Even though citations have been there for a while now, many business owners struggle to do them right. Even though it seems so easy, people underestimate the power of citations. More importantly, they underestimate the negative effect of citation errors. Not playing your cards right when posting citations can bring your ranking down, send negative signals to Google, and as a result, cause you to lose some valuable customers. That’s why we have created a guide that includes common mistakes with local citations. Be sure to learn them and make your SEO stand out!
The connection between citations and local SEO
Before we jump to common local citation errors, let’s remind ourselves of their importance to the local SEO. Citations help your SEO in so many ways:
• they increase the ranking in Google search;
• they verify the existence of your business and therefore increase its online visibility;
• citations make it easy for customers to find your business or services/goods it offers;
• increase the authority of your website, which gains more trust from the customers.
All of these factors lead to more revenue, which is why you should try to avoid common local citation mistakes to make your local SEO as efficient as possible.
Google searches have a lot to do with the success of your website – correct any mistakes you make with your SEO.
Mistakes with local citations you should avoid
There are many basic guidelines on creating and maintaining your citations. However, despite these guidelines, we are sometimes unaware we’re making some simple errors that can cost us a good-quality SEO. Therefore, it’s time to go through the main slip-ups when it comes to local citations.
Let’s start with the basics. Every citation you create needs to have the correct information, especially NAP – name, address, and phone number. This is the first and the most critical step for making your business visible. When researching different categories, users should be able to find your company under the same name. That’s why you should check your NAP twice before creating a citation, avoid using variations and update the information as soon as something changes. Sometimes even a small typo can cost you a lot.
Inconsistent citation details
Incorrect NAP leads us to inconsistent details, one of the common mistakes with local citations, especially with new website owners. The reason is that they don’t understand the detriment of using variation in their business name, address, and other detail. Two seemingly similar citations are two entirely different units in the eyes of Google. They will only confuse your customers and look like misleading information that will drive users away. Also, choose one formatting style of your NAP and stick to it – you’ll see results pretty quickly.
Forgetting to create a GMB profile
Google My Business is one of the main steps of your SEO strategy. GMB is an essential part of Google searches, which is why your website needs to be there. Creating a Google My Business profile or claiming the one that already exists is relatively easy. It’s also free.
Let your business be easily discovered by correcting common mistakes with local citations.
Managing only the citations you created
Without a doubt, the first step is creating citations in main directories. However, you should also claim citations made by other users. This will allow you to manage them and correct potentially misleading information about your business.
Not being specific
The beauty of local citations is that they give enough information about your website, making it a lot easier to reach more users. That’s why posting only general information and not paying attention to details is a mistake. One of these details is undoubtedly your business category – choosing the right one will narrow the searches and point them to your website. If you pick the wrong business category, browsers will not offer your website results to your target audience. Your website may reach people who are not interested in your content, products, or services, making all your efforts pointless.
Don’t let local citations mistakes stop users from reaching your website.
Avoid dealing with duplicates
We admit it – dealing with duplicates can be a tiring task. However, duplicate citations can cause you a lot of trouble, which is why you should cope with them one way or another. Duplicates make a search engine think of your website as spam; they mislead your target audience and increase the risks of posting inaccurate information about your business. That’s why one of the main things you should do is to find and deal with them. You can either delete that listing, edit it or merge it with one of the verified listings in that directory. If this seems like too much work, hiring professionals can save you a lot of time and energy and do the duplicate cleanup for you. Trusting an experienced professional is the mistake-proof method commonly used by website owners.
Not covering the main directories
One of the typical local citation mistakes is not creating listings on major sources and local directories. The majority of website owners cover some part of the directories, not giving their business a chance to be discovered. To increase the visibility of your website, you need to do your best and make it easy for users to come across it in search results. If you don’t cover the main directories, search engines will not offer your business in search results and put you behind your competitors. Here’s what you can do:
• First, cover global directories such as Yelp, Foursquare, Apple Maps, Facebook, etc.
• Make sure you create or claim your listings in leading data aggregators – Localeze, Factual, Acxiom, and Infogroup.
• Discover local directories that are relevant to your industry, and submit your information to all of them.
If you recognize that you have been making some of the mistakes with local citations, it’s time to startdealing with them. Making your SEO perfect is not difficult to do; you just need to focus and leave no room for errors.
Josh Tucker is a digital marketing specialist who has worked for AZ Citation Services for several years. He has helped many websites build online authority and grow their business. He is a father of two young twin boys with whom he loves spending time in nature. He is also a keen writer so he frequently composes articles for various websites.