The 21st century is the dawn of the digital age; every business has – or should have – a website and an online presence, and the use of social media is the modern equivalent of word of mouth. The upshot of this is that citations, and in particular local business citations, are a valuable way of getting your name to those who matter – the potential customers. But why local citations, and what are citations?
It’s quite simple: a citation is basically a mention of your business name and information: it could be on a business directory page, a local chamber of commerce page or, in fact, anywhere, and it does not have to link to your website, although in some cases it might. When it comes to local business, however, there are a number of reasons why local citations make sense.
Getting Local Citations
It is a fact that people like to do business locally, and this applies even more so when we are talking of services. The best way to get local business citations is to share your information with other local businesses that may complement your service. For example, let’s say you offer plumbing services: your customers may also require electrical work, decorating, tiling and more. By having local businesses of this type share your information on their website and their social media pages you are making it easier for the customer to find everything they need quickly. If they are satisfied with your work, after all, they will be reassured that you are happy to recommend those that offer other services.
Citations and Search Engines
The world of search engines is a complex one that cannot be described in so few words. However, what we can say for certain is that a high ranking on Google is an important factor in getting business. Few people look beyond the first two pages, and you need to be sure that, when somebody searches for your service in their area, you are close to the top.
Google, and other search engines, work with complex algorithms; local citations on directories and web pages are favoured by the search engines, and serve to improve your ranking. This is another reason why making sure you are referenced in directories and on other pages is essential.
Furthermore, it is vital to remember that Google puts a lot of importance on respectable sources: in other words, quality counts, so make sure that you are a member of your local chamber of trade or a similar organisation, as that will count for plenty.
The Community Aspect
As we said earlier on, people like to use local businesses. For this reason you should gain local citations from local business forums, use the local press for advertisements and public relations, and generally make sure your business is recognised as being part of the community. Getting your company name remembered is absolutely vital if you are to capitalise on the community aspect of local citations, and you will reap the benefits in many ways.