“Citations are, much like backlinks, referrals which validate your site and build its authority and credibility.”
What are citations?
Citations are effectively your business listings, they come in many shapes, forms and sizes. Given the absolutely vast number of businesses with an online presence, citations offer the opportunity for users to validate their online business. The increasing prevalence of spammers, scammers and hackers means that defining your site as a legitimate and reputable site takes time and effort. One of the ways to build legitimacy and reputation is through local listing citations.
Probably one of the most common forms of citation and, arguably, the most valuable is the Google My Business listing. You may have one of this for your business or organisation. It may contain more or less information in it depending on your business.
Google My Business is probably one of the easiest and quickest to setup. Given its integration into the Google search engine results page (SERP), it’s critical to getting your business visible.
Why are citations important?
The process of building citations can be lengthy. Citations are important because most of them require some level of verification. In some cases this can be displaying ownership of the site, inputing a verification code submitted by email, post or phone or any other two-step verification method.
It’s precisely this verification method which builds your site’s reputation and legitimacy. Requiring verification eliminates many of the spam and hacker traffic. This proves to search engines that your website is legitimate.
“Getting your business listed with the right ones means being in the right place at the right time to serve your prospects.”
In addition to this, citations support user experience in search engines by providing critical information about your business to users. Given that user experience is so critical to SEO it’s easy to understand the value of citations.
Consider directories the Yellow Pages of the internet (in fact, Yellow Pages is one of those directories). There are a vast multitude of directories which service different business industries and sectors. Getting your business listed with the right ones means being in the right place at the right time to serve your prospects.
For example, there are basic general directories like: White Pages, Yelp , or True Local. However, there are also more specific directories including those for: tradespeople, particular service listings (like language schools or freighting companies), etc.
Searching for and finding the right directories to be listed on can be a painstaking process but the benefit to your SEO campaign is incredible!