As our world continues to grow and reach new advanced technological levels, consumers are using local search every day to easily find the best business near them, or a service in their area that will fit their needs. To increase your chances of being found by consumers, local SEO will need to be incorporated into your digital strategy.
Local SEO strategies include making sure your website ranks on search engines like Google and Bing, in addition to business listings such as Google My Business (GMB), Bing Places for Business, Yelp, as well as Foursquare. Having a presence on these pages in addition to localized content on your website and online reviews are all cogs in the effective digital marketing strategy. Many of these opportunities are free for businesses to use.
You, or someone on your team, can easily create a Google My Business account or Yelp account and maintain your overall presence. This includes ensuring your hours of operation are up to date, your address is correct – especially if you’ve ever moved your business, and ensuring your business phone number is accurate.
What Is a Map Citation
A local Google Map citation is any mention of your business’ name, address or phone number (known collectively as your NAP) on external websites or directories across the internet.
Examples of citation types include but are not limited to: business directories such as Yelp and the Yellow Pages; social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter; and local websites and newspapers.
The number of mentions of your business, along with the accuracy of the information presented in them, can determine where your business ranks in Google search results. For this reason, it’s important to have a large volume of mentions, across a variety of citation sources. Be sure that all three components of your NAP are listed together and are listed accurately. This combination of quantity, variety and accuracy, will greatly enhance your search result ranking.
Google evaluates a number of factors when determining where your listing ranks in search results. We’ve already discussed a few. Another equally influential factor is quality; You must have the right kinds of citations and they must come from the most relevant sources. Quality is determined by the relevance and superiority of your citation type.
Yelp, for example, is a fantastic citation source. It is highly credible and has high search result rankings. You may have found that Yelp citations on your business have a higher ranking on Google than your dedicated website. Getting citations on dominant sites like Yelp will help draw more traffic to your site; however, Yelp won’t necessarily distinguish your business from the many competitors they will also have listed on their site.
This is where specialized, niche directories can help give your ranking a boost. Niche directories will give you increased relevance, by helping you stand out from the crowd of competition. They are seen as more valuable because they are harder to find and are often more difficult to be featured on. For example, if you own a dog walking business in Los Angeles, the most relevant citations for your business would be found in a directory specifically for dog walking businesses in Los Angeles. Through the use of niche directories, your ranking is likely to see a considerable boost.
How will this help with Map Ranking?
Search engine optimization, or SEO, is the process by which a business gains traffic from natural or “organic” search results on Google. You can directly impact your SEO by increasing the quality and quantity of the citations of your local business. Manually going through each site or directory to correct or update your NAP is time-consuming and exhausting. Third party local listing services such as Moz, Bright Local and Yext can help you streamline that process.
Each time Google finds mentions of your business on other websites and directories, it becomes more assured that the information that you have provided about your business, is authentic and factual. In turn, Google is more likely to display your business in search results when consumers search for the particular service or product your provide. Mastering the concept of map citations will take your business to the next level and is a win-win for both you and your future customers.