Note that Google Places/+Local Pages now come under the umberella of Google My Business.
Google My Business is a one stop way of creating your Google Plus Local Business Page, listing on Google Maps and access to small business Google tools. For simplicity, I’ll call it Google Local listings.
I had a great Google Local question by email.
You know my philosophy, if one person has a question than many will! The question was:
What are 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 Local listings, 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.
Local business citations are difficult to fake on authoritive websites, so are a key component in trust and ranking your Google Local listing. Additionally, citations broaden your online visibility across the web. A local business directory listing may rank higher than your own website for certain search terms.
As a general rule of thumb, citations are like a vote of confidence. The more websites and online sources mention your business, the more likely it is to show in Google local search and maps above other listings. Don’t go crazy – low quality links and citations can hurt your online visibility rather than help!
The simplest way to get started with citations is to register with online business directories and review sites.
Consistency is key for Google Local Listings
With Google also automatically updating your Plus 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 every 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 Local listings and/or not ranking in local search at all.
Keep Building Up Your 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 Local 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 Local search rankings.
As well as the usual general business directories, look out for:
- City specific directories
- Trade specific 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
- Press releases and local press
- Classified Ads
To get you started I have included 20 popular UK general directories and review sites in my “Get Started With Local Listings” guide. Download them now, just fill in your name and address in the box below and I’ll whiz a link over to you by email.Google Local Listing Tips – What Are Citations? by Jan Kearney