Why Local SEO Services Should Include Online Citations

Why Local SEO Services Should Include Online Citations

Local SEO services are designed to help businesses target a local audience rather than a more general audience that includes people who live across the country. They are critical for businesses who rely on local residents for the majority of their sales. With that in mind, online citations are a critically important part of local SEO.

An online citation is a mention of a business somewhere online, apart from the company’s own website and social media pages. Citations generally focus on company name, address, and phone number – otherwise known as NAP. Other information might be included as well.

As for why local SEO services should include assistance with online citations, it all goes back to how Google ranks websites during local searches. In a short video found here, Google explains how accurate online citations improve local SEO performance.

Proximity and Relevance

Google wants to do two things when people conduct local searches. First, they want to return results that are relatively close to the searcher’s current location or a specified zip code/address. Second, they want those results to be as relevant as possible to the user’s search intent.

Imagine someone looking for a Salt Lake City auto mechanic that specializes in brake service. It does no good for Google to return results that include auto mechanics in Provo. There is also less value in returning results from shops that emphasize mufflers or oil changes rather than brake jobs.

The information found in online citations helps Google figure out the most appropriate auto repair shops based on location and services rendered. When combined with information in a Google Business profile, results can be even more accurate.

Where Citations Appear

Webtek Digital Marketing, a Salt Lake City marketing and SEO firm, says that online citations can appear on a variety of different websites and platforms. The best local SEO services are familiar with the most effective options. They include:

  • Locally focused directories (Google Business, Yelp, etc.).
  • Industry directories (i.e., Realtor.com for real estate professionals).
  • Social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, X, etc.).
  • Review sites (Angie’s List, Google Reviews, etc.).
  • Other websites (any sites that mention the company).

In most cases, with a possible exception of social media, NAP information is part of the citation. Google relies on NAP to determine physical location relative to the searcher’s location. That is why it needs to be accurate.

Benefits of Online Citations

Online citations are not especially difficult to come by for reputable local SEO providers. SEO professionals who know what they are doing can make the most of online citations for driving traffic and converting visitors. As for the benefits of doing so, consider the following:

  • Better Search Rankings – The ultimate purpose of local SEO is to improve search rankings. Given that local searches are all about finding local businesses capable of meeting a person’s needs, online citations help businesses rank better than those without citations.
  • More Visibility – With better search rankings comes more visibility. In the local market, visibility is a big advantage. People do not want to have to spend a lot of time searching for new businesses. They are likely to go with the most visible options whatever possible.
  • Online Reputation – Citations improve a company’s online reputation by giving customers more confidence in a particular business. Far too many businesses make it too difficult for customers to find NAP. Make the information readily available and you generate more trust among customers.

Local SEO services can boost traffic and increase conversion rates when implemented properly. Proper implementation includes putting effort into gaining online citations. It is as simple as that.