Build Them, and They Will Come
Them being citations, and They being customers- because, when it comes to increasing local search visibility for your business, there are fewer, more effective methods than engaging in an extensive citation building program. Unfortunately, there are also fewer more arduous and time consuming processes. Making matters more complicated is the fact that industry standards and effective practices change on a regular basis. Which means, without a wealth of industry knowledge and experience to draw on, all the money and time expended in the pursuit of expanding your business through local SEO citations will have been for naught. If you missed our part 1 of this beginner’s guide, check it out here.
Building citations is an onerous, demanding undertaking. Yet, for some reason, many small business owners elect to go it alone. Experience pays in your business, just as it pays in the business of building local SEO citations. Trained professionals understand the arduous processes.
Why Worry with Citations
Citations work with proximity to help determine search engine ranking. The more qualified (this adjective is important!) citations your business has, the higher the ranking, the more foot traffic, the more sales. Conversely, dubious citations will have an adverse impact on your ranking.
Why Not Go it Alone?
Building a compendium of proper citations (the kind that meets Google Guidelines) requires an extensive knowledge of:
- The difference between structured and unstructured citations
- Effective outlets extending beyond Google and Yahoo!
- How to achieve the utmost effectiveness from Data Aggregators
- Horizontal Directories, Industry Specific Directories, Region Specific Directories
- Gaining local blog mentions in order to increase local SEO citations
- Claiming an incorrect, or improperly formatted citation
- Site specific rules which may require Owner Verification
- Google’s Compliancy guidelines
As if all that weren’t enough, you also then need to know to which sites to apply your citations. This may sound simple, but there are literally thousands of options carrying varying degrees of reliability. Just to name the most well known, there are:
- Neustar Localeze
- Yahoo’s Regional Directory
If this sounds like a lot to have to know, it is. Unfortunately, this still has not exhausted the knowledge requirements. Knowing what these tools are and how to use them is great. Knowing how to use them in such a manner that achieves the maximum return on investment is better.
Yes, investment. You should view the process of building local SEO citations as an investment not only because you will be paying someone to build the citations, but because you may have to pay some of the top sites a fee for such citations. Trained professionals know which of these sites are worth the extra capital and which are not. Free listings are great, but if you are serious about growing your citations in order to strengthen your business, remember that you get what you pay for.
The Benefits of Experience
Having an experienced firm responsible for the process also means that someone else is keeping up with the endless spreadsheets of listings, log-in information, and back up files. To reiterate, an experienced firm will know exactly where to place your citations in order to increase the visibility of your brand. They will also be able to help establish a higher degree of trust from search engines which will in turn increase your rankings.
One last point to bear in mind: building citations is not a fire and forget type of attack. The truly successful businesses are those that remain vigilant by performing quarterly citation audits that keep their data current and ensure proper formatting. Don’t neglect one of the most important assets to your business.