Local SEO, or local search engine optimization is now an important part of many businesses’ online marketing campaigns. It used to be that local SEO was a fairly abstract concept: research keywords, build pages on the cheap, then submit them to major directories and search engines. However, the explosion of local business online means that there are many more nuances involved in getting your business seen online in local search results. So, what are citations?
what are citations?
Citations are simply numbers associated with a website or blog post that links back to a particular site. For example, if you wrote an article about local dining in San Diego, you would include your city and state in the article’s resource box and include a link to your own website. If you used Google Maps, you could put “dining in San Diego, ca” in the geographic location section of the Google map. In this example, you’ve included both a local citation (your company’s URL), and a link to your own website.
You might also hear about “citations ratio.” This refers to the number of links that appear on a page relative to the total number of links on that page. The higher the number of citations, the more likely that the page will rank highly in the search engine results. Of course, there are other factors that go into page ranking. These include quality score, frequency of updates, external links, etc.
Ways to submit your website URL
The most effective way to get your business seen online is to submit your website URL, including a brief description, to all of the major search engines. The “sitemap” or to-do list is often used as the source for submitting web citations. This process involves creating a Google Map Citation that shows all of your citations within a clearly visible area. This is often combined with the ability to include an additional, very short description of your website link at the bottom of each listing. In this way, when someone searches for a local service or product, they can see your listing first, rather than having to wade through dozens of online listings.
What are citations anyway? Brief description of Citation is that Citations are a way to let Google know what your website has to offer. If an online user has visited your site and gotten results based on their query, Google uses the information contained in your “about” and “citation” sections to rate your site for its relevance. Google will use your citations to determine where your website should rank. These citations will be the main factor in how Google ranks your site.
Things you should know
However, there are a few things you should know before you start submitting citations to the search engines. First, in order to have your citations count as PR’s, your site must provide some level of useful information to users who are searching in a given area. The more your site offers to users in a particular area, the better the chances that these users will click on your links. Second, in order for your links to be effective, Google will also want to give your site some sort of context. This means that if your site isn’t specific to a certain city or region, Google might not assign it any PR value.
With these two factors in mind, it’s easy to see how having a great deal of high-quality, relevant backlinks but few or no local citations can hurt your ranking. However, Google has recognized that certain regions have a tendency to turn up more results than others when a searcher performs a local search. So, if your goal is to achieve high search engine placement and rankings, then you may want to focus on submitting a local citation to the search engines. This way, you can both increase the amount of high-quality backlinks you’ve built and improve your chances of Google assigning your site a local PR value.
In addition to local citations, you can also go beyond just having one or two. Google loves to see webpages with several different types of citations. You should consider including a PR (point of quality) whenever possible, as well as an anchor text link to your homepage. With this information, Google will feel much more confident in assigning your site a higher rank and giving it a higher local PR value.