People usually tend to give more importance to bigger things in life and less importance to the smaller ones. But you will agree that this should not happen regarding everything in our life, because sometimes, even smaller things can be very much important. Now take the example of Citations, they are just 3 sentences but can make a big difference for your business.
What are Citations?
Whenever your business is mentioned in other pages and is represented by the address, name or any contact information then that becomes a citation. Usually, it is in the format of Name, Address, and Phone Number (NAP). It may or may not include a link to your business website. E.g. if a business is listed in the YellowPages online directory with all the necessary information like name, number, address, etc. then it is a citation of that business.
Businesses do know the fact that having a correct citation is necessary to achieve a good local rank and also for business growth but they seldom manage to act upon it. Whenever any business changes their location, close a store, change any contact number, or site URL, etc. they forget to make that change online and the old one remains as it is.
The importance of Citations for Local SEO
Citations are a crucial part of search engine ranking algorithms. They act as a plausible source of information regarding a business. Search engines consider a lot of factors that dictate which results will be displayed and also the order in which they will be displayed.
If your business is cited in popular and well-indexed sites like Yelp, YellowPages, etc. besides increasing the online visibility, it will also be a validation. This, in turn, will increase the confidence in search engines about your business and the categorization of it.
Citations become crucial for businesses that don’t have their websites, and they should also not be restricted from local directories. Citations can appear in general directories, news websites, niche specific directories, local blogs, etc. Don’t just go for the number of citations, but also for the quality, consistency, and authority to get the best visibility for your business.
Keeping a consistency for Citations
Many companies collect, check and then distribute business information of other companies. This is a very close-knit system of data distribution all over the world; hence it gets spread around offline as well as online quite easily. If all the data is accurate, then it is good for your business, but if it is not, then that is a big problem.
It will affect the local rankings of your business. It will become very hectic and almost impossible for you to clean up any wrong information about your business (which is where Review 360 will enter the scene). Thus, if you want your business to flourish, get a higher search engine ranking, then it becomes crucial to have a consistent citation.
How does a Citation turn erroneous?
For a citation to turn incorrect, even a small change in a number or word is enough. One change in any of the Name, Address, or Phone number (NAP) of a business can make it incorrect and even if it doesn’t happen from your side, it still won’t escape any repercussions from Google and other search engines. The reasons for this inconsistency could vary as follows:
You changed your business to a new address.
The contact no, email-id, or any other contact information for your business changed.
The data aggregators got wrong details about your business.
Your listing got scraped to other directory sites before getting submitted correctly.
You enlisted an external agency to create citations or get listed on directories.
The name of your business has variations. E.g. Howard Stark Industries, HS Industries, Stark Industries, Howard S Industries, etc.
To ensure a fixed format for your NAP, follow and update it in the Google My Business Dashboard. Minor differences like St. & Street may be fine, but your citation should not contain false information. A wrong citation can severely affect the profits and may reduce the number of customers of a business; hence the need for an accurate and consistent citation.