In today’s digital economy, online visibility is crucial to business success. Four out of five consumers use search engines to find local information, and if you’re like the majority of the population, you probably look for local businesses online too.
As a business owner, if you aren’t focusing your efforts on appearing where people are searching, you risk missing out on a large part of your target customer base.
But where should you start?
What is citation building?
Citation building is a type of digital marketing concerned with how your business appears on third-party websites. It helps grow your digital footprint by ensuring your business information is visible and up-to-date anywhere your business appears online that isn’t your own website. This includes:
- Online directory listings such as White Pages
- Google My Business
- Social media sites such as Facebook
- Review sites
- Blogs and news sites
Most third-party websites will allow you to include a mix of information (also known as ‘online citations’) about your business, such as:
- Business name
- Phone number
- Email address
- Opening hours
- Products or services
- Social media links
Why citation building matters
So, why should you care about building citations anyway? There are three major benefits:
- Boost your local SEO ranking
Citations have a big impact on your local SEO efforts and on whether your business shows up in search engine results pages. In fact, citations are the fifth most important factor in determining your position in search results. This is because citations not only help verify your business information, but also increase your website’s ‘authority’ or trustworthiness.
- Drive traffic to your website
Aside from the gains you’ll see from improving your search ranking, citation building also helps drive traffic directly to your website. Any time your website URL is added to a directory listing or third-party website, it serves as a valuable backlink.
- Increase your credibility and trustworthiness
Citation building not only helps establish trust with search engines but also with customers. Having multiple high-authority directories and third-party websites cite your business helps boost your credibility in the eyes of prospective customers, making it more likely they’ll interact with you.
How to build local business citations
Although citations aren’t completely ‘set and forget’, they only need to be reviewed and updated every once in a while to stay fresh and accurate. Here’s how to get started:
- Check and update your existing citations – review your current business listings in online directories, social media and third-party websites to make sure your information is correct and up-to-date.
- Claim your listings – if you haven’t done so already, claim your Google My Business listing and any other relevant existing listings so you can take control of the information people see when they search for your business.
- Look for new citation opportunities – think about other directories or websites where you can list your business to help build your citation profile. The more citations you build, the easier it will be for people to find your business online.
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