Local search is the lifeblood of virtually any organization that serves a local region. It doesn't matter if it's a national franchise that has locations throughout different cities, a roofing contractor, or your neighborhood eatery… a search for a business online shows incredible intent that a purchase is coming next.
For quite a time, the key to getting indexed regionally was having well-developed pages that spoke to specific cities, postal codes, counties, or other regional markers that could identify your business as being local. The key to ranking regionally was to ensure that business directories listed you so that Google crawlers could verify your region accurately.
As local search evolved, Google launched Google My Business and that enabled businesses to have much better control over their geographic search results through the search engine result page “map pack”. Coupled with activity and great reviews, your company could skyrocket to the top of its competitors by maintaining an active local presence.
But having directory presence, a Google My Business account, and collecting reviews aren't the only keys to local search. Google has become quite adept at building algorithms that can identify a mention of a company online without a backlink. These are known as citations.
What is a Citation?
A citation is the digital mention of a unique characteristic of your business online. It may include a distinctive brand name or product line, a physical address, or a phone number. It's not a link.
While many search consultants are busy trying to acquire reviews and backlinks, your local company can also grow its local search visibility through citations.
What is Citation Building?
Building citations is the strategy of ensuring that your brand is mentioned online via other websites with consistent citations. When search engines frequently and recently see a citation online that is unique to your business, it means your business is more credible and they will continue to rank you for local-driven searches online.
Citation Building is more important than ever because it builds a local online presence for websites. In a world where half of all Google searches have a local reference, this is a critical strategy.
Voice Search and Citations
With the growth of voice search, having consistent and accurate citations is becoming even more critical. Voice search doesn't provide you a chance of getting a visitor unless your business is the answer and the data you're providing search engines is precise.
More than 1 in 5 people are using voice search and 48% of voice search users have searched for local business information.
Uberall is a platform that enables real-time management of store location data across all search platforms, mapping systems, and media channels that drive sales. Uberall enables businesses to manage their business' online presence, reputation and customer interactions in real-time on one platform they refer to as the location marketing cloud.
Uberall has also launched Uberall Essential, a free version of its platform designed to support local healthcare businesses, retailers and restaurants during the pandemic. They can use Uberall Essential to update their listings for free across Google, Apple, Facebook, Bing, Yelp and more.
They've published this infographic, Citation Building, that provides an overview of citations, citation building, and the benefits of the strategy.