I had a great Google Places question by email this week.
You know my philosophy, if one person has a question than many will! The question was:
What are Google Places citations?
Citations are references to your business on other websites. Traditionally to rank a website, links to your website from other websites are very important.
However, when it comes to Google Places there does not need to be an actual clickable link. For example, if your business is listed in Yell online Google will recognise that information as long as your business name, address and telephone are the same.
As a general rule of thumb, citations are like a vote of confidence. The more websites and online sources mentioning your business, the more likely it is to show in Google Places and maps above other listings. The simplest way to start getting these mentions is to register with online directories and review sites.
Until recently, Google displayed citations and reviews on your Google Places page. Even though they are no longer listed there, citations still count.
Consistency is key for Google Places
With Google also automatically updating your Place page with information it gathers around the web, it is important that all citations have the same:
- Business Name
- Business Address
- Business Telephone Number
Always use the same local information all the time. Your local business listings are not the place for call tracking and local rate telephone numbers. Yes, it can be a pain in the backside – you will lose some tracking information. But that is much better than having duplicate competing Google Places listings and/or not ranking in the top 7 in local search at all.
Keep Building Up Your Google Places Citations
Google takes information from all over the web, not just business directories and review sites. News, video sites, social networks, blogs and other websites are all valid citation sources. By growing and maintaining your local business online presence you are also helping to increase and maintain that all important Google Places ranking.
As local search gets more competitive, don’t just copy the competition, you won’t out-rank them that way! Regularly adding citation sources helps to maintain your Google Places rankings.
As well as the usual general directories, look out for:
- City based and trade directories,
- Listing in your Chamber of Commerce and other business associations
- Suppliers websites
- Clients websites (ask for a review!)
- Charities your business supports
- Local bloggers
- Issue press releases online
- Classified Ads
To get you started I have included 20 popular UK general directories and review sites in my “Getting Started Online” guides. Download them now, just fill in your name and address in the blue box below and I’ll whiz a link over to you by email.
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