Building local citations has become a great tool for local businesses who are trying to improve their visibility through online directories. Some people in the local SEO community think this practice is dead, though the truth is far from this notion: directories are alive and kicking as long as you know what you’re doing.
The work that needs to get done for directories is plain simple most of the time, and requires you to go through a few simple steps so you can maximise your time doing these citations.
Before You Do Citations
Before you even start doing online citations, there’s a few things that you need to consider before doing an exhaustive and potentially expensive amount of registrations for your business. Citations are not for all types of businesses. There’s a limit to how much you can benefit from this type of SEO work.
Don’t do local citations if:
- You’re an online business.
- You have business-to-business (B2B) products.
- You ship through couriers.
- You sell nationally with no local branches.
Do add your business in web directories if you:
- Care about local presence.
- You have an address people can go to.
- You have physical products and people physically interact with your business.
- People finding you physically is important.
- Most of your revenue is from primary consumers, not businesses.
If you’re still unsure if you need it or not or you fall between these distinctions, you might want to perform consultations with your local SEO team. It will cost something, but it’s a report that can save you a lot of money and point you in a better direction.
3 Ways To Create Citations For Your Business
There are three ways to do online directories: doing it through an automated citation building service, doing it through a digital marketing and SEO agency and doing it yourself. There’s a few advantages over each other, especially with the quality and cost.
Automated Citation Builders
Automated citation services do one thing: look for your name across many potential citations and review services, aggregates this data in a neatly compiled information centre and lets you pay per registration in each site. One of the better sites that perform this is Brightlocal, Moz, Yext and Whitespark.
Whilst Moz is the most basic and the cheapest, Yext is the most limited in reach and can grow expensive over time. Whitespark and Brightlocal tends to be the preference of some people, with a few advantages over the other but they are mostly equal. There is, however, some issues in this regard.
For one, almost many of these citation builder sites focus on USA, Canada and the UK marketplace. Since our team’s focus is on Australian clientele, it’s safe to assume that you may be viewing this from Australia.
If that’s the case, you will have a number of limited options for your business if you go through this route. This is due to the fact that some great sites like Manta allow for registration of US businesses only as of this writing.
Their list, whilst helpful, is not perfect. In potential citations, it tends to list sites that do not even provide local directory services like magazine sites and news aggregators.
Your Local SEO Agency
The best route to move forward to register your business in online directory listings is to go with a digital marketing and SEO agency – and this is for a number of reasons. One, digital agencies like Sparta Digital tend to know what are the niche sites that will be most useful for your business.
Since local agencies like ours will know how the market works, you can be assured that you only get the best, most useful citations from here on out. You can even get insights on which sites to pour extra advertising money in, which premium account will serve you the best and get to the nitty gritty sites that gets the most niche audience. You’re brokering for information, so the best place to get local SEO is from agencies themselves.
This, however, will cost money. Depending on the level of work that you need, you would need to prepare some investment to get the best work. Most SEO jobs will have digital citation work added into the package, so you can get this job done and then some.
The last way to do it is the old-fashioned DIY route. If you have some spare time, you may want to do the method all by yourself or with a freelancer. This will cost you little to no money – if not for getting premium services on these directories. This also makes sure that you get into the relevant sites for your locale.
The issue here, however, is that you’re limited to how fast you can clack at a keyboard and how much time you have each time. Obviously, your time is precious if you’re a businessman. You can outsource this to someone else, but the quality of work will be dubious at best. One hour a day is not enough to do so, and you’re limited by your own pace.
Do this only if you’re 100% free or really strapped for cash, otherwise we suggest on doing the first or second routes.
How Do You Do Citations Yourself?
If you’re going the DIY route, there’s a way to do it smart without wasting too much time. This will still take a snail’s pace compared to the other routes, but doing these vital methods can be worth the work.
1. Make Your NAP Uniform
The first thing that you would want to do is write down on your word processor or notepad your business NAP. NAP stands for Name, Address, Phone Number, which are the important pieces of information that people need to contact you.
If you want to take this a step further, go through NAPE, which is NAP with Email Address/Website. Having a uniform NAP is critical when performing citations.
2. Claim Your Google My Business Location
Secure your Google My Business location. Google My Business allows you to claim your business on Google Maps and put your details in there when somebody searches through their Maps functionality. Since many sites use G-Maps, this allows for a great coverage and makes you more visible.
Registering your Google My Business account is simple, but requires a verification process that may require multiple modes of verification, from phone calls to Google sending your business a post card within 14 days – something that varies from location to location.
What’s important is you perform this claim and verify it. It’s amongst the most powerful, if not the single most powerful, business listing across the entire internet due to the sheer size of Google’s userbase and level of activity.
3. Claiming Your Business
The next thing you do is search for your business name on Google and look for directory listings that has your business on them. This would require a combination of keywords to show up, especially if you’re a small business, a startup or your name contains common search terms.
What you may want to do is search “[Your business name] [Your location]” or “[Your business name] directory listings” as keyword phrases to give you a better chance of finding yourself. Once you do so, start claiming the businesses by registering accounts manually over the sites.
This will take a lot of time, effort and verifications left and right, so have a tab for your business email, a search tab and your details on the ready on a word processor so you can just copy paste your details without muss or fuss.
Every successful claim that you do, save the details on an excel sheet. The name of the online directory, the NAP that you listed, and even the username and password that you used to register. This can become a clutter, so tracking changes is important.
4. Add Your Business on Directories It is Unregistered
Once you exhaust all the sites that you have your business listed to, you need to start looking for business directories that you are not listed to. There are exhaustive lists of online directory sites on the internet, so you can find one somewhere, otherwise simply search “online directories [your locale/country]” on Google.
Go back a step and start your registration on these websites. Rinse and repeat until you exhaust what you have in the first 10 pages on Google or the listicles for the best ones out there.
5. Choose the Best Online Directories To Get Premium Accounts On
Once you finish, decide on which sites you would want to get a premium account in. We listed five of the best local listings that we found for Australian users, so give it a look.
Go with sites that are active in your niche or has a strong audience presence. You can see this through the amount of reviews that the top businesses on the list get and recommendations online.
If you have extra money or an existing subscription, check for Alexa’s rankings report and see the details that you need like global rank, country with most traffic from the site, visitors by country and much more.
Local directory listings are one of the sure-fire way to get your name around the internet if you’re a small business or a startup. It’s one piece of the local SEO process, and an important way to get the niche audience that your business needs.
Whichever way you plan on going for your local citations, you’re bound to get a return out of it if you make sure to have your details complete, accurate and spend properly in areas that matter.