Did you know that more than 97% of customers search for services online. And 69% of such search results are affected by geolocation.
Like Bill Gates of Microsoft once said, “If your business is not on the Internet, then your business will be out of business”.
In today’s context, if your business does not show up on a Google search, you might go out of business because your competitors are going to take away all the traffic.
The good news is that you can get your business on Google ’s local listings even if you don't have a website.
What is a Local Citation?
A local citation is the visibility of your local business details online. These details include the name, address and phone number of your business.
Citations can be made available on websites, apps, social media and local business directories. The more citations you can get for your business, the more visible it becomes to your target audience.
Why is a Citation Important?
A citation helps more internet users discover your local business. It also impacts local search engine rankings. If you are able to get accurate details of your local business listed on quality sites, it improves the legitimacy of your business and adds value to its online profile.
How Does a Local Citation Work?
Google’s local search takes several parameters into consideration while listing your business on search results. The ranking factors that determine the position of your business on map listings are:
1. Physical Address
Google tries to match your physical address with the location proximity of the user. The more accurate and specific your business address is, the better the chances of getting listed on Google map listings.
You can set the correct physical address of the business by placing the pin in the exact location. Placing the pin in the wrong direction will not help in getting listed for local customers who could be searching for your service.
2. Category Associations
Google considers the business category associations you have provided in the Google + Local page. Wrong choice of categories will lead to incorrect indexing or even fail to list your business in the local listings.
Tip: If your business offers a niche product or service, you can use the custom category association to include it in Google’s listing.
3. Local Citations
In simple terms, local citations are like recommendations. Search engines like Google look for links to your website’s name, location or contact details in other websites. They create links each time they find such details, which is referred to as local citation. When there are more local citations, there's a better chance that your website will show up in listings.
4. NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number) Consistency
The consistency of your business name, address and phone number is a serious ranking factor that Google considers before placing your business in top listings. NAP consistency requires that you use a consistent brand name, physical address and also telephone number (preferably local) in listings. Using several alternatives will confuse the search engine, thereby pushing your business down the list.
Tips to Create a Foolproof Business Listing
Now that we have given you the ranking factors, you also need to know some hacks that can help you get higher a ranking on Google local search.
Use Your Brand Name
Google weighs brand names and branded keywords higher than keyword stuffed listings. Keyword stuffing in a business name is a thing of the past. The way forward to impress Google will be through branded business names that can attach some weight to themselves.
Collect Online Reviews
According to BrightLocal, at least 80% of customers trust online reviews as much as they trust suggestions from near and dear ones. Online reviews not only inspire customers but also help in boosting the search engine friendliness of your business. Further, these reviews might also include keywords that help in boosting search engine ranking.
Use Local Phone Number
Let’s say your business is located in California. It makes sense to use a local number with a Californian calling code than the number of some other location where your business might have an office.
Direct to Local Pages
The last thing you want to do after getting your visitor to click on your business listing is to make them go around in circles. So, ensure you direct your users to a specific page within the website for their particular location.
Use Different Descriptions
Let’s assume your business has multiple locations located across a city. In such a case, you can use the same brand name but not the same description everywhere. Use different descriptions for different locations for maximum advantage.
These are some pointers you must bear in mind while listing your business for a local SEO advantage.
Now, check out this handy list of websites where you can start listing your business online:
Websites for US Listings:
Websites for Indian Listings:
Websites for Australian Listings: