What Are Google Map Citations & Why You Need Them?
As internet technology keeps evolving over the past two decades, it’s getting more accessible for consumers to find the best local business or service near them that will meet their requirements. Therefore, marketers need to incorporate Local SEO and Google Maps into their digital strategy to increase prospective customers’ chances to find them instantly.
This article will guide you about Google map citations, one of the crucial components of Local SEO that will help you drastically improve your local SEO rankings.
What Are Google Map Citations?
A Google Map citation is information about your business name, address, and phone number(known collectively as your NAP) that’s published across the web. It consists of your business name, address, state, city, zip code, and website URL. Your business citations usually appear in directories and other website resources that search engines use to determine the accuracy and relevancy of your business location.
What Is A Local Citation?
A local citation is a data set made up of the following data points:
- Business name
- Phone number
- Website URL
- Street address
- Zip Code
These seven data points collectively make up a local citation.
How Google Map Citations Improve Ranking
Citations help you improve your Google My Business listing rankings by supplying the search engine with reliable sources of information about your organization. Google can then validate that your business exists and what you have mentioned about your business is accurate by verifying information from multiple sources.
Google will recognize your website and brand as credible and trustworthy if you’re being referred from other credible sources.
Citations for local SEO purposes are equivalent to backlinks to your website for traditional SEO. Google uses citations pointing to your business when determining the rankings for local search results, just like they use backlink analysis to determine the rankings in organic search results.
To stay ahead of competitors on local search, you need a more significant amount of quality citations. It is crucial to keep in mind that these citations’ quantity and quality are equally important to gain credibility. Google will consider many different variables, such as the authority of the citation source and NAP consistency in your citations.
What Makes a Good Citation?
One cannot add a citation on any random site to gain credibility. Following are some of the important factors to consider in building out your citation portfolio.
1. NAP Consistency Across All Google Map Citations
The consistency of your local citations is critically essential for the success of a local SEO strategy. Google ranks citations based on the quality of the overall portfolio. If you have a citation portfolio full of inconsistent NAP’s, it will drastically reduce your portfolio’s authority. It’s important to be consistent with your citations across your portfolio to feed more power into your local search rankings.
The three primary items are Name, Address, and Phone number. Ensure that they are consistent across all of your listings and match the information on your Google Business page.
2. The Relevance Of Your Citation Sources
The location and category of your business are the components to determine the relevance of your citation sources. For example, if you are a dentist in Florida, your business’s most relevant citations (NAP’s) would be in a directory specifically for dentists in Florida. Finding hyper-local directories like this can be an arduous task, so it may require some research to find them.
3. The Authority Of Your Citation Sources
The term authority refers to the domain authority of the websites or directories where you list your citations. Any website with a domain authority over 70(according to Moz) is considered an excellent choice to publish your citation.
It is essential to recognize that your competitors are more likely to list mainstream directories like Foursquare, Yelp, and Yellowpages. It means having a citation on these popular directories, although authoritative, doesn’t necessarily differentiate your local business from your competitors.
However, you will get a competitive advantage and a solid boost to your local rankings if you focus on hyper-local directories that are relevant to your business. Having citations published on the mainstream directories may give you some local SEO benefits. Still, the hyper-local directories will give you a boost and help you to appear ahead of your competitors in search engines.
How to Obtain Google Map Citations
Creating citations can be a tedious task. Start with the end in mind and list out the websites and directories on which you want to be listed in your citation portfolio. A citation portfolio is the compilation of all citations for your business published in various directories. If you have 100 citations published about your business across 100 different websites and directories, these citations collectively make up your citation portfolio.
It is worth the time and effort involved in researching and publishing your information online if you are a business that would benefit a lot from appearing high in local searches.
Alternatively, if your budget allows, you may consider outsourcing the task to an SEO specialist or an agency like Oamii, who are specialized in marketing local businesses across North America.
Citations are just one of the factors in the overall strategy of the local search algorithm. Since you can control the creation and distribution of your citations, it is worth focusing on building out an authentic and trustworthy citation portfolio.
You can add more authority to your Google business page than your competitors by having a maximum number of citations in your portfolio that are relevant to your location and business category. Adding more authority to your Google business page will help you rank higher for targeted keyword phrases.
It’s crucial to know that citations alone will not boost your rankings in the local search results. It is one of the many essential factors in your local SEO strategy.