Getting Google citations to strengthen SEO
Receiving a thumbs up from local customers is a big win. As the owner of a small or midsize business, you might receive a thumbs up from local customers in the form of 5-star ratings at review websites like Yelp, Merchant Circle, Epinions and Product Review Australia. Because consumers tend to trust reviews they receive from people they know more than they trust reviews from marketers or media professionals, earning a top score on these consumer driven websites could be huge.
SEO marketing specialists refer to this show of approval as a citation. In addition to consumer reviews, SEO marketing citations include social media shares and likes. Citations may also involve the numbers of comments that blog posts receive. To get the most out of citations, small and midsize businesses must have their name and contact information at their website. Believe it or not, this is a simple step that some business owners still fail to take.
"Unless the name of my firm . . . is accompanied by a link, phone number, address, or other identifying information it's difficult for Google or any other search engines to know if that citation belongs to my firm or one of the other MWI's in the world," as reported at Forbes. Directory listings, including white page listings, and listings at local business bureaus are other types of citations that Google and other major search engines pay attention to.
However, small and midsize business leaders don't want to limit their citations to local consumers. They should also use SEO marketing tools to receive citations from other local business owners. For example, an Australian clothier can benefit from using SEO marketing written content, videos, images, games and branding songs to get links from local seamstresses, dry cleaners and fashion designers.
The important thing to remember when using SEO marketing to solicit citations is that anytime a local business is mentioned, that's a good thing. As has been said, even negative mentions outweigh not being mentioned at all. After all, in order for someone or another local business to mention a firm they have to, first, be thinking about the firm.
Furthermore, "When it comes to SEO there is an added dimension in that Google and other search engines pay attention to citations, and the more citations you have, all other things being equal, the better your website will rank on those search engines for searches related to what you do and where you are geographically located, which will bring you more web traffic, and more web traffic means more customers." Of course, in order to translate "more traffic" into paying customers, the design of a business website must be built for easy navigation and quick loading.
Small and midsize business websites must also be designed for mobile devices. One look at a website that's not built for a smartphone or tablet can create frustration in local consumers. No one wants to look at rows and rows of narrow texts which is exactly what happens when a business website isn't designed for a device with a small screen or monitor.
To increase the local citations they receive, small and midsize businesses can host and participate in local charity events. They can also sponsor local events. In either case, they should ensure that their business and website URL are listed in sponsorship booklets and event handouts. However, little beats or equals, publishing great unique content at a business website.