There are countless places in which a citation, which is mention of the name and address as well as phone number or website for your business is mentioned, can be constructed for your local business. The focus of every local business should be on building a core of citations that is strong and not only upgrades your business visibility, but also strengthens that “trust” of the search engines in how valid your business’s existence is. Experts view authoritative, high quality citations as the main factor in competitive local search markets.
Here are some great potential citation sources for your local business.
1. Data Aggregators
There are four main aggregators for local business data in the United States. Neustar Localeze, Factual, Infogroup and Acxiom have all gathered unique indexes of around twenty million business locations all over the United States. Typically these indexes are combined by scouring business group membership rosters, traditional phone books, data bases from business registration entries, and banking and phone records.
These aggregators in turn syndicate or license their data to the majority of local search engines, these include Bing and Google. The amount of time that is takes a search engine such as Google to update their indexes with the new data sent by the aggregators can vary, however for the most part this is a process which takes from two weeks up to three months.
2. Local Search Engines
Local search engines such as Google and Bing crawl the web in search of citation that will correct or validate the business information they have indexed. Being listed on sites such as Hotfrog, Foursquare, Yelp, and others can shore up the confidence the search engines have in the accuracy of the name, location and website for your business. The majority of the local businesses must engage in a concerted citation building campaign that guarantees their listing in as many quality, relevant local business directories as they can.
3. Local Blogs
A great place to have your business listed is in a local blog. Obviously these will vary particularly by geography, however simply by performing a search on your preferred search engine for “(insert your city) blog,” or “(insert your neighborhood) blog,” you will probably find great candidates.
By definition, the sites that show up on these types of searches are, extremely well indexed by search engines and very highly associated with a certain city, region or neighborhood in local results. Businesses that are linked or mentioned in there blog are seen as relevant and trusted results for a local search engine.
4. Locally Focused Directories
As with local blogs, search engines really index local directories and they are highly associated with a certain city or region. A directory that is edited by a human is a lot better than the ones that are “free for all.” A directory that is edited by humans is much less susceptible to spam, that makes them much more trustworthy to a local search engine. A couple of examples of great locally focused directories are Yahoo´s Regional Director and Best of the Web´s Regional Directory. To find great prospects for these types of citations, you can perform a search for something like “(insert state)” directory or “(inset city) directory.”
5. Directories or Blogs that are Industry Focused
If a website is focused in keywords and topics that are related to the services and products you provide, it could be among the sites that the local search engines view as citation sources — regardless of whether or not that directory or website is focused on certain region. For example, a blog that readers in your industry like or your trade organization’s membership directory will probably both be crawled for citations by the local search engines. By searching “(insert keyword) directory” or (insert your industry) directory” you will get a good idea of the sorts of sites you should get listed on.