With the dynamic evolution of the online world, businesses are now heavily reliable on SEO practices to help improve visibility throughout the web and reach more potential customers. For local businesses, the game is no less competitive and intense.

Unlike the typical SEO campaign of a business with no specific location, Local SEO focuses on a few alternative factors, relevant for a business striving to reach customers at a dedicated geographic location. Business citations are among those factors and play a vital role in your online visibility.

Read – Effective SEO Strategies For Small Businesses

After all, local business is all about local rankings.

Citations Defined

Citations are nothing more than mentions of your Name, Address or Phone number online (NAP). Found across data aggregators, business directories and other sources their purpose is to help your business build its authority and credibility among search engines and users. Search engines often rely on data found online about your business in order to determine whether it is existent and active or relevant to users’ searches.

Business directories, a top source for business listings, could be general, niche or local, depending on the types of businesses they focus on. Although it is important to be included in as many high quality and relevant to your business directories, quality is not to be underestimated. Failing to manage your citations and maintain their consistency across sources could significantly diminish your online authority and could harm your local rankings!

What do you mean inconsistent citations?

For citations to be able to contribute to an increase in visibility, it is essential that they remain consistent at all times. The NAP details related to your business should represent a unified picture of what your business or trade name is, what your physical company address is and what the local phone number where you can be reached is.

Citation inconsistency may lead Google to create duplicate local pages for your business, tearing apart your business reviews, for example. Your business authority may suffer significant damage, hurting your local rankings. Your website may even lose its credibility!

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How did this happen!?

Although citations seem like an easy to handle task they are by no means as plain as they appear. Anything from a change in business name, address or phone number may lead to inconsistencies. You may have updated the information in most directories but have you checked every single source where your business has been listed?

Other, not so obvious factors, may also lead to variances. Take for instance that your old SEO partners have actually damaged your citation health rather than improve it. Or you may have asked an internal employee with no knowledge of NAP consistency to handle your citation profiles.

The Citation Inconsistency Awakens infographic, Episode I of the Local SEO Wars will take you on a journey through the well-known Star Wars Galaxy and will illustrate in more detail:

  • what local citations mean for your business
  • what citation inconsistency is and how it can damage your online visibility
  • how your citations turned to the “Dark Side” in the first place
  • May the force be with you!

Guide - Local SEO explained the Star Wars way