This recent online marketing technique is the ultimate solution to almost 90% of local business owners who are seeking ways to brand their businesses in the local market and enhance local SEO results without violating any search engine protocols.
Simply put, local citations refer to online mentions of your business name alone or with your address and phone number on local directories, classifieds, blogs, email newsletters, or websites.
These mentions may or may not have any links. If performed strategically and diligently, local citations can add immense value to any business.Why are local citations powerful?
Types of Local Citations
There are two types of local references – structured and unstructured. Structured local mentions are those that are added to business listing sites, such as local classifieds, review sites, and yellow pages.
Unstructured local references are those which are added to blogs, websites, and government sites. Both structured and unstructured local citations play an essential role in improving your local business rankings in the search engines.
The more times your business gets mentioned, the higher it will rank. You can analyze the patterns with a local citation analysis tool to help you create powerful mentions for optimal results.
1. Know the difference between links and citations
One common mistakes most business owners do is confuse local citations with links. These two are different – citations are basically intended for branding, while links are for conversions.
Citations do not have to carry any link, although links may be added to them, and they are used primarily for increasing online prominence. On the other hand, links are particularly intended for cross-linking other websites with yours.
If you want to fully understand the basics of internet marketing, you can sign up for SEO Training.
2. Make sure all information are correct and use a consistent format
It is important that your SEO citations contain accurate information about your company and that they appear in the same format in all the different business listing sites.
Seeing consistency on your local citations in popular sites will give your target audience an impression of professionalism and committed approach.
3. Avoid duplicate listings
Focus on building identical citations for your business across different listing sites. Remove any duplicate listings of your business on other sites. Having more than one citation showing different addresses, phone numbers, or names can cause uncertainty and affect the credibility of your business.
Perform regular follow ups with the listing sites and update your listing with accurate information or delete duplicate listings to ensure better user experience.
4. Choose the right categories
The key to success for any business is in selecting relevant citations that will lead target customers searching for your products or services straight to your business.
When you incorrectly tag your services or products under the wrong categories, your rankings get hurt. Instead of being visible to people who are searching for your products or services, your target audience only sees your competition.
5. Integrate key informationIncorporate key information such as images, videos, and special offers, to add interest and motivate potential customers to your business. Adding these to your listing brings in more value to your business and creates trust among your target customers.
I am sure a lot of our readers and members provide some sorts of online marketing services and thus they are facing with the well-known dilemma: How to measure and charge for the service? How to make your pricing competitive and clear while not under-pricing yourself.
[There’s also a follow up to this article on how to manage your own time more effectively]
With these questions we came to some of companies:
David Leonhardt from THGM Writing Services
“…estimate how much effort is involved and charge by the project”
First, let us draw a distinction between time-management and client billing.
For time management, that being my own work and work for clients combined, as well as any personal/family/household chores to get done, I work from a to-do list. I try to get the most important things done first, then I usually panic because the list is not shrinking very fast, so I turn my attention to quick things that I can tick off… then, being able to breathe more easily, I turn my attention to whatever is most important among what is left.
When it comes to client work, I estimate how much effort is involved and charge by the project. I really don’t want to watch the clock, and a lot of client work cannot be done in a single block of time, but rather needs to be interspersed with other work.
Tat Apostolova from Mum in search
“Charging for tasks keeps me motivated”
Back in the corporate world, when I was working in a job that paid for time spent in the office, I always felt undervalued. I’m a hard worker and I loved my job, so I was putting my heart into it when other people around me would just do the bare minimum and get paid a similar wage.
It just didn’t seem fair. I was a lot happier when I switched to a commission based job (in fact, this is exactly the reason I switched to a commission based job – I wanted to be paid fairly for my effort). Now that I’m running my own business from home, I charge for tasks. It keeps me motivated to work more productively.
Ashley Faulkes from Mad Lemmings
The future of work is task based
When pricing and measuring my work I try, or am still trying, to bring the cost of a service to task based. Basing your work and ultimately your value on a commodity is old fashioned and not useful. And after seeing many a worker waste time in the office and still get paid, I am sure is a pointless system.
One of the biggest issues with this idea is that people still see many services as commodities. So it is hard to sell, for instance, a website when there are so many competitors undercutting your services. Even if you are delivering a better product. So you have to sell your service based on a result, rather than on a service which can be evaluated on the number of hours you work.
One way to do this is to add things others cannot offer in the same service. Even if these things are not time intensive. That is where in my area marketing combined with web design comes together. Most people cannot do both well. Most web designers barely know SEO and cannot write at all. So by offering customers expertise that is not a commodity, you are able to sell a value based package.
I am not saying it is simple to achieve, but it is the future and we should all work towards it. Otherwise, we are doomed to work 9-5, only perhaps at home instead of in an office!
Task based + Pomodoro
I’m a big fan of task based tracking. Not only does it focus you on getting one thing completed but it also puts halt to the temptation to multitask which has been proved to reduce productivity. I’ve used task based tracking for a while now for my freelance business and I’ve found that it works particularly well with the Pomodoro technique to keep you focused and productive.
What are your tips for measuring your work and charging for it? Please share below!
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