As our world continues to grow and reach new advanced marketing and 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 and Google Maps will need to be incorporated into your digital strategy.
Influencing Local Business Rankings in Local Search Results
Local SEO strategies include making sure your website ranks on key search engines like Google and Bing in local search results, in addition to local business listings on sites that have authority, such as Google My Business (GMB), Bing Places for Business, as well as Foursquare.
Having a presence on these pages in addition to localized content or data on your website and online reviews are all cogs in the effective digital marketing strategy. Many of these online tools, resources and opportunities are free for local businesses to use for their marketing strategies.
Create an Account on GMB for Local SEO
You, or someone on your team, can easily create and manage a Google My Business account or Yelp account and maintain your overall presence and informational data on the web. This includes ensuring your hours of operation are up to date, your Google Map data and location are correct – especially if you’ve ever moved your business, and ensuring your business name, address and phone number are 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 web. They may include a link to your page, but they do not necessarily have to.
The more Google sees your company referred to online, as long as the association with your particular brand is clear, the more Google will see your website and brand as credible, directing more traffic towards you. It is important to keep in mind that both the quantity of these citations as well as the quality of citations will make a difference in how much more likely Google will become to trust your website.
Examples of Google Maps Citations
Examples of citation types include but are not limited to: business directories such the Yellow Pages; social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter; and local websites and newspapers. Having a link to your site can be beneficial, but the citation and the informational data it includes will still have merit and will build the authority of your business in Google and Maps even if it does not link to your website
The Significance of Quantity of Citations for Local SEO
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 and local searches. For this reason, it’s important to have a large volume of mentions and listings with important, current data, across a variety of citation sources.
Accuracy of Data in Citations on the Web
Be sure that all three components of your name, address, and phone number (NAP) are listed together and accurately for each local listing. This combination of quantity, variety and accuracy of citations, will greatly enhance your local Google search result rankings for local searches.
Who is Mentioning Your Name, Address and Phone Number?
Google evaluates a number of factors when determining where your listing ranks in a Google local search results page. We’ve already discussed a few of the important Google Maps citation factors. It’s important to note that the types of sites on the web that mention local businesses will make a difference in how much Google trusts the listings of local businesses on cites that have local citations.
Quality of a Local Citation Does Matter Too
Another equally influential factor in a local listing is quality; You must have the right kinds of citations and they must come from the most relevant sources in order to get better rankings for your local business. Local citation credibility is also determined by the relevance and superiority of your citation type. Having reviews of your business listed can help with this (although the citation alone is enough).
Listings on a Strong Website Improves Search Engine Rankings
Yelp, for example, is a fantastic source for business citations. It is highly credible and has a high rank in search results. You may have found that citations on your business from a website that has authority like this have a higher ranking on Google than your dedicated website. Getting business citations on dominant sites will help draw more visitors to your site; however, they won’t necessarily distinguish your business citations from the many competitor businesses they will also have listed on their site.
Google Map Citations from Niche Directories
This is where specialized, niche directories can help give your ranking a boost. Niche directories will give you increased relevance in a specific category of business or industry with a citation on their site, 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 and services in Los Angeles. Through the use of local citations on niche directories for specific businesses and services, your website ranking is likely to see a considerable boost.
How will Citations Help with Map Ranking?
Search engine optimization, or SEO, is the process by which a business gains traffic from natural or “organic” Google local search results. Local SEO strategies like the use of local listing citations of your local business (with links or without links) can build up trust for your business, and Google Maps and searches will be more and more likely to show your business, as well as the location of your business and any reviews written for your business.
Double-Check that the Local Citations are Accurate
You can directly impact your SEO by increasing the quality and quantity of the citations of your local business that include NAP data. This can be accomplished by ensuring that as many of the local citations and business listings that mention your business are correct and accurate. Any citation can help a little bit, but one with completely accurate information is far better than an inaccurate one.
Check Local Citations with Moz Local
Manually going through each site or directory to correct or update your NAP data is time-consuming and exhausting. Third party local listing services are great resources and tools to help with this; Sites like Moz (Moz Local), Bright Local and Yext, for example, can help you streamline that process.
The Result of Accurate Local Business Citations
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 and location in search results and maps when consumers search for the particular service or product your provide. Mastering the concept of map citations for SEO will take your business to the next level and is a win-win for both you and your future customers.
If you are interested in building up your local SEO strategy, we are here to help! Our SEO experts at Salterra have helped websites build up effective local SEO strategies and leverage local citations to gain traffic and better rankings in Google, and we can share a number of insights with you to help your website grow in credibility on the internet. We offer a free SEO audit for your website, and we are happy to consult with you about your goals for your website and your company in order to craft a highly effective digital marketing strategy that includes the use of local SEO. Talk to us and let us know how we can help!