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Are Citations an Essential Part of Ranking Higher within Google Local Search

March 29, 2020 Website Promotions

The quick answer is that it certainly doesn’t hurt! This question is one of the most commonly asked questions from small business owners who want to be listed on the first page of Google.

Some say that citations are an important part of the ranking algorithms of search engines. If other elements are equal between two businesses, the business with the most citation will probably rank higher than companies with fewer citations.

Perhaps it’s because most citations posting come with a backlink, and, in the words of most SEO professionals, backlinks are the currency of the web.

Everyone wants to know about citations because it seems to be all the buzz. So, some questions go along with it. What are they and how are they used?

If you are a small business and want to get on page 1 in Google (and why wouldn’t you?), citations are an important element towards getting into the top ranks.

You’re quickly going to find out what it is and why they’re so important. Plus, some extra tips will be shared at the very end, so be sure to read all the way through! Citations also validate that a business is part of a community.

First things first. What is a Citation?

Business citation listing

A citation is a simple listing of your name, address, and phone number for your business as search engines would see it on the internet. It’s also abbreviated as NAP.

Once you claimed your Google My Business listing (it’s free) and filled out the details, you provided Google with all of this information. It’s what makes up your business listing.

Why is a Citation Important?

Well, if you know a bit about SEO or search engine optimization, you know that backlinks to your web pages are vital to ranking higher in all of the Google organic search results. A backlink is easier than it sounds – it’s a link that goes back to a web page of yours and comes from another website. More backlinks, particularly with your keywords anchored within the link, will help you to rank higher on those keywords. Backlinks will help you rank higher, even if the pages on your website aren’t perfectly optimized.

What this means is that most citations will give you a backlink, and this helps Google to rank you higher within its search engine.

The Difference between Citations and Backlinks?

Citations and links are powerful signals that play a major role when it comes to local and organic search rankings. Understanding the differences between the two is important for anyone looking to maximize their site’s visibility for localized keywords. Failing to understand the difference between the two terms means that you won’t be visible online as you could be, or you won’t be visible completely (at least not on the first page of Google search results).

A backlink describes a link on another website that links to your website. For instance, when a blogger links his/her readers to your site. On the other hand, citations refer to any mention of your business without linking. If a site mentions your name, phone number, or address, they’ve cited your company in your eyes and Google’s. Backlinks are only useful if they are indexed. Backlinks from directory listing sites are easy wins. If it is a reputable listing site, you can be sure your link will be indexed organically within thirty days.

Does Google trust your business?

Google constantly checks that all the websites that appear on the first page of search results are trustworthy. They do this to give the users a better experience as they go about their online activities. If there are enough reasons for Google to trust your company, you will be given your website a little prominence in the search results.

Google’s “search engine spider” only depends on what it sees online, the more consistent the NAP information they find on the internet, the more they trust that you are a legitimate business in your industry and niche.

How do you know if Google Trusts your Business?

The most effective way of knowing what Google thinks of your site is through your rankings. Open Site Explorer is one of the best tools that can help you get this information. Put your website into the search field, and you will be presented with a report that includes your Domain and Page authority. Both the domain and page authority are rated between 0-100.

It is important to mention that Google will not trust your local business listing if the NAP information is not consistent throughout the internet. When a local business changes location, business names, or phone numbers, its listing is greatly affected. This is because Google’s “search engine spider” sees conflicting information around the web.

As stated earlier on, a citation is a mention of your business (name, address, and phone number). Google, through its “web crawling bot,” is continually looking for local information that matches the business listing appearing in Google’s local results. The more citations the Googlebot picks up about your business, the more trust rank it will give your website.

Here is an illustration: If you are running a restaurant, Googlebot will pull NAP information from different websites, including Yelp, BusinessNap, and so on. If the web crawling bot finds that the information is accurately and consistently listed on these websites, it will consider the listings as citations. And this will positively influence your page ranking.

 

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Ways to Promote your Site for Free on the Web | Benefits of Free Online Business Listing Directories | Backlinks, How They Can Help You | Benchmarks For A Solid Search Engine Optimization Strategy | Are Citations an Essential Part of Ranking Higher within Google Local Search? | Business and Directory Listings, The Good and The Bad | Online Business Directory the Benefits and Things you Need to Know | Keyword Difficulty: Key Principles When Examining Keywords

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