Today, June 1, 2015, marks LinkNow Media’s first day in our brand new office. After a hectic weekend of moving, setting up workstations, and cleaning up, we were all ready for business at 9 AM. However, getting our office up and running in time for the start of the work day doesn’t mean that we’re finished the move! Like any other business, changing the address of our company means we have a lot of work to do to clean up our online citations!
What are citations?
In the world of SEO, citations are one of the biggest factors that influence your local search rank. Citations are simply listings on other webpages that contain your business’s name, address, and phone number (NAP). Google and the other major search engines use your NAP to make sure that you are who you say you are and to figure out when to suggest your business in local search results.
Whether or not you have intentionally built citations by putting NAP listings on other websites, your address likely appears in many places on the web. If your business has moved, these other listings will not update themselves, which can create confusion for the search engines and your customers.
Why are citations important?
Ranking well in local search results is really the key to success for most small to medium sized businesses, and good consistent citations are one of the most important factors in ranking well. When someone in your city searches for a business like yours, Google is much less likely to suggest your website as a search result if your NAP is inconsistent online.
Even more critical is the fact that Google likes to give as much information as possible when users search for specific businesses. For example, here’s what comes up when you search for the popular Montreal diner, La Banquise:
Google has automatically included the address and phone number of the business in the search results. However, Google doesn’t necessarily get this information directly from the business – Google has learned the restaurant’s location from analyzing the hundreds of citations La Banquise has on the web.
If this restaurant moved to a new location, Google would still see all of those old citations still pointing to that old address and think they had never moved. If the owners did nothing to fix this situation, then anyone searching for La Banquise would be given the wrong address, and all those customers looking for a late night snack would end up going somewhere else; the restaurant would lose out on business, and hungry Montrealers would miss out on La Banquise’s famous poutine.
If your business has moved, you need to make sure that you do everything you can to update your business's citations that exist out there on the web, to make sure that both Google and your customers can find you.
How do I fix my citations?
There are a variety of free tools available to help you manage your citations. One of the better ones is Moz Local. Moz Local allows you to quickly and easily search for your business and see your citations on many of the web’s biggest sites. If you use this tool, you can find citations that are inconsistent and then fix the listings so that they include your correct Name, Address, and Phone Number.
Many citations are found on sites that you cannot edit directly, like personal blogs or newspaper websites. You can find out-of-date citations by searching for your business name and your old address, and you can contact the owners of any sites with the incorrect information and ask them to update your address.
Dealing with citations can be very time-consuming, but it’s incredibly important to get them right. If you don’t have the time to work on them yourself, you may want to consider entrusting another company to handle your online citations. For example, if you are a LinkNow Media customer, our traffic solutions include citation management. If your business has moved recently, all you need to do is give us your correct listing information, and we will make sure that your citations are up to date.
Whatever you choose to do, don’t wait too long. Every day that your website has inconsistent citations is another day that you are missing out on potential website traffic and new customers. If you need help taking care of your citations, feel free to give us a call to make an appointment with one of our SEO specialists. The web is waiting for you!