Savvy business owners know that the future of local SEO is in consumer citations.
For those of you who are not sure what the citations refers to – think of it as any mention of your company or brand on the web that Google can identify and associate with your business.
It can be the name of your business, or just the phone number; most commonly, it’s the posts and comments published in a blog about a favorite local cafe or a horrid experience in a local store.
Consumers mentioning a local brand on online platforms can provide multiple benefits, such as improved organic visibility for small businesses inside major search engines.
Next, citations in the form of online comments or reviews help search engines assess how valuable a business is – since Google creates its algorithms in a way that they can identify and accredit value on the foundation of news and communication a brand receives. The same is true about other major search engines.
When, as a local business, you offer products or services that lead to positive experiences and favorable online reviews, your word-of-mouth marketing gets amplified and accelerated.
You can use it within social networks and other content websites to generate more users and ultimately enhance online conversions.
We all know that the more positive reviews you have, the more other like-minded consumers will want to do business with you.
According to a recent report by BrightLocal, 92 percent of consumers read online reviews, and 70 percent will place more trust in a business that receives positive reviews.
So, the more you provide great consumer experience, the more positive reviews or citations you’ll receive, leading to more future customers or clients.
Now, if you’re a business striving to show up when consumers perform local organic searches on Google and other search engines, let’s talk about “NAP” – your company’s Name, Address, and Phone Number.
NAP, a structured citation, is essential, because this info is what search engines look at when determining which businesses to show for geo-targeted searches.
It’s critical to ensure your NAP information is current and all business details updated across all existing platforms – this allows search engines to provide users with meaningful and relevant results.
If search engines cannot determine what type of information they should provide, chances are, they will pull data from a competitor whose NAP information is accurate and in sync across all platforms.
To have a good online presence, investing your time and efforts into traditional SEO, as well as maintaining accurate citations can provide a healthy foundation for driving results.
Remember – references that help search engines determine the true value of your business are a great addition to having a well-optimized site. After all, what search engines truly care about is supplying online consumers with the most rewarding experiences.
As the evolution of Google’s Hummingbird and the abilities of search engines continue, even though traditional links remain one of the most effective strategies for improving competitive keyword rankings, citations could possibly become just as powerful.
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