You own a local business in Charlottesville, VA or any town for that matter. You are not trying to compete nationally. Instead, you really want your business website to be visible when potential customers search for the local service you offer.
For example, you are a lawyer (lots in Cville!) and when you search for “lawyer Charlottesville VA” you see a bunch of ads, organic results, and the 7 pack of local listings. See the screenshot. If you don’t see your business in the ads, the organic results or the 7 pack it’s time to slam the fist on the desk! It’s also time to get to work and fix it.
One of the most important local search things you can do is build citations for your business. Some SEO nerds believe citations account for 25% of local search rank. What the F&(* are citations you ask? A citation is a mention of your business on the internet.
It can include a link or not include a link, but a full citation includes Business Name, Business Address, and Phone. Anything less than all 3 is a partial citation. Take a look at the 7 pack, each of those listings is a citation. Or look at the screenshot for Yelp listings to the right. That is also a citation.
So the goal for you as a lawyer who just slammed his fist down is to start building citations and equally important is to make sure your citations are consistent! Citations that have different business names, addresses, and phone numbers confuse directories and can negatively affect your local search results.
At this point you could have a professional fix it. Shameless plug = Quick Fix Geek does this for its customers. If you want to do it on your own or want to understand it more before you call a professional here are some tools to guide you.
How do I find citations? Here is a super list of places to build citations.
Are there citations specific to my city? Yes, go here for city-specific list of citations
Can I search for a list of my citations and inconsistencies? Yes, check your citations listings.
- Make Progress Today – Claim and Complete your Google Places, Bing Places and Yahoo Local citations
- While you are at it get some reviews as REVIEWS make up another solid 25% of local search rank. This makes sense as people use reviews all the time to make purchasing decisions.
- Make a plan for the next month to either hire a professional or drink lots of coffee and stay up working on your own citations.
- Make sure you completely fill out listings with photos, business info, etc which helps promote your business.
P.s. LocalEze, Acxiom, and Infogroup are 3 major data aggregators for citations. Cleaning up with them will help you push out uniform and consistent info about your business to other directories. That doesn’t mean you only need to work with these 3 and your work is done. You should claim each citation and completely fill it out. If you have free time (yeah, right!) look for additional citations you add to further improve your local search rank.