A citation is any mention of your brand, address and phone number (NAP) online. This includes online listings pages, articles and blog posts, review portals and more.
Here at Spidersnet, we believe that citations are an essential part of any local business’s online marketing strategy. Back in the days before search engines existed, no local business in the UK would have operated without making sure that they had a free listing in all local directories. And your attitude to online citations should be no different.
Are citations the same as link building?
No! This is a common misconception. Citations are not in anyway related to links. Citations are purely text references to your dealership including its name, address and phone number.
Why do search engines take note?
Citations are used by Google and other search engines to build up a profile of your dealership, including it’s location and the products and services you offer. They then use this information to return your business in relevant search queries.
When Google finds references to Bob’s Car Dealers on the web, situated alongside words such as “car dealers”, “used cars”, “Croydon” and “Surrey”, it can put these factors together. This means that Google, and other search engines, can be confident that Bob’s Car Dealers is located in Croydon, Surrey and it can be pretty sure that it is a used car dealership.
Then, when someone searches for “used car dealership in Croydon” or “used car dealers Surrey” Google can confidently place Bob’s Car Dealer’s website in its search results pages.
The more instances Google finds of these phrases on trusted sites, the more confident Google becomes that Bob’s Car Dealers is a legitimate used car dealership in Croydon, Surrey. The more Google’s confidence grows, the more likely your dealership is to appear in local search results pages.
Citations are valuable for search engines because they are hard to fake! It’s highly unlikely that a dealership will create listings for their dealership with incorrect information, as this would bring them no benefits what so ever.
‘The more online citations Google finds referencing your business NAP on high quality webpages, the better your change of ranking higher in the local search results!’
Arren Wilkinson – SEO Manager, Spidersnet
Make sure all your info is correct
It’s important to remember that Google will always associate each website, or Google My Business page with one main physical location, and this is how they provide the most relevant local business search results to their users.
So, whilst it is important to ensure that you are working hard to get good quality citations on relevant websites, it is also very important to make sure that all of your location information online is correct. If you do both of these things then you will put your business in a strong position to rank well for local search terms.
How can citations help?
Here are just two ways in which a well executed citations strategy can help boost your car dealership’s online presence.
Over time, Google and other search engines should find the citations online. These additional references to your business name, address and the services you offer, should provide them with a greater confidence about your business, and therefore your business website should appear higher up with the search results pages.
Increase in traffic via referral visits from directory pages
There are many high quality, highly trafficked directory websites that are used on a daily basis by customers in the UK searching for specific services. By adding your company information to these places you are likely to see an increase in visits to your website from these channels.
Where should I submit my details?
It’s extremely important that your company information is only submitted to high quality, well known or relevant directories. Local SEO in the past use to involve submitting company details to thousands of low quality directory sites. Not only will this provide no value to your business, but search engines now look out for these kinds of tactics and are likely punish sites who use these methods.
Well known sites like Yelp, Yell & Scoot are a great starting place.
You could also have a look at your closet competitors. Are there any sites where they are listed that you aren’t? Perhaps you should target these first.
So there you have it, our guide to citations is complete. We hope this has been helpful to you as they can have a real beneficial impact on how your website performs on search results pages. Good luck! And don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any more questions.