SEO (Search Engine Optimization) has been around for quite some time now. Over the years the types of factors which affect search engine result placement has constantly changed to reflect consumers’ needs. Among these are local citations left by consumers on social media sites, review sites, community blog sites, and other places online.
Citations are information consumers post online about a specific brand. When they write comments about the brand and their experiences, it can help increase the visibility for small businesses in search results on the major search engines.
How Do Local Citations Influence Search Engine Rankings?
Citations are indexed by search engines whenever they utilize their search crawlers to update information. When a new citation is found, it is indexed. The search crawlers and the algorithms used by the search engines are designed to assign a value to the content contained within citations. In addition, this data is connected with other vital data to determine rank placement in local search results. To better illustrate this concept, consider the following information:
- Citations are tied to online reviews and social media posts.
When a customer writes a review or posts comments on social media about a brand, whether positive or negative, it serves as marketing for that particular business. Search engines index this content and as the number of reviews and social media posts grows, it improves where the business is displayed in search results, for better or for worse.
- NAP (Name, Address, Phone) is considered structured citation data by the search engines.
Ensuring consistent NAP data is used across online platforms for local businesses. Consistent data translates to the search engine’s ability to provide accurate information for consumers. Using inconsistent NAP, like different phone numbers, or variations on the spelling of the address for the business, actually hurts search results. When NAP data is inconsistent, search engines have a hard time determining what information to display and could even display a competitor, who has consistent NAP data instead.
- Citations work well with other SEO strategies.
For local businesses, ensuring all possible combinations of effective SEO strategies are utilized helps ensure consumers are able to find their business when searching for their products and/or services. Even if you have an optimized website, the defining difference between you and your competition could come down to citations.
As you can see, incorporating citations as part of your local SEO strategy makes solid sense as search engines to continue to evolve and help bring consumers and businesses together in better and more meaningful ways. However, it is equally important to not overlook traditional SEO methods, too, and develop a balanced approach to SEO in order to achieve the results you desire.
For more information about SEO for your local business, please feel free to contact Toronto Local SEO company, Webryze at (416) 900-1047 today!