Local SEO Checklist 2023 – Improve Your Local Search Rankings

Local SEO Basics: Strategies To Improve Your Rankings

If you’re unsure of where to start, run a scan to check the online presence of your business and see where you stand.

Who needs their business information updated across the web?

  • New businesses
  • Existing businesses that don’t have an online presence
  • Business that have relocated or have changed their contact information.

In other words, every business out there!

What business information goes on the web?

Basic, but vital; Your business name, address and phone number (NAP), and website details must be updated on the internet without fail. Customers, however, may look for other important details along with your business’ contact information.

For example, someone looking for “Eat-Here Cafe” might want to know about what’s on the menu or if there is a parking facility on the premises, apart from the basic NAP information.

So, here’s a business-information-checklist to help you out.

  1. NAP: Name, address, phone number
  2. Company Website
  3. Working Hours
  4. Products Offered
  5. Services Offered
  6. Payment Methods
  7. Business Specialties

Business information when added to an exterior website becomes a ‘citation’ or a ‘business listing’. Subsequently, when your customers search for your products or services, your information will appear on search engines like Google, Bing or Yahoo.

Where do you have to update your business details?

Make sure your business information is updated across major online directories and websites. It is best to have maximum coverage on these platforms as it increases your chances of being found online. For starters, here’s a list of ten sites your business information needs to appear on.

  1. Google (Google My Business)
  2. Bing
  3. Yahoo
  4. Facebook
  5. Yelp
  6. YellowPages
  7. Whitepages
  8. LinkedIn
  9. Chamber of Commerce
  10. Foursquare

[Pro-Tip:nIt is best to include social media sites like Google+, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr and Instagram in your online strategy as well.]

Now, for the big question!

How do you update your business information across the internet?

First off, your business information might be scattered across the web, it might be wrong or it is just missing. So, your first step will be to correct it or claim any existing information that might be auto-generated. In any case, there are two ways you can do this.

  1. You can add your business information to online directories manually. You will need to go to every site and add your information, request an update and wait for your information to appear. [Here’s a guide to manually submitting your business online to various directories.]
  2. Alternatively, you can use the services of a citation submission service that will do this for you. You update your information once and the service will add this information to relevant online directories. The best part of an automatic citation submission service is that you will receive access to a dashboard that will allow you to update your business information on the go.

Consequences of NOT Updating Your Business Information Across the Web

By the current business standards, you must have a good online presence in order to make your business grow faster. You will face some serious consequences if you avoid updating your business information across the web.

  1. Most local searches are made with a purchase intent, i.e., people search for services and products on their mobile devices with the intention of purchasing. Based on an article by Think With Google, 18% of local smartphone searches lead to a purchase within a day.
  2. Reviews are the digital equivalent of “word-of-mouth recommendations”. Businesses with more reviews rank higher on search engines. According to an article by Kissmetrics:
    – 70% of Americans search for product reviews before making a purchase.
    – 63% of consumers are more likely to purchase from a site that has product ratings and reviews.
    Without an online presence, your business will be disregarded by most, and you will miss out on the perks of having online reviews.
  3. You might have the best products or services in town, but the average customer will most likely find alternatives to your business if you’re not listed online. If your competitors have online listings created, your business identity will suffer.
  4. Another real-time problem your business might face without an online presence is losing customers to duplicate listings. There might be certain auto-generated duplicate pages existing online, providing incorrect details about your business to your customers, who in turn might contact the wrong phone number or visit the wrong address. This is clearly a disaster waiting to happen if you aren’t listed accurately on the web.
  5. Your business goes unnoticed online! Period.

Having your business information on the web is really a win-win situation for your business. Here is the upside of having your business information updated online.

Benefits of Updating Your Business Information Across the Web

  1. An enabled online presence will allow your potential customers to find your products and services. Conversely, search engines will begin to “cite” your business for local searches.
  2. It goes without saying that reviews are good for business! The more reviews you get, the higher your local search rankings, and subsequently, more customers. These factors add to your social proof, that is, your customers’ reviews will attract more potential customers for your business if your business is listed online.
  3. The most significant benefit you can obtain from this: Sales! It’s a foolproof routine. You put your business on the map, potential customers find you, and your sales increases. It’s as simple as that, really!
  4. Apart from ads, an online presence in itself is free publicity.
  5. Local business schema (The Ultimate Guide To Local Schema) makes it easy for search engines to recognise what sort of business you are and what you do.
  6. Your business starts getting noticed online! Period.

How to Add Business to Yelp?

Get Listed On Yelp

Yelp is a leading reviews site and one of the highest trafficked websites in the web. Getting your local business listed on Yelp will ensure that you’re found when customers are searching for businesses like yours on the site. Also, Yelp occupies the top spot when it comes to Google search results for many “near me” and local business keywords.

In this guide, we’ll be showing you how you can add and claim your business listing on Yelp to get the maximum exposure.

Step 1: Visit “Yelp for Business Owners”

Visit the Yelp for Business Owners page. Enter your Business Name and Business Address. Click on Get Started after that.

Step 2: Claim Your Business

From the results, select Claim this Business, if your listing has not been claimed. If you want to edit the information, click on the red Already Claimed and log into Yelp to make changes to your listing.

If you can’t find your business, click on Add your Business to Yelp at the end of search results. You will have to add the business information and phone number to add your business. After the listing is verified by Yelp moderators, you will receive an email detailing the process to claim your listing.

Optimize your Business for the Mobile-First Index

The usage of internet in mobile phones has gained prominence over the years, eventually becoming more common than desktop internet usage by January 2014, according to this Wikipedia post. Owing to its exponential growth in the past few years, Google has announced that they will be rolling out a mobile-first index in 2018 for their search listings. This has prompted businesses to alter their online presence and user experience, to rank better in SERPs. But before we dive into that, what exactly is mobile-first index, and how does it work?

As the name suggests, mobile-first indexing uses the mobile version of a website as its primary point of reference for indexing and organic ranking, even for listings shown on desktops. This means that Google’s algorithm will go through the mobile version of a website first to determine its indexing and search ranking, based on several factors. So what exactly do businesses need to do, and how can they adapt to mobile-first indexing?

Let’s take a look at the top five steps that businesses can follow to optimize their online presence for mobile-first index:

Step 1: Make Sure Your Website Has a Responsive Design

Googlers highly recommend taking a responsive approach for the switch to mobile-first indexing. This entails optimizing a website so that it renders the content according to the screen real estate, without making any changes in the content itself. Websites that have a responsive design or a dynamic serving structure will see little to no change in their SERP rankings, says Google.

Pro Tip: You can run Google’s test to check if your website is mobile-friendly


Step 2: Make Sure Your Page Loading Speed is Maximized

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According to this article by Google, 53% of mobile users bounce from a web page that takes longer than three seconds to load. Given this statistic, we can conclude that page loading speed plays a vital role in optimizing your business’ mobile user experience.

You can achieve higher loading speeds through several changes, the most basic being compressing and optimizing your rich data. For example, using a high-resolution image for use on a small screen doesn’t make sense, and it loads slower. Whereas, using a resolution that matches the screen size can deliver the same experience, but with a reduced loading time. Additionally, make sure that your JavaScript and CSS are responsive and adaptive, and that white spaces and empty elements are removed.

Step 3: Optimize For Local/Near Me Searches

Google states in its research article that nearly one-third of all mobile searches are related to location. This opens up a whole new avenue of potential revenue, and optimizing your business for these search results and listings has become paramount with the introduction of mobile-first index.

You can equip your business for this by adding your listing details across multiple online directories, such as Google My Business, Yelp, Foursquare, and even social platforms. Perhaps the most important thing to oversee here is to make sure your info is accurate and consistent across all directories and online platforms. Do make sure to include your working hours and special holidays, in addition to your name, address, phone number (NAP) details.

Pro Tip: Including your city and state in your title tag, URL, alt tags, etc. will also help with local searches.

Step 4: Optimize Your On-Page Content

Search result listings on smartphones have considerably lesser space to work with, in comparison to listings shown on desktops. Since more than half of all web traffic originates from mobile devices according to this Statista analysis, making sure your titles and meta descriptions are clear and concise is extremely important. This helps users make an instant decision, and consequently have a better user experience.

Step 5: Make Sure Your Design Layout is User-Friendly

With the smartphone’s consistent rise to power, the way people navigate a site has changed considerably. Fingertips have replaced cursors, and any website layout that does not offer a ‘finger-friendly’ layout tends to have a higher bounce rate. So make sure that your layout isn’t cluttered, and is presented in a way that makes it easier for mobile users to navigate.

The Monster List Of Ideas To Generate Reviews

An extensive list of ideas to generate reviews for your business.

1. Actionable Schema

Make it easier for customers to review you! Send an email with action schema, which allows customers to write a review quickly without even opening your mail. These emails are often known as transactional emails. Google has a great explanation on adding markups to the email.

Have a look at this end-to-end implementation of a Review Email Schema.

2. Find Local Bloggers

Local bloggers are a great way to get the word out about your business and their reviews also act as a source of authority on sites like Urbanspoon who use trusted reviews as a metric.

3. Embeddable QR Codes on Posters & Cards

QR codes skip a few steps and take the customer to the exact place where they need to be in order to write a review by simply scanning the code. This makes the process of writing a review much easier, increasing the likelihood of your business receiving reviews.

4. Review Handouts

Review Handouts are printable instructions for writing a review for your business on top of directory listing sites like Google and Yelp. Instructions are pretty easy and detailed, and this makes it easier for users to go through the instructions and review your business.

Here is an example of a Review Handout from WhiteSpark.

5. Send out Thank You Postcards

Sending Thank You cards to your customer makes them feel special, and at the same time, it also gives a boost to your relationship with them. Make sure you follow up the services rendered to them with a ‘Thank You’ card with the QR code which might even lead to them giving you a good review.

6. Generate reviews via Facebook advertising.

Facebook Custom Audience targeting is a great way to drive reviews. This nifty feature allows you to target specific customers by their email address, name or Facebook profile. All you’ll need to do is collect customer emails or profiles and create ads targeting them requesting reviews.

7. Pop Ups.

Display a pop-up or modal on your website requesting users to add a review. While setting this up, ensure that you’re not displaying it more than once for every customer.

8. Website Review Widgets.

Embed a review widget like Synup’s or BrightLocal’s Review Plugin on your website and use this to drive more reviews to your profiles. Not only is this a great way to link customers directly to your profiles on different sites, but is also a great way to generate reviews organically.

Here some good widgets for your website to get you started :
Google Review Widget
Trip Advisor

9. WordPress Review Widgets.

On top of generic website review widgets, there are also specific review widgets built just for WordPress. These provide better user experience and also come with features to let you control what reviews you want to display for customers.

Here some good plugin widgets for your website to get you started :
Embed Yelp Review
Google + Review

10. Twitter Advertising.

Similar to Facebook, you can also target a specific audience using Twitter. This allows you to advertise to customers who have already visited your store or business and remind them to leave a review for your business.

Here is a breif: https://business.twitter.com/solutions/username-targeting

11. Promotional Material

Many review sites like Yelp, Urbanspoon or Google will provide you with free or cheap promotional material that you can use to request users to leave reviews on your profile pages.

12. Stickers & Posters on your store front.

You can also use stickers and posters in your storefront to encourage more reviews.

13. Email exisitng Customers.

Once you have a mailing list of existing customers, be sure to follow up by sending them emails, requesting feedback for the product bought or service already offered.

14. Use check-in offers from FourSquare.

You can run a check-in offer on Foursquare to generate more walk-ins which could eventually result in reviews.
You will of course need to ensure that you provide good service to all of these walk-ins to ensure that customers review you positively.

15. Adding a 'Review Us' link on your emails.

It’s fairly simple to include a link to your Yelp or Google+ review page in your signature. This is a non-intrusive way of asking customers to follow or review you on these sites.

16. Provide free Wi-Fi.

This will encourage more people to login to your Wi-Fi and will encourage them to check-in or add more reviews. Moreover, you can also list in Wi-Fi friendly directories.

17. Update your online profiles.

Setup and update your major business listings on websites where you want your customers to review you. Ensure that you’re active on these sites so that customers can see!

18. Setting up Review Landing Pages.

Setup a review landing page on your website and make it easier for customers to review you. Link it with your testimonials page on your website.

19. Video Reviews

Almost everyone is walking around with a smartphone nowadays, so lets put them to good use. You can easily take a video testimonial of your happy customers during or after service.

20. Meetup & Events

Not only is this a lot more personalized, but it’ll help your business stay unique, original and stand out.

21. Respond Pro-Actively to Reviews

It’s fairly simple to include a link to your Yelp or Google+ review page in your signature. This is a non-intrusive way of asking customers to follow or review you on these sites.

22. Make your store Interesting.

If there’s something fun, funky or interesting about your store, it increases the chances of a potential customer adding a review of your business.

23. Discounts for Reviews

Give people discounts on their next purchase if they write a review for you. Send it in an email or perhaps right after purchase on the website.

24. Identify Potential Reviewers

It’s always a good idea to ask your customer where they found you. If they found you on a review site, there’s a high probability that they’re going to review you online.

25. Just ask them.

If you want something in life ASK for it, otherwise never complain that you did not get it. The same goes for reviews. Setup a process, inculcate the practice within your organization to ask customers to review you.

Do you remember how high school cliques worked? The jocks hung out with other jocks, the nerds got along best with other nerds and so on. Like-minded people or crowds with similarities get along. Search engines use a similar logic to develop trust and authority for websites.

If website A has high domain authority and features a link to website B, search engines understand that website B must be good as well. Links from a trustable source help build authority for your website.

Every SEO strategy involves building quality backlinks. All marketers have, at some point, approached website owners, bloggers, PR personnel or publications for a backlink to their website. It is regarded as one of the oldest and most trusted SEO tactic used.

What are backlinks?

Backlinks are hyperlinks from one webpage to another. Backlinks have two main functions – they increase traffic and build authority.

Firstly, if a website has backlinks on multiple sites, it is bound to see referral traffic. This helps in increasing awareness of the brand and also brings in new customers.

Secondly, backlinks help boost SEO for the domain. Your business gains trust in the eyes of the search engine when the crawlers come across the backlinks. The more the number of backlinks a website has, the better the chances it being found on search results.

Since backlinks have direct effects on your business’ online presence, you should only look at building good quality ones. Although the volume of backlinks impacts local SEO, it is advisable to concentrate on quality over quantity.

Local backlinks and search engines

Search engines take backlinks as certificates of trust. You should concentrate on increasing the volume of local backlinks your business has. This will boost your efforts and benefit your local SEO. Local backlinks are useful in building credibility of a business. They are enforced with an intention of building local awareness of the business website.

If you are looking to capitalize on the customers in your locality and improve on your local SEO, your link building strategy should be focused. Aiming at building backlinks on domains with high authority alone will not help. You should also look at websites that your target audience frequently visits. Local communities, forums, business directories, social networking sites, etc. can help you with this.

Tips to build quality backlinks for your business

  1. Create accounts for your business on social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+, Instagram and Tumblr. The social platforms you choose will depend on the kind of audience you are targeting.
  2. Look for online directories that are specific to your niche. There is a high possibility that your customers visit these sites to look for businesses like yours. Most of these allow you to create a backlink to your website for free.
  3. Local newspapers, forums and communities help spread the word about your business. You can reach the plethora of audience in your vicinity and at the same time, get a backlink.
  4. You could also look at posting your articles or content pieces on sites that allow it. Some of these directories include – Slideshare, LinkedIn Pulse, Growth Hackers, Self Growth etc.
  5. Guest blogging is an option that local businesses should definitely look at. You can approach local bloggers to host an article from your business’ end on their domain. This can help you capitalize on their existing fanbase.
  6. Partner with local influencers for a review or feature of your business on their page. The idea is to increase brand awareness by reaching out to their followers. They could become potential customers to your business and thereby increase revenue.

You know what every business owner or marketer like you should aim for? The first ten spots of search engine rankings for your target keywords.

What do these translate into? A source of revenue, and of course, good brand placement.

What is stopping you from getting there? It might be multiple factors, and one of them could be duplicate content.

What is duplicate content?

Duplicate content on your website is a huge red flag for search engine crawlers. Duplicate content is exactly what it sounds like – content on your website that is duplicated.

Here is how Google defines duplicate content:

“Duplicate content generally refers to substantive blocks of content within or across domains that either completely match other content or are appreciably similar. Mostly, this is not deceptive in origin.

Examples of non-malicious duplicate content could include:

  • Discussion forums that can generate both regular and stripped-down pages targeted at mobile devices
  • Store items shown or linked via multiple distinct URLs
  • Printer-only versions of web pages”

Any content that is duplicated on your website from a different domain is considered malicious by Google. You have to ensure all of the content on your website is original. In the event you do decide to use content from a different blog or publication, you should cite the source. While doing so, you are giving an indication to the search engines that you have, in fact, picked up content from a different domain.

Often there are cases where website owners don’t know that they are hosting duplicate content. You might be promoting content that is the same as other websites, unintentionally. If you are looking to check your website for duplicate content, you can make use of this free tool.

Duplicate content and search engines

Let’s say there are two pages on your website with different URLs, but have the exact same content. You might have created the pages with the idea of ranking higher for the same set of keywords, with different URLs. But this is not how the search engines see it.

When a search engine comes across multiple pages on the same website with the same content, it raises a red flag. It might not understand which URL it has to index and which one to give more preference.

It makes more sense for you to have a single page with original content and work on the SEO for it. You should focus your efforts on ranking higher for a single page. This will turn out to be beneficial in the long run.

In case you decide to have multiple pages with the same content, you will have to look at canonicalization. Here is a simple guide of how and why it is done. You can use canonical URLs for your duplicate webpages to make Google understand which one is more important. In a way, you are telling Google to ignore the other page and to rank you for the preferred one. You also end up helping Google by saving their time crawling multiple pages.

Another route that you can take with duplicate content is setting up 301 redirects. Although these are generally used for redirecting old domains to new ones, you can make use of them in this case as well.

There are cases where Google understands the need for duplicate content. Some website owners create print-only versions of certain pages. This page might feature the same content as the original. In this case, Google would understand the need.

How does duplicate content affect my local SEO?

When hosting multiple URLs with the same content, their SEO score gets divided. You might be lucky enough to start ranking for both those links, but it would make more sense for you to combine the two into one URL and increase your SEO stats for that one page.

Another aspect of hosting duplicate pages without canonical tags is – giving the search engine the power to decide which one of the links is more important. The search engine might pick one over the other and it might not be in sync with your marketing strategy. If the same situation occurs multiple times, it is possible that your site gets blacklisted.

Content on your website plays a huge role in your local SEO rankings. It is advisable to concentrate on the bigger picture with your SEO strategy and aim for the tasty pie. Every marketer worth his money out there understands the importance of organic search engine rankings and is eyeing a slice. Grab onto your pizza slice before anybody else does. Getting the pizza slice doesn’t just mean a tasty meal, it also entails fresh and highly qualified leads coming in organically. That can directly translate into revenue.

How do you usually shop online? Based on the product you wish to buy, you visit an e-commerce website and look for multiple variations of the product from different brands and/or sellers. You then compare the features, price and credibility of the product. How do you decide whether the product is the real deal and delivers everything it has promised? You check the product reviews from other buyers!

Similarly, if you want a probable customer of yours to visit your store or sign up for your service, you need to build credibility for your brand. Adding testimonials from your existing customers is a great way to do this.

How customer reviews affect local SEO

Testimonials from customers in the vicinity is a good form of content for your website visitors. This is because it is highly relevant to your website visitors. The new users that land on your website will get an idea of the work you do and the quality of service you provide from customer testimonials.

Additionally, adding reviews and feedback from local customers will help boost your local SEO. Search engines value the volume of reviews on your website. But keep in mind, not to overcrowd your testimonials page or section. Stuffing reviews on a webpage might just prove to be an unnecessary mess that no one would dive into.

A common practice that business owners have adopted these days is adding review widgets to their website. What these widgets do is pick up the review from your business’ Google listing or Facebook page or Yelp profile and showcase it on your website. This is a convenient way to go about it if you don’t want to spend time building an additional design element for your website.

Adding ratings along with customer reviews on your website is perfectly normal. Although some businesses feign away from it, you have to note that most sites like Facebook, Yelp, Google, etc. ask for star ratings along with a review. You can take a call by yourself, about what bits you’d like to include and what you want to leave out.

Sending review requests to customers via email or SMS is a prevalent practice. Most business owners use a tool to send out mass emails to their customer database. While doing so, you can include a simple template and few hints of phrases or keywords that your customers can make use of. The reviews you showcase on your website will help improve your keyword rankings as well. As long as they comprise of keywords that you are looking to rank for, they will boost your local SEO.

Last but not the least, you can add a backlink towards the end of every testimonial. This will encourage the visitors to your website to click on it and maybe drop a review from their end as well!

Add customer testimonials for more customers!

Featuring customer reviews on your website is a way of showing gratitude to your existing customers. The primary objective behind featuring testimonials from happy customers on your website is to use them as ambassadors for your brand. A bunch of satisfied customers will help you attract new prospects that you can convert into customers. Therefore, you end up bringing in delight and multiply your revenue.

We now live in an era wherein digital marketing holds prime importance. If your business is not present on digital media, you are not only losing a chance to interact with your existing customers, but also throwing away the opportunity to bring in new customers. It is very important for your business to actively participate and engage consumers online.

Word-of-mouth marketing holds unprecedented power for your business. Consider online reviews to be a new and improved version of word-of-mouth marketing for your business. When a user searches for a service or product he is interested in, he analyses numerous factors before zeroing in one option. One of these important factors that you can work on is improving your overall business rating.

Importance of online reviews for local SEO

Google now shows the business rating along the listing. This makes the decision-making process easier for users. They can see how your customers have rated you, and also see the number of reviews your business has received. This makes a lot of sense from a user’s perspective as it gives them valuable information to compare and make a decision.

From a business owner’s perspective, it might seem like additional work for you. As if trying to sort your daily operations, sales efforts, business listings and keyword rankings wasn’t enough, now you have to try to improve your online reviews as well? Well, nobody said running a business was going to be easy.

Crowd-sourced directories like Yelp, Facebook, Google, Bing etc. not only host business listings but also allow customers and users to review the businesses they have interacted with. These online business directories and social media channels have good domain authority. Listing your business on them helps you boost your local SEO – your ranking improves and it also presents itself as a platform where you can get reviews.

How can monitoring and responding to reviews help my business?

The idea of getting your customers to review your business online is to show them that you care. As a business, you want them to know that you are always open to suggestions and constructive criticism. Hence, it only makes sense for you to respond to all reviews that your business receives. Be it a positive review filled with compliments and praises, or a negative review, you should make it a point to respond to them all.

Reviews, good or bad, can go a long way. If a customer had a good experience with your business, he is likely to talk about it to one or two of his friends. In the event he had a bad experience, he is definitely going to bring it with a larger crowd. Before you know it, he’s put up a status on his Facebook timeline, tweeted about it multiple times and thrown in an Instagram story as well. But don’t worry, you can learn to salvage negative reviews, no matter how dirty the situation gets.

No business owner wants to receive a negative review online. Especially when you know that the content of the feedback is available for public consumption. But what you must learn to do is stay calm and respond to it. You could start off with a generic response that goes like –

“Hi there, we are sorry you had a bad experience with us. Please share your contact details so that we may get in touch with you and help resolve the issue. Thanks in advance!”

The objective is to acknowledge the issue online and work towards closing the loop. When the issue has been resolved offline, you need to update it online as well. This will reflect well on your business and at the same time, show that you care.

You might be wondering if it makes sense for you to spend time and reply to happy customers – those who have left a positive review. Well, that needs to be taken up as an important task as well. A simple reply like – “Hi there, thanks for your positive feedback! We hope to see you again soon.” can help.

How can I start?

Opening up all of your listings or pages online and looking for new reviews is not an easy task. It is very time-consuming and requires manual labour. When in fact, you could use the same time for something more productive and satisfying. Your objective should be to use your time wisely and simplify your work as much as possible.

There are a number of tools you can use to make your job easier. Synup is one such simple local marketing software. Using this, you can keep an eye on your reviews online and respond to them from the same dashboard. You end up saving time and also have a structured process in place.

Do you remember how the head or prefect of a segment of students was picked back in school? It was usually based on the number of awards or accolades the candidates had received. The student with the highest volume of credible certificates to his name would be given the title. Sound familiar?

The manner in which local search rankings work is similar. When a user types in his search query, the results that show up are based on multiple factors. One of the main criteria that decides search rankings is the number of citations the business has.

What are local citations?

A local citation is an accurate mention of your business’ Name, Address and Phone number (NAP) on a local directory or website. The reference to your business does not necessarily have to feature a link to your website.

Let’s say you have mentions of your business on other websites with additional information like your business working hours, size of the company, business categories, a business description, images, videos etc. These mentions also get counted as citations. It means that – in order for a reference to qualify as a citation for your business, your NAP needs to be featured.

Impact of citations on local SEO

Citations have a strong impact on your local SEO. Search engines rank businesses with more number of citations higher. However, it is not just the volume of local citations that is the deciding factor. Along with volume, you have to ensure that the source of citation is credible and that each citation is also accurate.

You cannot have a hundred citations on websites or directories with weak domain authority and expect to rank number one on search results. Similarly, you have to ensure that your NAP is uniform on your website and on these directories. If not, it will have a negative impact on your local SEO.

Websites like Facebook, Yelp, Foursquare, Bing Places, etc. have highly valued citations because they have good domain authority. These are also sites where customers can review you. Hence, citations on these websites can also be used by your business to improve your overall star rating.

On the other hand, you should also look at building citations for your business through press releases or references in online publications. These could be regional, national or even internationally – known sites. Websites that host guest blogs, press releases, news publications, image (and/or) video submission sites, etc. should be put to use.

Why should I check competitors’ citations?

Any business that offers services or products similar to your own will end up targeting the same audience. In a constant attempt to grow your business, you should always keep a close eye on your competitors.

Now that you understand the importance of local citations, you should definitely keep an eye out for your competitors’ citations. Firstly, if you are not present on any of the directories that your competitors are on, you know that you should get there! Secondly, you will understand how actively your competitors are working on building citations for their business.

Where can I check my competitors’ citations?

There are a bunch of free tools available online for this purpose. All you have to do is fill in a bunch of basic details and voila! The tool will pull out the list of citations. You can try this tool to start off with.

When was the last time you came across someone opening up an old telephone book to look for a product or a service? The go-to mode for search and discovery has become the internet. Your customers pick up their mobile phones and simply ask Siri or Google Assistant to find the right solution for their problem. Or, you’ll find them on Google, searching for “plumber near me” or “pet-friendly restaurants near me”.

If you are looking to capitalize on customers from the locality for your business or storefront, then you must be concentrating on local SEO. In order to be found by the right customers via Google search, voice search or even search on mobiles, you have to make sure that your local SEO game is strong. One of the most important factors that is taken into consideration for local search rankings is a structured citation from multiple credible sources.

As a local marketer, or the owner of a local business, you should be aware of the citation directories that your business is already featured on. If you aren’t sure of it, you can run a free scan here.

Listing your business on reputed online directories will help you establish your NAP(Business Name, Address and Phone Number) across the web. It is important for you to ensure that your NAP is uniform on all directories/mentions of your business. You should also feature complete location data of your business. If a website or directory gives you the opportunity of adding details apart from the basic NAP, you should definitely go for it. This will help improve the credibility of your business and can bring in more customers. Most of all, this will help with your local SEO!

Without further delay, here is a list of the top 50 sites where your business should be present for sure!

The above list might seem lengthy and the process of getting your business listed on each of these directories is cumbersome. Every directory has specific details that they go after and slightly different verification procedures. As a business owner, the task will sound daunting.

Well, fret not, for there are automated local SEO tools that can help you manage your business listings in a uniformed fashion. Synup is one such tool that caters to small businesses with single or multi locations, enterprises and agencies of all types. The local intelligence software can help you automate your business listings, manage them and sync the information across directories online, from a single dashboard.

The day isn’t far when every household will have its own AI assistant that takes care of menial tasks like booking travel, hiring servicemen, getting food delivered or even booking a doctor’s appointment. As a business owner, your goal is to make sure that the right people (or these bots, for that matter) find you. In doing so, you can keep up with the demand and be present where you are needed.