As a business owner I’m sure you’ve received calls from marketers telling you that your business listings are not correct or that the information has changed. And you’re probably wondering if this is necessary at all. I mean how much difference can building local business listings really make, right?

Well according to some of the latest statistics and recent article by Bright Local, you might want to take another look at how your business shows up when someone searches for you online. Now, the survey shows proof that local citations do indeed give your online assets an added boost, and on today’s “How To”Tuesday, we’re going to talk about why building your local business citations are worth a second look.

brightlocal-survey-2016Let’s start with the short and sweet definition of a local citation. A local citation is simply where your company is mentioned on other websites and places found on the internet, going deeper, citations are a mention of your business name, address and phone number on other web pages, even if there’s no link to your website.

Local citations can heavily influence and help you rank in both the local search results and to google my business. Citations are specifically important in less competitive local niches, so if you’re in maybe home services or you’re a plumber, or landscaper, maybe even a locksmith, and you don’t have a website, or for other businesses that don’t have websites, without that information the search engines rely heavily on whatever information they can find which is generally citations. Citations and links from these kinds of websites can dramatically improve your local search engine rankings.

I’m going to give you 3 critical reasons why you need to pay attention to your business local citations.

Reason #1: Increasing traffic and increasing revenue

The more exposure your website has the more people are likely to visit it. Both SEO(Search Engine Optimization) and exposure to more people who are searching for products and services you offer could result in increased traffic to your website and when more people are able to find your website it increases the chances that they will visit your website and/or your business; which means you’ve gained a new customer.

Reason #2: Credibility

You want everything about your business to look professional in the eyes of your customers. Local citations help you build your businesses credibility and viewers will consider your business to be an authority on the subject and a professional place to do business.

Reason #3: Low cost advertising

One of the major benefits of creating local citations is that most directories and review sites are inexpensive to join and offer great exposure for free, or at least at a minimal fee. Either way it’s a much less cost compared to T.V. or a radio campaign.

Now, let’s examine some of the questions from the survey. For a new business versus an existing business-  Is it smart to build or fix the citations fast or should you take it slow?

Well, experts say that it depends on the business’ existing quantity of citations, the level of competition, the business and the location. Now, this is important, because a new business in this case can build 50 citations right away and see some really good impact. But for an existing business, 50 citations may not even scratch the surface. So, each business situation deserves its own strategy.

Other results from the survey show these points:

90% of local experts say accurate citations are critical or very important to local search ranking.

They say that the quality of citations is more important than the quantity.

In industry relevance it’s the most important factor to consider on choosing which citation sites  to choose, in this case if you’re in an industry that has an association or some type of organization that you are a member of or that you can tie yourself to, it’s a great idea to submit your business listings to those type of sites because they have a great authority.

Now as far as exactly how many citations should be built for a new business, the experts are split but most agreed that at least 30 within the first 2 months is a good starting point.

So are you wondering how to get these local citations done? Well you can actually do it on yourself. It is really cheaper do it yourself? That depends. Submitting manually maybe more expensive because you end up submitting or paying for each listing one by one. So the time versus the cost is probably higher.

I teach an online marketing class and I tell my students who are business owners that if they’re like bootstrap or startup, they usually have more time than money, so this is a great opportunity to take the time and submit their business listings to each one of these directories or review sites one by one.

Online Marketing Course for Business Owners

Now, submitting manually allows you to claimyour listings so you have control over it forever versus paying a company to do it for you. Now, that’s the most expensive option, real time distribution is typically more expensive because these services have limited distribution networks and they charge recurrent fees so you pay every month and year to maintain your data within their network and if you stop paying, your updatedinformationgoes back to its original state which is often incomplete, wrong, or entirely missing especially if you’re a new business.

So there are some advantages in submitting manually, according to the report, submitting manually also gives you a combination of fast results and as I said before you have control of your listings because you actually have the login credentials to get in and update anything at any time.

I do advice you to look at your listings and check them monthly to make sure that they are accurate because they do get changed.

Another point I want to add is when prospects find the business online, they read reviews to make sure they are making a good decision. Now, having your customers post positive reviews on your listing will build tremendous credibility and prove to everyone that you’re a reliable business that can be trusted. As I said before most citations are free it will just take up your time to complete them all.

So the bottom line is if you haven’t created accurate local citations for your business, now is the time to get it done. And if you need some more information about building your local citations for your business you can always contact me. I’m Annette Washington from IYBS Local.You can contact me at 425-272-5932 or visit the website at iybs-local.com.