There’s been quite a bit of discussion online about whether citations (mentions of your company online is places like online directories like Yellow Pages and Business.com) still matter. The short answer is yes, they definitely make a difference.
A local citation usually lists your company name, address and phone number – also known as NAP. Citations can be found in a variety of places – business directories, review sites, association sites, and social media profiles and pages.
The reason these citations are so important is that the Search Engines use the data they find in these citations as part of the algorithm that ranks you in the local search results. Google looks for three things
- The number of citations your business has
- The accuracy/consistency of information listed
- The quality of the domain the citation is listed on
Source: Moz.com Local SEO Report
And Google gives this advice: if you are not showing up in local searches, improve your information.
Local search results are based primarily on
- Relevance (how closely your information matches the search query)
- Distance (how close are you to the searcher)
- Prominence (Authority and popularity of your company or service).
Make sure that Google finds correct and consistent information in all your citations. If your business is listed as Natural Health in some places, Natural Health and Wellness in others, and even Natural Health Center somewhere else, Google will get confused. And that hurts your chances of being ranked in local search results.
Directories and sites with reviews are great for local search. It’s that prominence factor. Google is looking for the best results to serve up to their users. They want to give them results that will meet their needs.
One way they gauge prominence is reviews. Your Google review count and score is factored into local search ranking, so the more reviews and positive ratings you have, the more likely your local search results will improve.
Local SEO Action Plan:
- Find all citations for your practice online
- Fix any errors in the Name, Address, Phone Number
- Make all listings consistent and accurate
- Monitor the listings to see that the consistency is maintained
- Actively encourage patients to post positive reviews
- Monitor the reviews and respond to all reviews in a timely manner
Does this take time and effort? Indeed, it does. But the rewards are certainly worth it.
A recent study of local search results showed that, on average, a business featured in these results gets 59 actions every month. That’s calls, clicks, and website visits.
Don’t have the time to spend on digital marketing? We can do the heavy lifting for you while you concentrate of helping the new patients who find you online.
Get a free analysis of your local listings and your Google My Business profile. Send a request to firstname.lastname@example.org
Sally Falkow has been at the forefront of digital marketing since 2003. Her work with businesses both large and small has been acknowledged with several awards. At UNS Marketing she is focused on helping health care practitioners reach more people and help them get on the road to health.