A “citation” is a reference to your business information online – specifically, your Name, Address and Phone (NAP).
Why Are Citations Good?
Anytime someone mentions your business on their website they’re bringing attention to you and providing you with exposure to potential customer or clients.
Getting citations is not difficult, but may take some time. It will require that you send emails, make phone calls, and in many cases invest significant time developing relationships.
Chose Citation service for Small Business
Several services have appeared in the past few years to assist small businesses in fixing these citations across the web.
These vary from one time services (you pay a few dollars per site to have them update your record) to monthly subscription services (you pay a monthly fee for them to keep you “clean” all the time). In general, keeping your citations clean is an excellent idea, but at the same time don’t throw away money letting people scare you!
Here are 5 things you should consider when looking at citation services:
1. Claimed your business on Google! If not, do this before you do anything else. www.google.com/business. Since the majority of the benefit from citations is Google search, giving them your authoritative data is the easiest and most powerful “fix” you have.
2. How many other sites do you want/need to rank for? There are literally hundreds of directory sites in the US alone. How do you know which ones are important? If you haven’t heard of the directory, you may want to consider whether it’s worth your time and money to update it.
3. If you do hire a Citation service, make sure you get a full audit report of the results and verify it.
4. Make sure your NAP information is on your own website. I can’t tell you how many companies come to claim their listing but don’t have their NAP info on their own site. It doesn’t kill all the steps mentioned above, but it’s a major issue. Not only should you have your NAP on your website, it should be in schema.org format. Talk to your web designer about this.
5. Don’t stop with just your NAP. Many sites allow you to fill in additional information – hours of operation, business description, social media links and other attributes. These all help with Local SEO and give your potential customers more to learn about you online. It’s surprising how few businesses take advantage of this.
I have seen some unnecessary actions on behalf of small business owners (which usually includes spending unnecessary money) and if you give me a chance I like to help.
Your NAP is a core part of your business – it is the foundation of what makes you uniquely you online. I’d love to see more business owners take personal responsibility for this, since it is so core to their business.