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Posted by Brett Romero - 28 August, 2019

The Importance Of Local Listings And Business Citations For B2B

 Local listings management and citation building have often been an oversight for many companies looking to increase their sales revenue. Often companies don't understand the correct procedures or even know where to start.

We will guide you along the right path by shedding some light on how the professionals do it. You will begin to grasp the significance of citations/local listings when it comes to search engine optimization and driving sales through more website visits, phone calls, and foot traffic. 

What Can You Achieve?

The purpose of this article is to educate you about the importance of local listings and citations for B2B. We will also focus on expanding the definitions of these terms to add greater context to the information presented. We hope that both novices and experts will be able to use these tips to improve their citation building and their company's overall internet marketing approach. 

 What are Business Listings and Citations?

Put quite simply, business citations/local listings are the listings of your company's pertinent information across a digital ecosystem of thousands of local listing directories. Think of this as the Yellow Pages for the web. A business citation or listing is often referred to as a "NAP" (Name, Address, and Phone Number).B2B NAP Citation.png

When a website is added to the citation, it is often called a "NAPW or "UNAP". The "W" stands for website and the "U" stands for URL. Sometimes other data like directions, office hours, coordinates, additional contact details, reviews, and media can also be added. Citations come in structured and unstructured forms. A structured citation is your core company details on a business listing directory such as Yelp and the Yellow Pages.

Unstructured citations are when your company information is listed on websites which are not technically directories. Examples of these include blogs, wikis and tabloid sites. The value of a citation or listing is in the mentioning of your business. Google gives you credit each time this happens. You do not need to include a link back to your website, but including it is better. The accuracy of your company data is essential because data frequently flows from directory platforms to other sites.

A "local" citation is specifically a NAP of a local business. Most local citations can be found on three types of platforms. The first and most important are major local business data platforms like Google My Business and Infogroup.

The second type of platform is geo/industry-specific. These websites include guilds and professional associations. The third platform is the wider web where you can add citations to informal publications, apps, and databases.

Why are Business Listings and Citations Important?

Businesses at every level of commerce are deeply concerned about their reputation, rankings from search engine optimization and revenue. Search engines like Google and Bing will award you better rankings if they can confirm that your business exists.

Citations and listings on prominent sites help your company build a brand image, gain authority, verification, and trust. It signals to search engines that your business is legitimate.

According to Search Engine Optimization (SEO) experts, citation related factors make up to 13% of the top fifty factors. Google will penalize you if your NAP details seem out of date, incorrect, falsified, or inconsistent across the ecosystem. 

This compromises the reliability of search results. Not all citations are created equal. Core search engine and primary sources trump the four lower tiers of websites with lesser domain authority.

It is important to take your local listings management seriously. This is usually used in conjunction with other internet marketing strategies such as a high-quality landing page and schema markup.

Citations can have a significant impact on your company revenue. Research indicates that 70% of the population prefer searching online when they need a local service.

The quality of your citations can either positively or negatively impact consumers. Multiple listings make your company seem more popular than competitors. Your customers also rely on the published information to find driving directions, call you, read reviews, etc. 

This can increase web traffic, targeting and profits by at least 20% and even better, it's free.

How to Build Your Own Citations

It is important that you verify your business and claim your listings. Each local listing site gives you the ability to verify ownership. Verifying ownership puts a lock on the data unless you request an update. If you do not lock the data, data aggregators can overwrite your listing information with potentially inaccurate information. There are thousands of local listing sites. 

You can partner with a digital marketing agency to correct, submit, and verify the data or you can do it yourself. If you do it yourself, you will have to create accounts with each local listing site. 

If you choose to go the DIY way, you will need to get organized to keep track of all of the information. You should document the usernames and passwords of your listings so you can keep track of where you've posted. Typically you can find a section on the site to submit your citation. 

Register a domain-based email address, keep NAP and categories consistent, add as much detail as possible and verify your listings.

Start by listing your business on search engines and popular directories, then work your way down to industry-specific sites. Analyze your competitor's citations and search for more listing opportunities relevant to your core keywords.

Your Google My Business listing is by far the most important for citation building. At the very least, each company needs to maintain excellent local listings management on the following list of quality platforms:

Local citation companies(Image Source)

  • Apple Maps
  • Bing
  • CityGrid
  • Facebook
  • Foursquare
  • Superpages
  • Yahoo!
  • YP
  • Yelp

This list is just a small sample of the most crucial local listing sites. There are literally thousands so that it can be a laborious process. 

Partnering with an internet marketing company could save you a lot of time and money inside of these processes. Typically, an agency has access to API based updates which allow you to get your listings updated within days, vs the months that it can take doing it manually. The other benefit is that an agency can also make swift updates for you. Let’s say that there is a snowstorm, and you need to close early. You could potentially send a temporary hours update across the digital ecosystem to keep your hours updated. It also enables you to easily change your phone number, address, etc. It some cases, you can also use the local listings sites for promotion, by adding specials and coupons as well. In the long term, the agency management of your local listings will increase your revenue by being timely, relevant, and gives a stronger protection against data aggregator updates. 

Conclusion

Having a strong citation profile is one of the simplest ways of driving more phone calls and foot traffic to your business. It is a substantial digital marketing tactic for small local businesses and a foundational basis for local search and SEO.  

NAP B2B Local Citations for businesses

Topics: B2B eCommerce, Management, Sales & Marketing

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