Owning a business is great and you want to know that people can find you. Did you know that “4 in 5 consumers use search engines to find local information” – Think With Google? Google Map citations are important for doing just that; helping people find your business.
Why do you need Google Map citations? Creating a citation helps you appear on searches and Google recognizes that you are a real business. This is because it pulls information from those other sites in which your citations show up and recognizes your business as legitimate.
Let’s take a look at what Google Map citations are and why you need them to help your business stand out from the rest!
Background of Google Map Citations
First off, a Google Map citation is created by your Google My Business profile. They are one and the same and created at the same time! Citations are structured snippets usually containing your Business Name, Address, & Phone Number (NAP). Think of it as an organized snippet of your business online like your Yelp page, Bing Places, or Yahoo Local.
How to Get Started With Your Google Map Citation
First, you need to create a Google My Business page, if you don’t already have one. Even if you do, this is a great time to check to make sure your page was done correctly.
A Google My Business page is created by:
- Claiming and creating the business profile
- Choosing your business category in your Google My Business account
- Choosing the business type
- Set the business and holiday hours
- Add contact details and photos
- Add information about the products and services your business provides
- Reviews should be added to show how amazing your business is
- Questions and answers from consumers should be added (FAQ’s)
- Post updates
- Set up messages
- Fill in the rest of the options and optimize your website
There is a lot that goes into your Google My Business profile. If you need help, just comment below!
When you create a Google My Business, the citation will automatically show on Google Maps.
Google My Business for Local SEO
Optimizing search engines on the local level is important to make sure that your business comes up on local searches.
Here is an example of our company’s Google My Business account:
Google Map Citation
Now that Google My Business is done, you have your citation. Below are the 7 data points on Google Map Citation. You will find that this automatically mirrors the Google My Business. Some data may not appear if you hide your address.
There are different types of citation types. Here are some:
- Business directories (Yellow Pages, Yelp,.)
- Industry, niche or sector-specific directories (Trip Advisor, Connecting Dance, etc.)
- Local newspaper and press websites
- Local themed blogs
- Prominent local websites (particularly if they’re related to your business niche)
- Social Profiles (Twitter, FourSquare, Facebook, YouTube)
Citations are Similar to Backlinks
Backlinks are used by Google for rankings in organic search results while they use citation analysis for local search results.
Backlinks are links from other sites to yours. While citations are structured snippets of your business that generally include: Name, Address, Phone Number, (NAP), and Website.
How Does Google Rank Businesses In Local Searches From Citations?
Google reviews all business citations and considers their relevance, authority, volume, and NAP consistency for your search result ranking.
Let’s take a look at each of these:
1. Relevance and Authority of Citation Sources
Relevance will depend on the location and category of your business. For example, a home inspector in Orlando, Florida would want to be in a directory listing for Home Inspectors in Orlando. You may have to do some research to find the local directory to be listed in, but it is worth your time. Examples of this might be Yelp, Porch, HomeAdvisor, InterNACHI, ASHI, or Thumbtack.
Next, the authority side of citation sources deals with the domain authority of the website and directories where you publish your citation. For example, Yelp.com is a directory with a lot of authority in comparison to a website that is not widely used or known.
In order to succeed here, be sure to list your business on the highly relevant websites to your business and websites that are widely known.
2. Volume of Citations for the Business
The volume of citations is important. This refers to the number of citations you have. For example, if you have citations just on Google, but your competitor has citations on, say 20 sites, your business might have a harder time ranking locally.
You can check your local citations versus your competitors with this tool from Moz Local.
3. NAP Consistency in Citations
Google is looking at your portfolio and will grade the citations as part of the overall portfolio. When your portfolio has citations that are not matching and inconsistent, then Google may not understand that those citations are for your business and you could be losing out on website authority. The key to success is consistent citations!
You can use the Moz Local tool mentioned above to check your consistency.
How Google Map Citations Can Improve Local Search Rankings
The more citations you have to add to your portfolio show how legitimate your business is and the higher it will rank in search results. Unfortunately, not having a built-up portfolio can keep your company from ranking higher in search results. Additionally, it takes more than citations to rank high. It is also other Local SEO strategies.
- Blogging – blogging boosts SEO and uses keywords that will show up in search engines.
- On-Page SEO- this is taking the website content and optimizing it for users and search engines.
- Mobile-Friendly Web Site – make sure that your website is mobile-friendly and easy to use. Did you know that 97% of people learn more about a local company online than anywhere else? Here is another statistic from Hubspot: 61% of mobile searchers are more likely to contact a local business if they have a mobile-friendly site.
- Local Reviews – Google Reviews, Yelp Reviews, Facebook Reviews, etc.
- As well as a huge list of other things.
We really like this article from Ahrefs about Local SEO. You can learn a lot about keyword research, Google My Business, local citations, and how to do your own citation audit! In addition, build more citations, On-page SEO, optimize your homepage, link building, and more!
When to Call a Professional
It takes skill and time to raise the rankings of your website. As we know, the more people that know your brand and can find you, the closer to that consumer to becoming a customer. Also, if you don’t have time to make your Google Citation or Google My Business or anything else related to SEO and website management, reach out to professionals who can do this for you, like us!
Google Map citations is another link in the process of SEO and helping your business increase its visibility in searches. However, there is a lot of competition out there in your industry and you want to stand out above the rest.
If this is something you are unsure of how to do, schedule a consultation with us. We can help with this process, website design, and many other services!