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One of my favorite parts of the movie Zoolander is Mugatu’s constant declaration of “Hansel, he’s so hot right now. Hansel.” Local SEO is pretty much the Hansel of the SEO world these days—though I don’t think most local business owners realize it. Try asking a local business owner if his (or her) NAP citations are consistent across the Web. If he knows what you’re talking about, I’ll give you my most prized possession—my Zoolander DVD.
A Short Local SEO Refresher
Just in case you forgot, local SEO increases visibility for businesses interested in ranking for geographically-related searches. The local listings often appear before the organic listings, which could lead to a better click-through-rate for your company from potential customers.
Here are what my local listings look like when I search for “liquor”:
Links vs. Citations
Google uses a different algorithm to populate its local search results than it does to generate its organic listings. Most people know that having more (quality) links from outside sources pointing to your site can help it rank in the organic search results.
While there are many ranking factors that appear to contribute to local search, experts agree that citations matter more than links.
So what’s the difference between citations and links? Whitespark explains it well:
“A citation is any mention of your business out on the web, with or without a link. It can come in various forms:
- Company Name, by itself.
- Company name & phone number.
- Company name, phone number, & address.
- Company name, phone number, address, & link.
“Even just the phone number by itself can be a citation.”
And the quality of the citations here matters, too. According to David Mihm, “A citation from your local community college or city hall is going to be infinitely more valuable than one from findbusinessesinyourcity.info.”
How many citations you have matters as well. “If your business is listed on 100 websites, all of equal value, and your competitor is listed on 50 websites, all of equal value, you should rank higher (sorry, be more relevant) for a particular search than your competitor,” he said.
The NAP Citation
One of the most popular types of citations used across the Web is called an NAP citation—which stands for name, address, and phone number. That’s why directories are a good place to start when you’re building citations.
It’s important to note that your citations should be as consistent as possible in order to improve your local search results. For example, you shouldn’t have “Blue Corona” as your company name on one listing and “Blue Corona, Inc.” as your company name on another.
Where to Get Citations From
Like I mentioned above, directories are a great place to start when it comes to building your local citations. According to Moz’s GetListed tool, the following directories are a good place to start:
- Google Places for Business
- Bing Business Portal
- Neustar Localeze
- Yelp for Business Owners
- Yahoo Local
- Best of the Web Local
- Here PrimePlaces
- Yellow Pages
- Citygrid Media
For example, if you own a moving company in Washington, D.C., GetListed recommends you target the following places for local citations:
If you’re looking for even more places to get local citations, check out where your competitors are getting their citations from using Whitespark’s citation finder.
In addition, focus on finding blogs and directories that are either relevant to your industry or your location. You can do this by searching for the following:
- [your location] directory
- [your location] blog
- [your industry] directory
- [your industry] blog
Need a Local SEO Strategy for Your Business?
If you’re like most business owners, you wear many hats. Between running the company, dealing with day-to-day issues, and still trying to make time for your family, there’s just not much free time left at the end of the day. However, as search engines update their local search ranking factors, it’s important you educate yourself so that you don’t fall behind the competition.
Blue Corona offers local SEO services to help businesses increase their visibility in local search results as well as rank for geographically-related searches. If your business needs a local SEO strategy, we can help.
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About The Author: Blue Corona is a data-driven online marketing company with offices in Gaithersburg, MD and Charlotte, N.C.
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