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Local SEO NAP citations

Getting your office/shop/business up the local search results in Google can take a bit of work. First off you want to be properly registered on Google My Business. But after that, then what? Surprisingly, many people miss the great opportunities available to them.

Google wants to see that you are a genuine business and looks for consistency in your citations and the authority of the sites you are listed on. Basically a quality citation on a directory like yell.co.uk is like a vote for your business. So what’s a citation? Basically it’s a mention of your business name, address and phone number – usually referenced as NAP – and quality citations play a substantial part in driving your listing up the search results.

As usual, quality is probably more important than quantity. High-quality, authoritative citations are one of the most important aspects of local SEO. So getting your business cited/listed on well know websites is a good idea, but it’s especially important to get your website cited by relevant communities to help the search engine establish confidence in your authenticity and authority. Examples could include: a professional body for your industry, a trade publication or a relevant business listing portal or online community. And you don’t always need a link to your website, the NAP citation can do the work just as well when listed on a high authority site that’s relevant to your business. The this also works the other way around. You don’t want citations on non relevant websites or links to your site from non relevant sites to your site. In fact too much of that will will get you punished. So always be relevant to your business and website visitors and be sensible – and if in doubt leave it out.

So where to get your citations?

The are 4 main types of sites to get yourself referenced on. One quick trick is to google your top competitors and see where they have secured citations and as a start match the ones that look like good quality sites.

  • local search engines (eg Google, Bing, Apple maps, foursquare),
  • high authority business directories (yell, yelp, 192, scoot etc),
  • sector/industry directories and blogs, and
  • local/city directories and blogs.

Good to know

When getting yourself listed on a directory the chances are that you are going to need to authenticate your business in some way, and you’ll also start to receive a lot of email communication. So it can be a good idea to set up a separate mailbox for getting your listings in place. If the directory asked for a link from your website back to the directory – then consider if it’s a quality directory in the first place – you should not be linking to directories unless they are relevant to your audience (professional certification, or established local business community for example). You’ll also need to check that you don’t already have a listing on that directory. May be the directory has automatically scraped your business NAP details from somewhere else, or someone before you set something up. Either way, check first, as you don’t want duplicated entries and you don’t want incorrect NAP citations, as this will work against you.

Some general directories to consider

Remember, if it’s not relevant or it’s poor quality, don’t use it.

And a final word. With local listings you need to be genuinely local. You need to have a proper local street address (no mail boxes etc), a local phone number and actually see customers, and not be a virtual/online only business. Happy local SEO’ing.