What are citations and how do they help my business?

Along with creating a website, your company needs to be listed in other places on the web to help search engines (and people) verify that you are a real business, that you are located where you say you are, and that you’ve established a solid reputation in your community. Citations are the listings on other websites that help build your credibility with search engines like Google and Bing.

example of a business citation on yelp

PRO TIP: All of your listings should match EXACTLY. Your name, address, and phone number (also known as NAP) should appear identical, regardless of the site it is listed on. 

One of the first steps in digital marketing is setting up your Google My Business (GMB) account. When you create your account, Google may adjust how some of your information is formatted. If this happens, use the adjusted version of your NAP. To make it easy, save this version and use copy and paste for any other citation you build.

Building multiple citations for your business is tedious so it’s important to start off on the right foot. Call us today and let our team do it for you!

Why are citations important and how do they work?

When you first build your website, Google doesn’t know if your site is a good place to send its customers, the searchers; mainly because it doesn’t know enough about you and it hasn’t seen your business online before. Google looks to see if you have listings on other websites to verify your business, basically asking the online world if anyone else has heard of you and can attest that you are a business it should direct traffic to.

With even a basic online presence on Google My Business and social media sites like Facebook and Instagram, Google (and other search engines) will recognize all of your information matches and will start to trust you as a company. Theoretically, the more citations you build, aka the more websites that say you are who you say you are, the more credibility you gain with search engines.

citations build online credibility

This is especially important if you are a local business. You want to build a credible online reputation in your local community. If you are a national company, local citations matter much less, but will help if you have physical locations in different cities. Add local citations for each of your store locations.

How many citations do I need?

Citations are part of your local SEO and contribute to how high you rank in local searches. There is no specific number of online listings that is “good” or “good enough”. One benchmark to consider is how many citations your competitors have and do better. The number of citations you have is really about the search engine robots more than it is about the searcher. This will depend a lot on your industry niche.

How do I manage my citations?

Perform a search of your company and find how many citations you already have. These could have been created by your company previously or added by robots who grabbed your information from another site. Double check that all of them are listed correctly and edit them as necessary. Claim any listings that you don’t already own, and if you’re not able to claim them, it may be necessary to remove them. It’s better to remove a listing than to ignore wrong information about your business.

PRO TIP: Start a spreadsheet to help manage your citations. Keep track of every site where you have a listing or an account and the login information for each one. Use an email address that won’t be changing ie info@yourbusiness.com. Do not use an email address from your email provider (eg @bellsouth.net). If you change email providers down the road, you don’t want to lose access to all of your listings and have to go through the process of claiming them all over again. Include your NAP as it’s listed on your GMB so this can serve as a template when you create new citations in the future.

marketing help reduces stress when creating powerful citations

Working with a digital marketing company can remove the burden and time-suck of setting up and managing all of your citations. At Fortibus Marketing, we offer SEO services that include building citations and expanding your online presence. We’ve created systems that make this process simple and efficient for you. We take care of your digital marketing while you take care of your customers

Where should I build citations?

Common sites for business listings include your local Chamber of Commerce, Yelp, YellowPages.com, and Angi.

Press releases are another form of citations; they include your NAP along with news about your business. While they do not stay online permanently, they do get widely distributed on numerous sites across the web, and this can give your business a boost in online visibility.

There are also local citation services that will post your information on other websites for you, or you can talk with the experts at Fortibus, and we’ll take care of all of this for you. :)

Pro tip: Some sites are simple and only list your NAP, while others allow you to build more of a profile. If you have the option to add more information about your company, be as descriptive as possible. Add interior and/or exterior photos of your business. Include a company bio and list of services. The more in depth you make it, the more credible your company becomes to those robots calculating if they should show your business to the searchers.

Even a few simple citations will help establish your company’s online credibility. Building numerous and more complex citations will take time and organization, but will give you an additional boost to edge out the competition and get in front of new customers.

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