In today's 60 Second Hack to Grow Your Business, you will learn about citations and the importance of consistency.
One of Google's ranking factors is having consistent information about a business all across the internet. In addition to the information listed on your website, Google uses what we call "citations" to determine how trustworthy your business is. Citations are simply how other businesses like Yelp and other directories list your business in comparison to how you list your business.
For example, the Foremost Media website lists our address as 207 N Academy St. Suite 200, Janesville, Wisconsin. When I Google "Foremost Media", I see lots of other listings for my business like Yelp, Facebook, the BBB and even directories like the Yellow pages. It's important that all these directories or "citations" list your information consistently with your website. Yelp has us listed as 207 N Academy St. Ste 200. That is not the same as the website which creates some confusion for Google. Google may think that this Foremost Media is not the same Foremost Media as my website listing. If your business has a lot of inconsistencies in the citation data, it can really hurt your local search rankings.
Here are a few common citation errors we see:
1. Using an 800 phone number on some sites and a local number on others. We recommend you pick one number and stick with it. With the cost of long-distance calls not really being an issue any longer, I would suggest publishing your local number with area code. This also sends a signal to Google that you are a local business.
2. Abbreviations like Street or St, N. or North, Suite or Ste all create inconsistencies. Correct these if you see them.
3. Keep your hours consistent between listings that let you publish hours.
4. Company name inconsistencies - make sure if you use something like "LLC" in your name, you use it not only on your website, but on all the other directory listings.
5. If you have moved or changed addresses lately, make sure the directories get your new address updated or you could see a drop in rankings.
Take a few minutes today to review what shows up when you Google yourself and make sure it's consistent. This sounds minor, but it can help you outrank the competition, especially when it comes to local search.
It's believed that Google uses over 40 plus primary directory sites to test your consistency and look for citations. If you're a do-it-yourself person, we can run a report and see how you appear on these primary sites, and provide a checklist for you on which sites should be fixed. If this is all a bit overwhelming, Foremost Media offers citation management. If you have a lot of inconsistencies, give us a call and let us help you fix them.