As you already know by now, in order to run successfully any kind of business, you have to be present online. And even that’s not enough. You have to find your place in many different online fields. Not only you should have a strong content and backlink strategy, but you should also be vigorously committed to citations. That is why we decided to help you get familiar with SEO and the ultimate guide to updating citations. Because, if you do the online part with quality, your business is going to feel some serious positive effects of it in real life.
And don’t make a mistake of thinking it works for only some industries. You can use SEO for small business growth as well as for the bigger ones. No matter if you’re selling something, or have a real estate agency, a moving company or whatever. It works both for products and services.
Before updating citations – what are they?
Before you learn how to be up to date with citations, you should get a clue what are they, first. So, these are the mentions of your business name, address and phone number (NAP) on other relevant web sites. You can link it to your business’s web site, or not, that is not crucial. However, it’s better if you link it if you have the opportunity. Because Google uses that information when they evaluate the online authority of your business. Any professional company that does SEO will tell you that your NAP can be in different formats. The only thing that is important about that is that you stick to the same format and the look of your NAP as on your website in order for Google to recognize and evaluate it.
Businesses that have a lot of mentions on other web sites have higher rankings in the local search results than the ones that don’t. The more those web sites are relevant in terms of topic and/or location, the better for your business. But never mind Google and the organic search results. It is more than logical that if your company’s name is mentioned numerous times on different web sites, the chances are much bigger that somebody will see it, follow the link and hire or buy from you. So this is yet another positive effect of having and updating citations.
Where should you get your citations from?
Great places to get citations from are company directories. However, these are not the only places to do that. Apart from local or industry-specific directories, you can get citations from social media, forums, and blogs. Press releases are great for citations. Just as all kinds of Q&A sites, forum signatures, profile pages, articles, and image and video descriptions. And let’s mention facebook.com especially, that has become one of the biggest and most important places for all kinds of businesses these days.
Why is updating citations so important?
One of the most important things for rankings in local search and one of the elements of successful outreach strategy is to have a healthy citation profile. What does that mean? That means that your citations need to be true, consistent, numerous and quality in order to play their role in your organic ranking.
What happens if one part of your NAP changes? Nothing good, we’ll tell you that. Because the minute you change your address, for example, Google gets confused. And when Google is confused, they don’t show your business in searches. Besides that, your potential clients could be very confused, too. Imagine them going to the address that you listed in your citations and discovering that you are no longer there. So, you will probably lose the potential client and revenue. One more reason why updating citations is a crucial thing to do when changes happen.
How to do it the proper way?
By the time changes occur, you probably already have hundreds and thousands of citations all over the Internet. Depending on the time you are in the business and using SEO. Showing people the wrong information about your business. It is unreasonable to expect that you will be able to visit each and every one of them for updating citations. But don’t worry, there are some easier ways to do it. Just follow these steps and you will update your citations in no time:
- list all active citations,
- update information in data aggregators,
- manually update your top ten citations,
- outsource the rest of the citations.
Once you complete these steps, your business, online and IRL will be up and running again.
List all active citations
You can’t go manually through every web site and correct every citation unless you have unlimited time at your disposal. Luckily for you, there are SEO tools that will help you with that. The tools, such as Whitespark, BrightLocal or NAP Hunter Lite will find the NAP and information about your company anywhere online and make a list of that data. So it’s a great thing that someone, or in this case something else can do the hard work for you.
Update information in data aggregators
Now that you have a list of your citations, you need to change the information you are serving to clients. Firstly, what are data aggregators? Those are companies and systems that collect, filter, sort, and correct information.
Here the important aggregators are local listing data aggregators. Something like digital phonebooks, such as Factual, Neustar Localeze, Acxiom, InfoGroup and others. So you are supposed to submit the new information about your business to them and they will filter it down to secondary and other data feeds. That will also give more credibility to your new address.
Manually update your top ten citations
It’s nice to use tools and systems that can help. However, some things you should do manually, by yourself. That way you will make sure to correctly change and optimize information about the company on top citations for your industry. You will find the top 10 citations by searching your business on Google. It will then show you local listings in search results, and you will know that these are the places to correct first.
Outsource the rest of the citations
Since we have already established that you can’t go through every citation online and correct it manually, what’s next? After you have changed the top ten citations, the rest should you let somebody else do. That is why you should outsource this task to specialized companies and let them finish the job.
You should provide them with the complete list of all citations and the ones that you have changed on your own. After they finish the job, they should give you a report. It should contain information what was successfully updated, what is awaiting approval and what were they unable to update for whatever reason. Afterward you can try to complete it manually if you want but, basically, updating citations is over. And you will start welcoming clients again in no time.