Local SEO is something businesses need to focus on in 2022, and here are two chief elements to consider: citations and backlinks.
Google My Business is just one example of a citation. A citation relates to any place where your business’ NAPW appears, i.e. your name, address, phone number, and website URL. As mentioned, Bing Places and Apple Maps are two other popular platforms like this.
Your NAPW is critical when it comes to local search engine optimisation. If you don’t get this information in all of the right places, you’re going to lose out to the competition – it is as simple as that. Companies like WebX360.com can help you put this into your strategy.
A structure citation is when your business listing is in a ‘structured’ manner, i.e. your business name, with your address underneath, then your phone number on the next line, and finally your website URL beneath this. This will tend to happen when you have filled in a form.
These citations are more likely to be a result of social media and press. This is where your NAPW details are not presented in a structured format but have been mentioned, for example, in a social media post or a local news piece about your business.
Getting citations is simply a must when it comes to your local business. Quite simply, if you’re not getting citations, your local SEO strategy is not working. There is no way around it. However, getting citations is not enough – you need to get them in the right places (i.e. relevant websites) and you need to make sure that they are up-to-date. This is imperative: 68% of consumers state that they would stop using the services of a local company if they found the wrong details about the company in a local directory. So, if you change your telephone number, you need to make sure that this is changed across your entire online presence.
Another key piece of the puzzle when it comes to local search engine optimisation is getting relevant, quality backlinks. This is essentially a link to your website from another online source, be it another company’s website, a blog, or even a social media account. It’s one website linking to another, and it works like a vote of confidence in the eyes of Google, essentially validating your local business.
Naturally obtained backlinks from websites that are relevant and held in high regard will help to boost your ranking on Google, showing that your website is a trusted source of information. Citations combined with links from local business associations, bloggers, and local newspapers can really help to improve your local search visibility.
However, notice the words “naturally obtained” – this is significant. There are a lot of businesses out there today that will simply purchase backlinks. This can result in you receiving backlinks from poor and untrusted websites, which have no significance to your business. If you run a cake shop in New York, and you’re getting a backlink from a hardware store in Japan, it’s going to wreck your search engine presence. This is known as a black-hat technique, which is frowned upon by Google – very much like keyword stuffing.