In general, small businesses must adhere to a budget when it comes to marketing expenses. With digital marketing taking up a bigger share of that budget these days, small business owners may wonder what areas are no longer important to invest in. One common question is whether citations still matter to local Business SEO. We’re going to take a look at the answer in this article.
What is a Local SEO citation?
In SEO terms, a local citation is any mention of your company online. Business directories are the most common form of citation, but other examples are industry-specific or other local websites or a blog.
Are citations the same thing as backlinks?
No, they are different. While citations are any mention of your company online, backlinks are links from another web page back to one of your web pages. The value of citations is the confirmation of your business’s name, address, and phone number (NAP) and the trust signal that consistent citations create; not the link. A citation may or may not include a link but it isn’t its main goal.
Do Citations Matter to Local SEO in 2021?
Citations are still considered to be a foundational part of local SEO and should be addressed in an economical way but they are no longer a major ranking factor. This means that having a bunch of mismatched citations with incorrect or missing information is not good for SEO but there are also other factors that are more important. On the other hand, you will need to have at least several accurate and consistent citations in order to compete in the local SEO market and the SEO expert you are working with should address this need for your business.
How many citations do I need for SEO?
As a piece of the SEO puzzle, there is some correlation between businesses that rank in the top 10 search results on the page and the number of accurate citations that they have. Depending on how competitive your industry is, it makes sense to create a minimum of 30 and 50 accurate citations, with the average for the top rankers sitting around 85.
How can I ensure that I have enough good citations?
The easiest way to make sure that your business has enough citations is by submitting your information to a data aggregator such as Yext, Yodle, ReachLocal, or BrightLocal. These companies distribute your NAP to third-party directories in order to ensure you have a citation on any directories that you didn’t create manually. Having said that, aggregators cannot reach every possible directory, so a certain amount of manual work is often needed to get the job done right.
There are many cost-effective options out there with an average annual spend of $400 – it isn’t necessary to eat up a large portion of your budget for citations just as it isn’t necessary to build hundreds of citations. One thing to know is that while your business should likely be listed in popular directories like Yelp and Yellowpages.com, it’s even more important to create listings on sites that are relevant to your industry. You should have a listing on every possible website that a potential customer could be searching for your services or you risk losing out to your competitors. For example, attorneys should have a listing on find-a-lawyer.com and a motel should have a listing on Tripadvisor.com
Seek the Help of an SEO Expert
Most small business owners do not know how to improve their search engine results rankings to drive traffic to their websites, let alone perform an SEO audit or fix Core Web Vitals issues. The best thing to do is find an SEO expert who can help your business achieve its goals to increase sales, brand loyalty and online traffic; starting with an SEO audit.