Citations are a mention of either a business or its address on another website. They don’t necessarily have to have a link back to the business’s site itself – the mention alone is enough. A good example is the Yellow Pages, your local chamber of commerce website, or any association where businesses are listed. In all these, the business names are mentioned but there isn’t always a link back to the business. Citations work very much like back linking. If a business name is mention on high profile websites it ranks better. There are several benefits of citations.
• The biggest benefit of citations is ranking. The more citations a business has the better it is ranked. As we already mentioned, if a website is cited in a high profile website it ranks better.
• Citations are great for very small businesses that may not have websites. They help the businesses to be found when users search online. Imagine a local plumber is a medium sized town, for instance. If he doesn’t have a website but he is listed on they Yellow Pages or the local chamber of commerce users can still find him when they search online.
• Citations help when it comes to search. If, for instance, a user is not sure of the business they are looking for in your niche and they type some very general terms there is a good chance that if your business has citations it will be listed. If, for instance, they type in something like “New York real estate” they will get a list of websites that list all the real estate companies in New York. If your business is cited they will see it.
• Citations are very important to the algorithms of search engines. When they find them, it helps them confirm that a business is really who they say they are.
• They are also useful when it comes to helping users confirm that businesses are legitimate. If a business is listed in the local chamber of commerce or an association, for instance, it is highly unlikely that it is fake.
How do you get citations?
There are several ways that you can increase the number of citations that you business has:
• Start by getting reviewed on the most common review sites. If you can tell your clients to review you on sites like Yelp, HotFrog and Foursquare you will have added to your citations by a lot.
• Getting your business mentioned on local blogs is another way that you can get citations. Just search for the most popular blogs in your area that have content that is relevant to your business. You can join in the conversation and in the process give yourself a citation. Ask a few of your clients to do the same.
• You should also get your business listed in all local directories and join any associations that are relevant to your niche.
Now that you know what citations are and how you can get them it is time to use them to get ranked.