If you are like many start up marketers, the fancy expert lingo of professionals offering how-to articles can really get annoying. Just when you thought you were in the know, along comes a big term like citations to throw you off your game. Don't worry- citation marketing isn't all that complex. This guide is going to break it down in an easy to use format.
Think back to when you were in school. If you were lucky enough to have a quality education, then you should be somewhat familiar with the definition of citation. It's a reference or quote that relates to relevant points in your content. The same is true for SEO, but it isn't something you insert into your site yourself. Citations are used by search engines to rank you in local searches.
It works in much the same way as a back-link, but carries more credibility. A lot of citations on the web allows you to rank just as well in search engine results as businesses with tons of off site links. It is especially powerful for small, local businesses that are looking for geographically targeted traffic.
Examples of Citation Sites
- Angie's List
- City Search
- Insider Search
- Local Search
Basically, any online directory that has your business listing is a citation. Some directories double as review sites. To make citations work, you need to be sure that your business name, address, phone number, and website address are the same across the web. When the search engines see that your company information matches, it gives your site more credibility. Keep in mind, there are literally thousand of different places where your business may be listed. You will have to take the time to hunt these listings down and manually correct any discrepancies.
What if you are brand new to online marketing and you don't have any citations? In this case, you will need to go out and get some. Things that you can do are to add your listing to directory sites, write a press release with your address and phone number, update your blog postings to include demographic details, and solicit reviews of your business on major sites.
Remember, the quality of the site containing your citation is important. These citations are hard to fake, so search engines prefer a few quality mentions over a bunch of low quality ones. Detailed site rankings can be found on Alexa.com. Don't forget to think outside of the box too. Any local listing site can offer you an opportunity to gain a citation, including community sponsorships and paid advertising in your local online newspaper.
Set aside the time to correct your business information and create new mentions across other high ranking sites.