Creating online listings for your business is an essential part of every SEO strategy, especially for smaller companies that want to retain their marketing competitiveness. This is a time where online visibility plays a crucial role in acquiring valuable clients. But, getting your business information in front of the right audience can be tricky. And when you succeed, you need to ensure the information is correct. The problem is, many businesses have wrong information spread all across the web. To prevent inaccurate information on critical websites and directories, you need to learn how to successfully manage your citations.
Several ways to successfully manage your citations
By definition, local citations are online mentions of your business. This information, in most cases, includes your business name, address, and phone number (NAP). This helps search engines like Google verify your business. It can increase traffic to your website and allow your potential customers to find you easily. That’s why it’s crucial to keep this information accurate and up-to-date. Unfortunately, business citation management can often be complex. Because checking multiple locations and sources and correcting all the inconsistencies can be time-consuming.
However, there are few ways to ensure your citations work for you and not against you:
- Hire professionals to manage citations for you
- Let large directories work for you
- Automate the citation management with tools
- Manually update your citations
Hire professionals to manage citations for you
If you have just a few citations, managing them won’t be hard. But if your business has numerous citations, the entire process can quickly get out of control. Even more so when it comes to companies that operate in multiple locations and exist longer. There could be hundreds of citations and listings you might not even be aware of. This makes tracking and managing exceptionally difficult. Fortunately, some agencies help businesses by taking care of their listings. The track, audit, determine the optimal number of citations, update, and remove duplicates. This is especially important for local businesses as potential clients need accurate information to find you.
In general, this can help you stand above your competitors, increase your online visibility, and prevent any potential problems that occur due to inaccurate data. Proper and successful citation management is not a one-time job – it requires constant control. Therefore, hiring someone to manage and optimize your citation for you is probably the best choice.
Let large directories work for you
Another good option to manage your citations with ease is to make large directories work for you. Especially if you are starting a new business and need just a few listings to begin. Some of the most popular solutions are to create a Google My Business (GMB) profile and listings on large directories like Yext.
Even though GMB is not precisely a directory, every business needs a GMB profile. Considering it’s coming from Google, chances are the largest percentage of potential clients are using their search engine to find products or services. With an optimized GMB profile, you can win top positions for local searches. And, their map integration is already popular worldwide.
When it comes to Yext, this is one of the semi-automatic solutions to build and manage citations. Quite popular for businesses. Once you list your business information there, they will pass your information to other websites and directories. Accuracy and consistency through the process are ensured. Also, there are other places where you can do the same. Just make sure to check their pricing before you sign up.
Automate citation management with tools
Citation management can be complex, depending on the number of existing errors. If you have plenty of listings and are ready to manage them, make sure you have enough time. Luckily, there are tools that can help you complete this job. They do, however, require a certain degree of knowledge and experience but can significantly shorten the time needed for completing the task. For the best results, you might need to invest a bit to use them to their full capacity, but it certainly pays off.
Some of the best tools you can use for citation management are:
- Moz local
- Local SEO Checklist
In essence, these are all quality solutions that can give your business a competitive advantage in the market. You can use them to track, create, monitor, and update your citations.
Manually update your citations
If you have a small company and don’t want to spend money to successfully manage your citations, you can update them manually. However, this will require you to organize and prepare for the process seriously. By no means will it be an easy task, but it can give you surprisingly good results. Here is a list of necessary steps:
- Gather and create a list or database of your citations
- Rank them by the importance of sources
- Check their consistency and accuracy
- Mark and correct those that differ and check if there are duplicate listings
- Update each of your listings and merge/remove duplicates
- Pay attention to discovering new citation sites where you can list your business information
Nevertheless, the entire process will take you a significant amount of time. So, prepare properly or assign someone in your team only for this. Remember, all your business information, like business name, address, phone number, even the website link, and email address has to be correct and consistent on all online listings. Also, be ready to continue to monitor and update your listings in the future. This is an ongoing and demanding process, especially if you change your location or some other information. If websites and similar listing sources have reviews, you will need to manage and respond to them, as well.
No matter which method you choose, accuracy and consistency are aspects you shouldn’t neglect. With the right information, you will look more credible to search engines. And your potential clients will have no problem finding you. So, take your time, consider available options, and choose or combine those that allow you to successfully manage your citations.