Being found online today is critical, and it can be a challenge. Directories and Citations play a very important part in developing an effective local online presence. So yes, Directories and Citations matter!
Directory listings are online directories that serve as virtual “phone books”. They contain key company information, like name, address and phone number (NAP), website url, and sometimes a map location. There can be other business information as well, like hours of operation, payment options and photos.
A directory listing, in the context of local search, is an entry of your business name and physical address on an online directory like yellowpages.com, Bing local, Foursquare and even Facebook.
Many directory listings are free to add your business, but some charge a fee. Some will allow you to be listed indefinitely; some for a limited time. The important thing to note is that it helps your local SEO to be listed in certain directories, especially those that apply to your business product or service.
There are also generic directories that are critical for every small business. The following directories will greatly improve your local SEO, so you should make sure you sign up for these as a priority.
When it comes to signing up for additional directories, especially those that are specific to your business, you’ll need to consider several factors.
A local citation is any mention of a local business out on the web, with or without a link. It can come in various forms:
Given that a citation is simply a mention of your business, it can appear in numerous places, such as blogs, forum posts, social media platforms, and government sites.
Citations differ somewhat from directory listings, in that they can appear online on websites, articles and blogs, and almost anywhere. Directory listings are more formal and follow a particular structure and format, dictated by the directory. Local citations do not to include a link to your site.
Citations provide Google and other search engines with credible sources of information to verify that your business actually exists, is legitimate and that what you say about your business is true and accurate. Citations allow Google to corroborate what is said about your business from multiple sources.
So now that you know what they are, how will you benefit from directory listings and local citations? Here are some ways they can help your local SEO rankings:
If you are a small business that has yet to develop an effective SEO strategy, some directory listings could increase your ranking. For example, if you have a valid and complete listing on Google My Business, it could show in the top results even if your website itself doesn’t rank highly.
Listings and citations are an affordable method of getting your business name out there.
Competition is keen in almost every industry. You can leverage your exposure with listings and citations. Some directory listings allow customers to leave reviews, which can be used to increase your online reputation and credibility. However, you will need to regularly monitor the reviews and address any negativity quickly.
To win the local listing game you essentially need more directory listings and citations than your competitor. However, quality and accuracy of the information you enter in the listings are very important, as well. The more complete your listings are, the more value they will provide on Local SEO rankings.
St. Louis SEO for Growth can help you leverage a large amount of directory listings and citations all at once so you don’t have to figure out which ones are best for you. We have tools and software that we use to help you manage all of your business directory listings and citations simultaneously at one low cost.