7 QUESTIONS ABOUT ONLINE CITATIONS AND WHY THEY ARE IMPORTANT FOR YOUR FIRM
When we hear the term “citation”, we often think of a violation or a speeding ticket. However, in the world of Internet marketing and search engine optimization (SEO), the term “citation” isn’t always a negative reflection on a website. Rather, it refers to any mention of your firm’s name on other websites—even ones that you may not be affiliated with…
1. What are Citations?
A citation is a “shout out” to your practice. This can involve links to your website and even the information about your practice, such as your practice’s name, address, and phone number. The more info out there, the better for your search results.
2. Where are Citations Found?
Citations to local businesses can be found in online directories, charities your company sponsors, and even other types of local business associations.
3. Why are They Important?
Businesses, especially local businesses, benefit from their presence on the Internet. As we all know, one of the first places people look when searching for a local business—such as a podiatrist, plumber, lawyer, and so on—is Google.
But the quality of a business’ online presence and reputation impacts that level of success. Whether a business succeeds or fails depends in part on the prominence of its search engine results. While word of mouth and location are also important factors, online searches are just as, if not more, important to the success of a local business or firm.
Therefore, businesses with more citations out there will rank higher in search results than those with a smaller number of citations.
4. Are Certain Citations More Valuable than Others?
In short, yes. Certain citations are much more valuable than others. For example, the listing of your firm’s name, phone number, and address on an “important” site such as the local chamber of commerce, Better Business Bureau or government website is certainly worth more than on a website with no reputation.
Citations and links listed on reputable types of websites can drastically improve your rankings in local searches.
5. Do Local and Niche Businesses Need Citations?
Citations are particularly important to businesses operating in a limited geographic area and to smaller, niche businesses. With these types of companies, which may or may not have websites (i.e., local plumbers, electricians, and even “solo” law firms), search engines rely on available online information.
For example, if there are multiple citations for a particular business, then Google and other search engines consider the business to be legitimate and active. Therefore, the more citations these businesses have, the better!
6. Local Business vs. Bigger Brands?
If a local company effectively uses SEO practices and citations, then this can actually rank better on search engines than bigger names and brands. This is because such a business can actually be much more relevant to local search results rather than a large superstore focusing on a much bigger market.
7. How Do I Get Citations?
Getting other companies to mention your firm on their websites is not terribly difficult, but it does take some work, and will not happen overnight. This requires taking the time to develop relationships with other businesses, which can involve email marketing, cold calling, and even making connections and contributing to conversations over social media.
Despite the negative connotation that we associate with the word “citation”, an online citation is actually a good thing for your firm in terms of establishing an online presence and reputation.
However, taking the time to make sure your information is correct, current, accurate, and relevant are all key components to boosting your rankings, which can help get your local business or law firm found!