Citation building is an important part of local SEO. It is the process of creating accurate online business listings to build up authority within Google.
What is a citation?
A citation is any mention of your business details online. A full citation includes the name of your business, the address and phone number, which is also referred to as NAP. Any citation that doesn’t include all three – name, address and phone number, is known as a partial citation and is not as beneficial for SEO as a full citation.
Citations and SEO
Citations are an important factor that Google considers when deciding which website to rank within local search results. The more full and correct citations, the higher the chance of ranking well. The number, accuracy and the quality of the citation platforms all influence your practice’s position within the Google results.
The information included in your citations must match the information on your website and Google My Business page exactly. Therefore, it is recommended to choose one and stick to it across all online platforms. Some common differences can be the inclusion of ‘ltd.’ including floors and building names, or listing numbers with +44 or 0s. These differences can make a big difference to citation building’s effectiveness, so make sure you are consistent. However, Whitespark suggest that small abbreviations do not matter, as Google is intelligent enough to understand these small discrepancies.
The accuracy of your citations is also important for driving traffic to your website. If a potential patient finds you on a directory, they are likely to pick up the phone and call you or visit your website for more information. If the information they are shown is incorrect, or different to another listing they may have seen, it may confuse the user and impact the level of traffic you receive.
Should I website URLs be included on citations?
While including your website URL on your citation is not necessary for accurate citations, it is always best practice to include this if possible. Firstly, it provides an easy way for potential patients to visit the site without having to move away to find you in another manner. Secondly, although most directories offer no follow links, some are valuable and therefore it can provide a way to build links to your site.
Citations can be either unstructured or structured
It’s important to note that citations can be built in 2 ways:
- Structured citations
Structured citations are those that appear on business directories that allow you to submit your business information to create a citation. This is most common on business directories such as Yell, Google My Business and 192.
- Unstructured citations
Unstructured citations are those that appear online other than in directories. This can be in the form of articles, news or blog posts that mention all of your business information within the text.
Both structured and unstructured citations are valuable, so it is a good idea to build up both types.
Citations are a simple and highly effective method to optimise for local SEO. It is important to use the same information when working on building your citations and get listed on as many directories and sites as possible. It is recommended to spread this out over time, however, as Google can penalise websites that appear to be building citations unnaturally. Remeber to revisit and update all your citations if any business information changes to avoid any inaccuracies.
If you would like any more information about citation building, please contact Dental Design on 01202 677 277.