Prime for that case of Redbull and strap in. You will need to manually verify that your information is correct in every directory that you can find. There are tools available to do this and many are free. Projekt15 has one HERE if you would like to use it. Now that you have found the discrepancies you will have to create an account and login to each directory and request two things. First that you would like to claim this business as your own. Second that there are discrepancies that you would like to be corrected. Now rinse and repeat and repeat again. Even when you are finished you should continue to monitor these sites for any deviation and quickly correct it before it gets out of hand.
If that was not enough what do you do if your business has multiple locations? What if you change your telephone number? The list goes on and on.
Luckily for you, there are services available that submit, monitor, correct variations, and even remove duplicate content. Of course, we would like to recommend our service 🙂 We can help you with all of the above-mentioned tasks and allow you to do what you should be doing, Running Your Business. Not only do we offer to take on this task on your behalf we also provide a portal for you to engage with. This portal allows you to directly see your listings and as an added bonus you can also engage with anyone rating your business directly from your portal.
The choice is entirely up to you who and how you tackle this problem. We just want to provide you with the knowledge required to take on this task.