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.
Video is one of the most forgotten aspects of SEO today. We’ve know about the positive effects of incorporating video in your SEO strategy for a long time, but it is still something that a lot of people overlook when trying to rank their sites.
The fact is that video allows you to tap into the second largest search engine (YouTube), helps increase conversion rates, makes your brand stand out in Google search, and make your visitors engage more with your content, both on your site and on social media channels.
The guys over at Shakr, a video ad template startup, created this handy infographic about the 5 most important YouTube SEO tips that will help you rank your YouTube videos in Google SERPs. Have a look:
Featured SEO tool: Video Schema Generator
More on Youtube marketing:
The point of a competitor analysis is NOT to copy moves or strategies. Rather, it’s to FIND OUT what your rivals are good at to come up with better techniques.
There are hundreds of tools out there for competitor analysis. Some are free, most are not. One of our favorite tools is SPYFU; which we have been using since 2013 for our keyword research needs. They recently released a new version that lets digital marketers do more than keyword research.
Whether you’re new to SEO or are already an expert, use this tool for competitor research. Here’s how to perform competitor analysis on the three core elements of search engine marketing using the updated SPYFU.
Employ Clever Keyword Research
Don’t remove keywords from your campaign just yet. While modern SEO does not focus on them as much as we used to, they are still important for search queries and ranking. And when it comes to keywords, no one does it better than SPYFU. Faster, smarter, and more streamlined: you can quickly see which of your competitor’s keywords are ranking.
Go as far back as six years’ worth of data if you wish. Their new layout makes it easy to view how many terms gained in ranking, and which ones are losing. Plus, compare up to three competitors with their KOMBAT feature.
There are three things you want to look for when using this tool: keyword gainers (those that are ranking), exclusive keywords (terms you rank for, but NOT your competitors), and shared keywords (terms your competitors are ranking for, but YOU don’t).
Your goal is to keep your keyword gainers on the first page of search engines, like Google. Next, work on your exclusive keywords so they rank on the first page (if they haven’t yet). Remember: these terms are unique to YOU – so leverage them properly. Then, look at the shared keywords from two of your biggest competitors. Use the EXPORT function to save this list for further study.
Beat Them with Backlinks
What’s great about the new SPYFU is that it allows you to analyze the other factors of SEO, such as BACKLINKS. This makes it a one-stop tool for all your online marketing needs.
Now that you have a list of Shared Keywords, choose 5 – 10 phrases that you want to focus on, and then check on their backlinks. Use filters to refine your results. What type of backlinks are they? Why are your rivals ranking for them, but not you? Are they worth pursuing? How can you penetrate them?
Your goal is to know WHERE they are putting these keywords, so that you can utilize this to your benefit. For instance: upon studying the keyword ‘seo companies los angeles’, we found that one of the backlinks points to an article from a high-ranking website. This means that our competitors are using informative posts to gain quality links using the given keyword.
With this knowledge, you have two options: one is to post on the same website; second, is to gather similar sites and publish there. This gives you a chance to rank HIGHER for those shared keywords. Either way, now you know your competitor’s secret.
Less Stress – More Productivity
A smart competitor analysis eliminates the stress of creating new strategies and having to test them. Instead, know what has worked for the most successful brands, and experiment around those. Tweak existing tactics to suit YOUR business needs. There are limitless resources out there that a lot of companies are using all the time. All one has to do is to spot them.