Local SEO is the focused application of SEO techniques to the promotion of a business within a particular geographic location, generally the area local to the business itself. Local SEO strategies help raise the profile of small, region-specific businesses that would otherwise be overshadowed by businesses that are not specific to a region. This distinction is helpful because not all areas are equally served by large businesses. Big box plumbing supply stores might carry the heaviest SEO weight, but people living in far-flung communities may not be served by such a business. A local solution must be found and this is where local SEO strategies really come into play.
Citations and Local SEO
One key strategy of local SEO is citation building. A citation is a mention of a businesses in a venue not directly connected to the business. For instance, a citation might be a listing of a business in a phone book or local Chamber of Commerce directory. Websites catering to particular interests may include a list of relevant businesses without necessarily promoting any of them over another. These are just a few citation examples.
Getting Your Citations Noticed
Though any business can benefit from having a website of their own to add weight to their online presence, creating a professional site and managing it appropriately is not always immediately achievable. There are a few simple ways to promote your business through the use of citations:
- Listings in trade journals and industry publications. Many industries have independent newsletters, journals, and other publications that serve as informational resources for the people working in that industry. Some such publications include directories of service providers relevant to readers.
- Online community listings. People working in all kinds of industries maintain online communities that function in part as directories of relevant service providers. For instance, websites that serve as forums or networking platforms for contractors are likely to have a listing of building supply outlets sorted by location. These directories do not exactly function as promotion; they are primarily informational resources.
- Traditional and online phone directories. Though phone books are seeing less use in some locations, people in many areas, especially those not well-served by wireless Internet or cell phone service, still rely on traditional phone directories to help them locate businesses within their community. Most phone directories produce only a physical copy or only an online copy though some offer their customers a listing in both editions.
- News stories and press releases. Service businesses often partner with local newspapers to release occasional informative articles of interest to community members. These articles can be about home improvement, gardening and lawn care, saving money on groceries, or about any other subject connected to your business. This citation strategy works well for both the business and the newspaper; the business gets valuable citations that appear in search engines and the newspaper receives quality content from a trusted local business.
Citation building requires business owners to think more dynamically about the many ways that an organization can be mentioned. It is important to remember that creating citations is not exactly the same as developing a new advertisement even though some of the venues might be the same. In a way, citation building is just a new way of developing old fashioned name recognition.
Edward Kundahl, Ph.D., M.B.A.
Ed can be reached at (or visit his websites)
855-943-8736 ext. 101