What are citations? Citations are powerful links that give credibility to a website. They are especially powerful in local marketing.
According to DMoz
Citations Create Success for Local Businesses
"Citations are defined as mentions of your business name and addresson other web pages—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. Citations can also be found on local chamber of commerce pages, or on a local business association page that includes your business information, even if they are not linking at all to your website."
Citations are a large component of online ranking algorithms such as Google and Bing. Businesses with greater numbers of citaitons can rank higher than larger businesses with fewer citations.
The citations should be from well indexed portals like Merchant Circle, Superpages.com, Yellow Pages.com, Yelp, etc. These citations help consumers and the algorithms confirm you are who you say you are.
Citations are really improtant in niches, like construction services such as plumbing or electrical, where many service providers don't have websites themselves. Without a web site, search engines rely on what information they can find.
Why should I care about citations? They are free high Domain Authority links to your site. Some of the DAs are in the 80 and 90 range.That is a lot of link juice going to your website.
Where do I start? Start with your web page. Is it accurate? Would you like to change anything such as punctuation or abbreviations? This is the time to change it. Next claim the Google business listing. Complete the listing with a bio, hours of operation, pictures, address, descriptions.
Now here is where the magic comes in - take that same exact information in the Google listing and the Website (they should be exact) and put in other business directories.
So you say exact does that mean abbreviations and phone number andfax number? When I say exact I mean exact if the address is 123 Main St, with a period put the period in every directory. If ST is all caps then put in all caps. The best thing is to not have punctuation. Don't put commas or periods in the business listing address or name or phone number. If the name MIP INC. it can't be MIP Inc (724) 555-555 should be 724 555 5555 because certain sites don't allow punctuation. Your website must also match. If you see NAP concerning citations this is an abbreviation for Name Address Phone Number.
Am I done after I list it in Yelp, Google, Yahoo, Bing and Manta? If you think 5 or 10 is enough you are off base. There are many business listing directories. There are directories based on geography, for type of business, membership sites Chamber of Commerce or Pittsburgh Technology Council, and there are general ones as well. I have seen over 160 citations for certain businesses.
They are all free listings and links? Oh yeah It is the least expensive most powerful linking strategy for local businesses. Period.
So if I get messed up and have a few with different addresses and a few with different phone numbers that won't matter will it? Don't forget Google is about relevance and if your citations vary with phone number and addresses Google has a difficult time knowing which one is correct. Google wants to show what is relevant and give its users a good experience.
If Google served up a page with a bad phone number its customers would not trust them as much.
Are there other places for citations? Citations can also be bylines for answers or guest posts. It can be in video comments and descriptions, forum signatures and press releases.
Don't forget to claim the listing in the directories. It adds relevance.
Check out my by-line below and also Rich's, when you are a guest blogger, when you post in forums, you should always use one.
Cash Flow Engineer, Rich Massafra
web site http://thepittsburghseo.com