Citations are the appearance of your company name, address and telephone number on the web. It could be in a general web directory like Manta or YP.com. It could be in an industry-specific directory, which is usually more important, or even just a reference to your company name and contact data in a blog or social media post. It doesn't have to be a hyper-link, but it helps.
If you don’t have much of a footprint on the web, directory listings can help. Listings have been a signal to search engines for years about your validity as a “real” company. Their importance has decreased, but we still consider them a building block.
Why? Because directory listings can appear near the top of natural search results, often before your own website. Since viewers could click on a directory listing first, it’s important your information is current. Otherwise, potential customers could be trying to call the wrong telephone number or visit your old showroom. Search engines look at your citations and, if they’re a mess, it’ll work against you.
Starting with general directories, Google, Bing, Yelp, Yahoo, Manta, Apple and a number of others are important (it depends on your market). From there we like to target industry or niche directories (like this one for SEO) because they often require professional membership or certifications.
Doctors, lawyers, dentists and most professional groups have them. For example, if you’re an attorney, FindLaw, AVVO, Justia and a few more are your staples. If you don’t know what’s out there, just search “best directories for my industry”. Or we can help.
There, we said it. Yext is a service that pushes your listing information out to directories (some of them low-value.) We don’t use Yext for two reasons: 1) we think you should be in the important general directories, then concentrate on those that specialize in your industry, which Yext and other listing services won’t have access to; and 2) we think you should own your listing, and not have it disappear when you stop paying their monthly fee. Except if you want to be in MapQuest, then you have to use Yext.
A potential element of local search is your presence on hyper-local listings. Being in your local Chamber of Commerce, house of worship, soccer league website and online programs as members or supporters (better yet, as a content contributor where you get a citation in the byline) can matter. Google supposedly looks for local connections as an input to their local search algorithms. So be a good community citizen!
We provide citation campaigns and directory listing services designed for your specific needs. We can help you find and get listed in the best directories including important industry directories. For those companies that haven’t managed this process well, we can also help you reclaim or remove incorrect listings on many directories. In most cases we sign up as you, not us, but you keep the keys.