While some in the brick-and-mortar business world still believe that the web is only for global corporations and eCommerce sites, most have come around and realized the importance of online marketing.
Of course, knowing how to market your business online isn’t quite so obvious. While there are several best practices, one that we’re focusing on today is accurate business profiles, as accurate business profiles – also known as citations – on directory websites are important for local search engine rankings
What Citations Are and Why They Matter
A citation is essentially a “mention” of your business on the web. Most SEO experts believe that for a citation to be counted by Google, it must include your business name and address. Inclusion of your phone number may be important as well. The more citations your business receives, the more Google can trust that your business is real, especially if the citations come from reputable directories.
This is why it is important not only to have a large number of citations, but to ensure that the information in each citation is accurate, and that you are listed in all of the most reputable directories. Good examples of reputable directories include the Google Local directory, Yelp.com, and YellowPages.com, but any website that lists businesses – from a local restaurant review site to a corporate business profile directory – has some local SEO value.
How to Get Citations
Of course, knowing that your business should be cited by reputable directories in order to get indexed and displayed in from of your customers is only a piece of the puzzle. You also need to understand how to get listed. You can start by visiting GetListed.org and entering in your business name and zip code. The site will return a list of the most popular directories and tell you whether or not your business is listed in them.
Use this tool to ensure that your business is not only listed, but owner verified, in all of these directories. You should be aware that it can take some time for the search engines to index changes on the web, so if you don’t see any changes after updating the directories this shouldn’t be a cause for concern.
Another tool to capitalize on is the Whitespark.ca Local Citation Finder. You can use it to find directories that businesses are listed in if they rank well for a certain keyword. This is a good way to find directories that have demonstrated an ability to improve rank.
Guest author Jason Lancaster works with BusinessProfiles.com, a website that hosts corporate business profile data for millions of businesses around the world, from Spain to business listings in Delaware.