Local citations - what they are, why they are critical to your search engine ranking

What are local directory citations? Why do they matter?!

A local citation is any publication of your core business details, online. With literally thousands of business directories worldwide, the potential benefits of local citations aren't just the traditional 'where did you find us?' benefit of having direct enquiries from customers (although that is obviously still critical and valuable). On top of that, you also have the impact of having backlinks from business directories (some of which are considered 'authority sites' and whose backlinks are valuable) to your website. Also having search engines like Google just recognising that you have your NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number) listed accurately and on a high number of credible citation sites, is valuable to your SEO. This can dramatically impact your ranking against your local competitors who may or may not have their local citations as well crafted and maintained. If you use local citations both for direct customer enquiries and for SEO, you can get a big boost for additional organic ranking and organic traffic over time. According to a Moz study in 2015, local citations are right at the top of importance for your SEO juice in your online presence.

Local-Search-Ranking-Factors-Moz

The fact that local citations are mentioned twice, in the top 4 factors for SEO, speaks volumes about how important they can be to online ranking and generating traffic.

How much do paid listings on good business directories cost?

According to a recent article on Entrepeneur.com, a paid Yelp listing costs typically between $300 and $1,000 per month. According to a recent statistic from CRM Associates, a paid listing on Yellow Pages ranges from an average of around $800 per annum, up to a national display ad for around $18,800 per annum. Moral of the story? Getting onto large, credible, high traffic business directories can be valuable, but comes with a price tag that most small businesses don't have a budget to cover getting onto many directories at once.

How valuable are local business directory citations for my website's SEO?

According to this recent article by Shopify, there are 7 billion local searches EVERY MONTH on Go0gle. And aside from having good quality and good numbers of links to your website, also having your share of your local area and industry's local business directory citations is actually more important to your online marketing mix, than your actual website! And is as important as having good reviews online. So local citations is considered one of, if not the most, critical factors in ensuring you are found by targeted, local customer searches. Which is what most small businesses need to keep their doors open and their turnover... well... turning over.

Can I afford to NOT pay to have my local business directory listings and citations grown and maintained?

If you are so flat out with customers that you simply cannot take any more, and your cash register cannot open up to take in any more revenue, then sure. But aside from that, no, we don't think you can afford to not actively have your local citations grown, and maintained. Local citations can grow your online traffic, but also if you have any outdated or inaccurate local citations (and most of our clients do when we first audit them) those inaccurate results will actually effect your online ranking negatively, in the eyes of search engines. So NOT getting your local citations expertly, and regularly boosted and monitored, is a costly and dangerous risk that most small businesses simply cannot afford.

See the proof in the SEO pudding. Check out a Local SEO & Citation Reports below. Directory submission, social links, photo geotagging and video tagging. What you should be getting with any local citation service worth its salt.

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