May 11, 2015

Local citations are a critical component through which search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing etc., determine the location based ranking for a business. In addition to having citations on credible and well-indexed websites such as Yellow Pages, Yelp, BBB, Foursquare etc., it is equally important to have business listings on service specific portals.

How Do Local Citations Work?

While determining your ranking for local search results, Google crawls through various sources on the web to search for “mentions” of your business. Search engine spiders look out for information like business address, phone number, website URL etc. and compare this data with the information provided on your website and Google+ page to verify its legitimacy. Generating local citations is particularly important for small businesses as they can benefit from high local search engine ranks and can compete with major players in the industry.

Why Is It Important To Keep Citations Consistent?

One of the major factors determining your website’s ranking in search results is the consistency of information provided in local citations. This includes business’ name, address and phone number (NAP), across all the citations. Besides basic business information, operating hours, modes of payment accepted, website URL should also be kept consistent. Any incorrect information is likely to reduce your potential customers, either through the wrong contact details or Google suspecting your business’ reliability and giving it a lower rank. The wrongly entered information may also spread quickly over the internet by robots and crawlers, thus, multiplying the effects of the error.

Tips For Maintaining Consistency In Local Citations

  • Decide on your exact business name and use it throughout all references over the internet.
  • Use a single phone number as your business’ primary contact. If you have a toll free number, use it as a secondary option. If there is only one option, always provide the local number.
  • Make sure to enter your complete address, including correct suite or unit number (if applicable), city as well as zip code.
  • Confirm that all abbreviations are in the same format for all business listings. For instance, Ltd should not be replaced with Limited.

Having real and consistent local citations can result in scoring huge points and achieve a higher ranking in local search results.