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As consumers, our Google and Bing searches are almost always pre-meditated. Customers know exactly what products or services they’re looking for and where. Maybe you’re looking for a “steakhouse in Nashville, Tennessee” or a “pet grooming service in Franklin, Tennessee”. As a business owner, you want to ensure that your business appears at the top of the search results when those queries related to your business are made.

One key ingredient to help make that happen is to ensure that your company’s name, address, phone number and website are listed correctly on important citation websites such as business directories, search engines, mapping systems and apps. Some of the most important and well-known sources that allow citation listings include

  • Google My Business
  • Yelp
  • Yellow Pages
  • Manta
  • FourSquare
  • Bing Business
  • Angie’s List
  • Waze

Many of the most important social media platforms will also provide business owners with the opportunity to cite their pertinent contact information as well. Other important fields that are often included with citation listings include your company’s contact email address and fax number, interior and exterior photos of your business, links to your company’s social media pages, customer reviews, hours of operation and business categories.

How does Google view local citation listings?

When Google sees that your company’s contact information is accurate and has a high volume of citations, it develops a level of trust for your company since search engines are always amassing data about local businesses. This is especially true if your competitors haven’t conducted the local SEO efforts that your company has. However, when your citation listings are inaccurate, this could spell trouble for your business’ ability to perform well in the local search results. These days, search engines are all about delivering a quality customer experience and inaccurate data could lead to your customers being mis-lead.

One of the most common ways inaccurate information gets transmitted across the web is when a business relocates, changes it’s phone number, changes it’s website address or unknowingly creates a duplicate listing. It’s very important that business owners fix inaccurate business information to ensure that their business performs well in local searches. One way to do this is to keep an excel spreadsheet with the following fields

  • Name of the citation listing (Yelp, FourSquare, etc.).
  • A link to your company’s citation listing.
  • Login and password information for the citation listing.

Keeping an organized log of your company’s citation listings will be extremely helpful if your business is acquired or new management assumes operations. Ignoring the importance of your company’s citation listings can also be disastrous. Many of these listings allow customers to leave reviews about your business. If you’re neglecting your company’s listings, it could be months before negative reviews are discovered. However, by that time, your business will have potentially suffered a loss of revenue and reputation. There are also times when your company may also rebrand itself or change it’s hours of operation. Having quick access to these citation listings will allow your staff to make these much-needed changes.

There are indeed some instances when a company may exclusively do business overseas and local search isn’t as big of a factor for them. However, bypassing citation listings means your business is missing out on link building opportunities that could positively influence your website’s overall domain and page authority. The stronger your website’s domain and page authority, the better it will rank in the search results and the more revenue your business will generate.

Does your business need guidance with building citation listings and ensuring your company’s information is up to date? John Mann SEO Consulting can help. Building and monitoring local citation listings is one of the core components of our search engine optimization and link building campaigns. To schedule your free consultation, give us a call at 615-491-9819 or complete our contact form. All clients that inquire about our services will receive a complimentary website audit and consultation. John Mann SEO Consulting is passionate about helping small businesses build their online presence and we’d love to hear from you.