A variety of factors can have a huge effect on the organic or local search ranking of any website, and this is especially true for small businesses. Local search is most important for smaller businesses that rely on local customers to become the core of their client base. On the search end, these result vary depending on where the search term is being used; sometimes also mixing with organic search results.
One great way to improve your search engine optimization strategy are citations. Citations are basically any mention of your business name, address and phone number on any website, blog, directory etc. Even if they don’t include a link to your website, Google attributes them to your page on Google+ Local; essentially a listing that compiles information about your business from across the web. In organic SEO, directly hyperlinked websites fare much better in the search ranking, and this type of search relies much more on inbound links to determine the rankings. For local SEO, your Google+ Local listing page plays a big part in your ranking and ad position, so ensuring it has plenty of relevant and accurate information to pull from is important. Google is essentially verifying that your business not only exists but also that what you claim about it on your website is accurate by putting it up against mentions elsewhere on the internet. So where do these mentions come from?
Firstly, there are different types of citations, so they can essentially come from anywhere. Some examples are:
● General business directories that list all types of businesses. These can be local or international and compile businesses that are similar in some way
● Niche or sector specific directories that list businesses that are directly related to yours who share the same or similar markets and categories with your own. People will likely be searching specifically for a company like yours when they come across listings like this
● Local newspaper and press websites. These are good sources because they tie your business directly to your area
● Prominent local websites (especially if they’re related to your niche)
● Social Profiles (Twitter, FourSquare, Facebook, YouTube). These can offer great citations, particularly your brand’s own social media accounts. Most business have at least one or more accounts on any given social network. Discussions and mentions on social media surrounding your business also make for excellent citations; as they are raw, informative and up to the minute commentary on your business.
Getting cited more often is essentially the main goal to take advantage of these types of listings and there’s a few ways you can do that.
● Makes yourself seen on all the major search engines. This one is a bit obvious, but be sure to claim listings on Google+ Local, Bing Local and Yahoo! Local.
● Search for community-based websites to be listed on; like the Chamber of Commerce or Better Business Bureau, local newspapers, media outlets, blogs and more. If it’s based in your general area and is highly reputable, the more it will help you.
● Search for niche blogs specific to your industry
● Be sure that your listings are 100% correct as this will be some people’s first time seeing your business and you may lose out on the chance to convert by having wrong contact information listed.
An important thing to keep in mind is that, although enhanced search engine optimization is the goal, you also gain invaluable exposure by being listed and mentioned in a plethora of different places. The conversation possibilities are endless when you have quality citations all over the web. You can never be sure where your next great click will come from.
This article was contributed by http://theadmanagers.ca