Did you know that over 45 percent of Google searches are for local information? If you aren’t focusing on local SEO, you could be missing out on traffic and customers. It’s extremely important to know how to rank your business within Google map citations ecosystem.
Google map citations are an easy way to start with local SEO. You can list your business in different directories to help improve your business’s search engine results.
Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about Google map citations.
What Are Google Map Citations?
Google map citations are a tool that you can use to help your business rank higher in local search results. You can list your business with one or more online directories, and those listings are your citations.
By listing your business in a directory, you can gain more authority. Some directory sites have a lot of visitors and are trustworthy.
Sure, you can optimize your website to get more search engine views. However, getting a listing on another website can show Google that your site and business is reputable.
Consider a few ways Google map citations help your business.
How They Help
You can use Google map citations for local SEO, which means you can attract local customers. Whenever someone types in “restaurant near me” or “Phoenix hotel,” some businesses have to show up.
If you do a local search like that, Google will populate a map with businesses. The businesses that show up aren’t always there out of luck.
You can search for one or more online business directories. Once you submit your information, your listing will show up there.
The more listings you have across the internet, the more Google will trust your business. Then, you can show up in more local searches, and you can show up higher in the results.
Because Google map citations focus on your location, they aren’t as helpful for some businesses. If you don’t have a physical business, citations may not do much for you unless you focus on clients in one city.
What You Need
When submitting your business for a citation, you need to provide your business name, address, and phone. You should also do your best to use the same name and contact information on different directories.
If you change any of this information, you should update the listings if possible. Some directories may allow customers to submit this information, so it may not always be identical. In that case, you may not be able to change it.
However, your listings don’t have to be the exact same. As long as the name is similar, Google will recognize it’s the same business.
And if it doesn’t, having the same phone number and address can help. Google can use all of the information it has to show your business in search results.
Types of Citations
You can get Google map citations for local business SEO from a lot of places. Google My Business is a great place to start since Google owns it.
But Bing maps and other search engine maps can also help. You can use your Facebook page as a citation as long as you include your address and phone.
Review sites, like Yelp, also work well as Google map citations. Especially if you have a lot of good reviews, Google can see that your business is worth visiting.
You can also use a more traditional option, like a business or industry-specific directory. Some professional organizations allow you to list your business on their website, so that can be a good choice.
If you want to implement Google map citations, you should use a variety of citations. Google will see that multiple websites list your business, and that can improve your chances of ranking well.
How to Make the Most of Google Map Citations
Getting Google map citations is an excellent first step to improving your local SEO. However, you should create a citation strategy.
Without one, you may not choose the right directories to use for your business. If that happens, you may not get the search engine results that you want.
Keep these things in mind when looking for and managing Google Map Citations.
Ensure Your Information Is Correct
When submitting your listing to a directory, double-check your information. Look at your business name to make sure the spelling is correct.
Check that your physical address is accurate and that the phone number is working. If any of this information is incorrect, it won’t be the end of the world.
However, it can make it more difficult on Google. The algorithm won’t know which address or phone number is correct.
So they may accidentally show the wrong contact information. Even if you get a lot of search traffic, that could keep customers from calling or visiting your business.
The good news is that your address and phone number can make up for spelling mistakes. As long as two of the three pieces of info are the same, Google will probably be able to ignore the difference.
Still, you want to give yourself the best chance by providing the same info for all directories.
Look For Quality Over Quantity
Search engines love to see a lot of listings, but the quality is also important. If you have a lot of Google map citations on random, low-traffic websites, that may not look good.
Listing your business on the wrong website could make your business look spammy or irrelevant.
As you start looking for Google map citations for local SEO, look for good quality directories. Your local chamber of commerce can be a great option or any recognized trade organization.
Restaurants can use Yelp, and small businesses can use social media. You can start listing your information and get reviews.
Don’t be afraid to start with a few high-quality listings. You can look for more citations as your business grows.
But More Citations Will Help
As long as you focus your citations on high-quality sites, you don’t have to limit yourself. Google doesn’t penalize businesses with multiple listings.
You can list your business on more websites, and that can improve your business’s ranking in search.
However, managing more citations will require more time. Anytime you move to a new address or change your phone number, you’ll need to change all of those listings.
When looking for directories, you should use multiple websites. But don’t be afraid to get picky. If you know that you can’t manage all of the listings, you can use fewer ones from reputable places.
Consider Your Industry
Some industries are perfect for Google map citations for local business SEO. Restaurants, hotels, and salons are local businesses that can benefit from the practice.
When people put certain keywords into Google, the search results will target local results more than other keywords.
If your business is very specific, it may not show up in Google’s results. Google also favors business-focused terms over person-focused terms in some cases.
For example, searching for a local bakery will show a map. But searching for a local baker may not.
If the keywords you want to target for Google don’t bring up maps, your citation efforts might not work as well. That doesn’t mean you have to change your business to conform to Google, but it means you shouldn’t rely on Google map citations alone.
Use a Citation Management Tool
A citation management tool can take the stress off your shoulders. You can use the tool to keep up with your various listings, so you can save time.
If you ever need to update your listings, the right tool can help with that. Some tools can also help you get more listings on high-quality sites.
Certain citation tools help you set up and track your listings. You can start with a free tool, and you can upgrade to a paid one as your business grows.
Paid services will offer more features than free ones, but you don’t need the fanciest service. Unless you plan to list your website on dozens of directories, you can get a simple tool to help.
When looking for a citation management tool, consider how much help you’ll need. Think about how many listings you have and how many more you want.
You should also consider your budget when looking at paid options. Then, you can make the right investment to improve your local SEO.
Include a Link to Your Website
When creating Google map citations for local SEO, you should add a link to your website. A link will give Google even more of a chance to review your business.
Your website can show that your business is real and trustworthy. It will also give customers who find your listings an easy way to learn more about your company.
You can add a link to your homepage, and customers can view your other pages from there. However, adding a link to your Locations page is even better.
It will show Google any and all locations you have, and that can improve your local SEO. And if your website runs well on all devices, that will further help you rank well in map view and a general local search.
If you don’t have a location page, consider linking to your contact page. Odds are that will have your location and phone number. It will also make it easier for visitors to contact you without having to search around your site.
Add a Business Description
Where possible, you should add a business description to your Google map citations. You can include keywords related to your business or industry to help you rank well in search results.
The right description will give Google more information. That can help Google decide where to rank your business when someone searches for local stores or restaurants.
Your business description doesn’t have to be long. Make it short and sweet while including keywords naturally.
Avoid stuffing keywords in your description just to rank well in search results. Google doesn’t like it when this happens on a blog or website, so treat your citations the same way.
Some listings also allow you to add a business category. Whether you add a description or not, a category can provide more information to Google and other search engines.
If you need help creating a business description, you can look for a local SEO company. An SEO service can help you make sure your listings will help your search engine ranking.
Should You Use Google Map Citations?
Almost any local business should use Google map citations. If you have at least one physical store that customers can visit, citations can help you appear in map results.
And if you have a chain of stores or restaurants, you can look for citations for each location. Then, you can have all of your local stores show up in search results.
It won’t matter where in the city a customer lives. You can have multiple locations show up on a map, and your customers can choose the most convenient shop.
However, if your business is new and you haven’t set up a physical location, it may not help. Think about it, what is a Google map citation?
They’re online listings that include your address and phone number. If you don’t have those things, your business may not get many results from local search.
Do You Have to Pay for Citations?
When considering if you should use Google map citations for local business SEO, you may wonder if you have to pay for them.
Some citations will be free, while you may have to pay for others. For example, some trade organizations only allow members to list a business. In that case, you would need to pay the membership dues.
You can also pay for a citation management service, but that’s not necessary. It can help manage and track your listings, but it can cost a lot of money for a smaller business.
Optimizing Your Local Results
Google map citations are a great way to improve your rankings in local search results. Whether you have a restaurant or a spa, you can use citations to improve your SEO.
You list your business on a variety of websites, which will help Google decide how trustworthy your business is. Then, you can improve your chances of showing up when people search for your type of business.
Are you ready to improve your local SEO? Check out our $399 SEO plan to get started.