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Part 4 – This is the final installment in Dev’s extensive series on Local Search Optimization. See the links to Parts 1,2 are 3 below.

By Dev Basu

So you’ve claimed your listing and can finally find yourself on the major search engines when you search your business name and the city you’re located in. But you might be asking yourself, “Why can’t I find myself for <insert city> + <your services> yet?” One of the reasons your listing doesn’t rank is because it does not have enough citation data aggregated via your local business profile, such as your Google Place page.

In order to “get found,” you’ve got to start building citations to your listing, much like building links to your website for organic SEO rankings. At its core, citations can be of two types, structured and unstructured.  Structured citations come from third-party data providers that the search engines know and trust as business data providers. Unstructured citations would include any reference to your business’ name, phone number, or URL on any given web page recognized by a search engine.

Most citations will at the very least contain the following:

  • Your DBA Name
  • Business Phone Number
  • Business Website URL
  • Business Categorization

You may also find citation sources that allow more rich information about your business, such as the ability to include pictures, videos, extended information such as your business hours, and even reviews and customer ratings. All of this extra information will help you rank in local search, so I encourage you to complete your citation profiles to be as complete as possible.

Essentially, citations are the search engine’s way of validating the popularity and credibility of your business, especially since it is difficult to fake a business’ inclusion in a chamber of commerce, print business directory, or government website.

Web citations come in many forms, but the most common ones include:

On my site I’ve compiled a list of the 20 Best Local SEO Citation Sources for the United States for you to use. That being said, you can either choose to build these manually, use an agency or Local SEO specialist to manage your citation building process, or use a syndication service and business data management service such as Universal Business Listings or Localeze.

Before you begin building your citations, I have 6 actionable tips to offer you:

  1. Always use your Doing Business AS (DBA) name in all your citations.
  2. Avoid keyword stuffing or mis-categorization.
  3. Do not use call tracking phone numbers in your citations.
  4. Use your main website as your primary business website URL
  5. Do complete all available options related to your business information available at each citation source.
  6. Be patient, since citations take anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 months to show up in your local business profiles

Part 1 The Rise of Local SEO and the Death of the Yellow Pages

Part 2 How to Claim and Optimize your listings on search engines

Part 3 8 Steps to Building an Optimized Local Business Listing

Dev Basu is a Toronto based Search Engine Optimization, Local Search, Internet Marketing, and Social Media Expert. Dev is the founder and CEO of Powered by Search, an internet marketing agency based in Toronto. He blogs on the topic of Local Search and Small business marketing at his personal blog, Search Marketing Insights.

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