Online Marketing Program: 2.3 Off-Page Optimization Advanced
Okay, so if you’ve been following along on our Online Marketing Program, you’ll remember that last week we discussed the off-page optimization beginnings….and today we move to the advanced areas to consider…and that’s citations. What are those you will ask….and the answer is that they are pretty easy tools to use to get some serp traction and that’s really important if you think abour it.
First, let’s look at citations – and what is a citation? From David Mihm’s site over at GetListed.org here’s the working definition of what we mean when we use the term citation –
“Citations are defined as “mentions” of your business name and address on other webpages, even if there is no link to your website. An example of a citation might be an online yellow pages directory where your business is listed, but not linked to. It can also be a local chamber of commerce, or a local business association where your business information can be found, even if they are not linking at all to your website . You may also see the term “web references” used on other websites—a synonym for “citations”.
Citations are a key component of the ranking algorithms of the major search engines. Other factors being equal, businesses with a greater number of citations will probably rank higher than businesses with fewer citations.
Citations from well-established and well-indexed portals (like Superpages.com for example) help increase the degree of certainty the search engines have about your business’s contact information and categorization. To paraphrase former Arizona Cardinals’ coach Dennis Green, citations help search engines confirm that businesses “are who we thought they were!”
Citations are particularly important in less-competitive niches (like plumbing or electrical) where many service providers don’t have websites themselves. Without much other information, the search engines rely heavily on whatever information they can find!
Citations also validate that a business is part of a community. It’s hard for someone to fake membership in a chamber of commerce or a city or county business index, or to be written about in a local online newspaper or popular blog. Citations (and links) from these kinds of websites can dramatically improve your Local search engine rankings…”
As you can see, citations are very important to us SEO practitioners and we use them for our clients to ‘build’ their SEO serps and in reality as David mentionned above, they also validate your business as a part of your community – something that the Google local algorithm heavily. (See here for more info from David on citations too!)
So…how can you find citations that you need to use, to get your site mentionned and then build your rankings? Again, that can be a daunting task for many SMB owners but there are really a fair number of ways to accomplish this…not the least of which is David Mihm’s GetListed sites and their built-in tools and here’s where David explains more on our Canadian SEO citations too. Adding to that list, is Dev Basu’s great list here as well and yes, even our own updated CanuckSEO list too. There’s lots of them to look at and learn from. And you can use the GetListed.org site for further study and methodology too.
But that’s not all and I’d be remiss if I didn’t include Darren’s great online tool too, where you can drill down and see exactly what citations you have and don’t have either and use the tool to build new online citations…now that’s just so cool, eh…for Canadian SEO too!