If you’re trying to attract a local audience a local offline presence is a must but a local online presence is just if not more important.
In fact, 76% of people who conduct a local mobile search visit a business within 24 hours and 28% of those searches end with a purchase, according to Google.
Consumers don’t have time to drive from business to business and explore numerous store options.
When it comes to finding a local business, online searches are extremely efficient with ratings, reviews, website information, and proximity to help make decisions even easier.
And you can improve your local online presence by building and maintaining local citations (getting your business listing on local directories).
Understanding Local SEO Citations
Local SEO citations are online listings of your business that include basic references of your business’s name, address and phone number (NAP).
Depending on the directory (Google My Business or Yelp, for example), other business information such as the following may also be included:
- Business categories
- Hours of operation
- Business description
- Images or videos
- Payment forms accepted
- Reviews & business owner replies
- Links to social and other forms of media
- Email addresses
The listings themselves aren’t difficult to add. Consistency, on the other hand, is vital to search engines validating and trusting your business.
That “trust” helps to determine where you’ll rank in local search results. Using a business name abbreviation in one listing but not in another can create confusion, appearing as if both listings represent two different businesses.
Another common error is not updating all of your listings to feature an updated business address after a company relocation.
Inconsistency damages your local rankings, reputation, and revenue. Your business may not appear when potential customers search or you may not appear very high in results meaning customers will look at your competitors first.
76% of people who conduct a local mobile search visit a business within 24 hours and 28% of those searches end with a purchase.
Two Methods to Leverage Your Local Citations
When it comes to building and organizing your citations you can do it yourself or subscribe to a local citation service.
As you are deciding which route to take, you will want to review your company’s needs, available time to dedicate to local citation building and maintenance, as well as your available experts and resources.
Manage your own local business citations
Adding your business’ information to local directories isn’t particularly difficult and can be done by any individual.
Depending on your company’s needs and goals, you may want to research which directories and how many you want your business to appear on.
This is a great time to review or perform an SEO scan to determine what your current online presence is like and the number of resources you’ll need to dedicate in order to leverage local citations as best as possible.
In the audit, you’ll see what’s working, what needs to be updated, and potential areas for improvement.
Consult a local citation service
Local citation services offer expertise and efficiency in managing your local citations.
From managing the listings to ensure up-to-date information and developing and executing a strategy, most services have access to unique tools and directories that may not otherwise be available.
Here are some of the top local citation service options:
YEXT Allows businesses to manage over 100 local directories. You can quickly update your data across the services at any time by syncing with search engines, maps, apps, voice assistants, chatbots, and more.
WHITESPARK Offers Google My Business Management as well as local citation building, audits, and cleanups. Submissions are made by hand to build the strongest citations possible, according to WhiteSpark.
SYNUP Synup uses a comprehensive toolset that monitors local business listings, allows for single or bulk updates, as well as tracking of visits to local listings. Reviews can also be read and reviewed in a single dashboard, making replies and follow-ups easy across different channels.
ADVICE LOCAL Advice Local describes itself as a cost-effective way to monitor online data, visibility, and reputation through customizable solutions.
MOZLOCAL The MozLocal service submits business data to local data aggregators and local directories. Data accuracy and consistency are monitored through their data cleansing process.
BRIGHTLOCAL If you’re trying to reach markets in various countries, BrightLocal’s citation builder is available in 10 different countries. They also make submissions by hand to generate the strongest citations possible.
Stay Ahead of the Curve Locally
The ways that people find and interact with your business online are constantly evolving.
Investing in SEO without incorporating citation building in your marketing strategy, means you’ve left the potential customers closest to you completely out of the equation. Attract the audience that’s interested, ready to purchase, and only a short drive away.
With a high probability of 76% of people potentially visiting your business after discovering it on an online local search, managing your local listings is a low-cost and high-return investment. If you’re not doing it, your competitors are.
We want to help you stay ahead of the curve!
If you want to bring your brand to life take a few minutes to complete our online presence audit. You’ll gain an understanding of your current marketing efforts and what you might want to change.
Once completed we’ll contact you to schedule a time to discuss the results and see how we can help elevate your brand, and then we’ll find you the right business listing opportunities to reach the right audience.