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How Citations Can Improve the Local Search Ranking Of Small Businesses

How Citations Can Improve the Local Search Ranking Of Small Businesses

By | 03.22.12
How Citations Can Improve the Local Search Ranking Of Small Businesses

WHAT ARE CITATIONS?

Citations are defined as “mentions” of your business name and address on other web pages. They are also some times called “web references. A unique thing about citations in ranking your business high in search engine results is they need not be a web link to your business from external sites. Citations can be non-hypertext links like Address, Phone Number, and Reviews. In the local search space Google uses citations as an important component in ranking a local business high on its search results.

WHY CITATIONS ARE IMPORTANT FOR SMALL BUSINESSES

Citations are key component in the way search engines determine the ranking of your business. Citations work especially well with small businesses where most of the businesses do not optimize their sites for SEO rankings. This is particularly true in service businesses like plumbing or electrical where the businesses do not have website themselves and citations can help those businesses come top in search engine results. In these cases the search engines depend on whatever information they can find about the business from other sites and value authoritative web references.

HOW CITATIONS ARE USED BY GOOGLE

Google Uses citations to verify the authenticity and credibility of local businesses while listing them on Google Places’, the small business search results that appear on Google Maps. According to SEO expert David Mihm, there appears to be a strong connection between a good Google Place page ranking and the number of citations/reviews the page has. To see the citations for your business indexed by Google, log in to your Google Maps account and go to the tab ‘Web Pages’, there you will find your citation sources in Google Local.

HOW TO BUILD CITATIONS

In the context of Google Places results, citations are sourced from three places  Google Maps Users.

  1. Scraped from Web
  2. Third Party Providers.

For small businesses the sourcing from third party providers gives an easy opportunity to get good web references. For example getting citations from well-established and well indexed portals like DexKnows.com or SuperPages.com helps the authenticity and credibility about your business to the search engines and also having a current and complete profile in sites like DexKnows.com helps build a strong citation source for your business.  Other sources that you can use to build your citations include

HOW CAN YOU IMPROVE YOUR CITATIONS

Citation building is a difficult task but some small steps can take you to great heights in your Google Places Ranking.  Claim your listings on review sites related to your business.

  1. List your business in reputable business directories.
  2. Be consistent with your business information on all external web pages that cite your business.
  3. Be current on the information.
  4. Pay attention to reviews and answer complaints.

Citations or web references are great way for small businesses to improve their Google Places ranking and paying attention to your online presence is a sure way to get your business listing come to the top on search engine results.

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