A local citation refers to the online mention of the particulars of a local business such as the name, address, and contact details. It can be found on a local business directory, apps, websites or on social media platforms. Thanks to local citations, online users can discover local businesses. They also come in handy with local search engine ranking results. If you are running a local business, you need to actively manage different citations to guarantee data accuracy for your business.
What Are The Various Types Of Local Citations?
1. Major Local Business Data Platforms – Marketers and local business owners can create local citations on various important local business data platforms. These are available to publish such data. Some renowned platforms include Acxiom, Google My Business, Infogroup and Localeze/Neustar. Important local business listings can be created on popular social sites or review sites such as Yelp or Facebook.
2. Geo/Industry-Specific Platforms – Your business can build listings on websites specific to the niche/industry or geography as well as major local business data platforms. Some of these platforms include websites owned by guilds or professional associations or chamber of commerce.
3. The Wider Web – Supplementary citations can be created on various publications such as news sites, blogs, maps, apps, and government databases. You can develop these citations for your business or earn them by merit and public interest/sharing of information.
Any of these citations can be created using automated software such as Moz Local, filling out forms on local business platforms, or other marketing/PR methods available on different platforms. Local business listings and citations appear frequently without the business having done anything.
Citations result in automated aggregation and proper flow of data from local business platforms. With Infogroup, data can be used on Superpages and it’s the reality in today’s online world. Every local business should ensure the accuracy of its online information. Any incorrect data should be identified and corrected immediately to prevent customer and revenue loss as well as a negative impact on the local search rankings.
What Are The Components Of A Local Citation?
A local citation should include the official company name, physical address, and contact information. It can also include a link or reference to the official company website. Additionally, local citations can include:
- Hours of operation
- Business categories
- Business description
- Driving directions
- Accepted payment options
- Owner responses
- Links to social media accounts or any other type of media
- Alternate phone numbers
- Email addresses
- Fax numbers
Why Are Local Citations Important?
Local citations affect 2 scenarios when it comes to local businesses. First, they can impact local search engine results negatively or positively. The effect comes on the total number of citations owned by a single business, the accuracy of the data featured and the quality of the platforms where the citations are created.
Search engines such as Google collect data on every business. If the search engines encounter correct information, the search engine will trust the validity of the data believed to strengthen the chance of the business to rank well. However, if the data encountered is inconsistent, the trust is not earned and reduced higher search engine ranking opportunities for the business.
On the other hand, local citations can positively or negatively affect consumers. Accurate citations allow consumers to discover a local business resulting in phone, foot or web traffic. At the end of it all, these people will buy something from the business. Wrong or inaccurate citations will misdirect customers leading to loss of potential revenue and reputation.
Businesses at different levels of commerce including one-person startups to huge brands are worried about reputation, rankings and revenue. Local citations play a huge role since they branch into all these aspects.
How Does Active Location Data Management Relate To Citations?
Any local business creating a new marketing strategy needs to understand the benefits and risks of having an active or passive approach to managing their citations.
1. Passive Approach Risks
Neglecting the development of citations and management can risk the following damage to your reputation, rankings and revenue.
- Inaccurate citations
- A weak/small set of local citations
- No strategy in place to discover inaccurate data
- Duplicate local business listings
- No awareness of competitor or user edits to local business listings
- No strategy in place to manage citations in the event of acquisitions, mergers, business moves, rebranding, change of contact information, operational hours and any other data
- Little to no control over the business representation online
- No strategy in place for managing or discovering reviews
2. Active Approach Benefits
If you choose to manage your citations actively, you can have an impact on reputation, rankings and revenue through the following ways.
• Being aware, discovering and correcting any inaccurate data
• Accurate and robust citations on the major platforms
• Permanent erasure of any duplicate local business listings
• A strategy in place to edit citation information in the event of business moves, mergers, rebranding, acquisitions, changing telephone details and hours of operation or any other relevant data
• Complete control on the business representation online
By weighing both risks and benefits, it’s easy to see why active management of citations is the best road. Doing so would have an adverse effect on your reputation, ranking, and revenue.
As mentioned, citations provide your business core data on the web. They are used to influencing local search engine rankings and consumer discovery. Having accurate local citations will have a great impact on revenue, reputation, and rankings. Inaccurate citations on the other hand will have the opposite effect.
These assets have very high stakes and every business should be ready to locate and manage their data actively to avoid any negative impact. Choose the best management solution for you from automated, semi-automated, and manual solutions. You need to research every option or service available to ascertain whether you can count on a good return on investment.