Yes, Facebook is awesome. Yes, you are getting tons of likes. Yes, Suzy from down the block gave you a review on Facebook. But you are missing out on the big picture: Facebook and all of your social media accounts only accounts for 1%-5% of your total website traffic. Citations account for roughly 20%-30% of ranking on search engines. If you want to get serious about search engine optimization and getting your small business found online, start focusing on one of the biggest factors (according to a little company called Google).
What is a citation?
A citation is any instance of your business name, phone number, and address on the internet. An example is yellowpages.com, yelp.com, angieslist.com, or yes, even facebook is a citation. It’s basically thousands of “online phonebooks”. Your name, address, and phone number should be 100% consistent across all these citations. This means if your address is 123 N Broadway St then 123 North Broadway Street and 123 N. Broadway St would be incorrect. Yes, the periods and capitols and small things matter. If Google, Yahoo, and Bing sees these as inconsistent, then you will not rank very high.
How Can I fix my citations?
Often times, you will hear SEOs say the phrase, “We need to clean up your citations”. What does this mean? You need to correct any websites to have consistent business name, address, and phone number. This means either you or your SEO company should create an individual account for each website that has you listed and fill out the citation 100% including a consistent address, phone number, and business name.
Create 1 document that you can copy and paste your business name, address, and phone number from. Example: (847) 888-8888 is different from 847-888-8888. Be consistent. Copying and pasting will save you time and will be more consistent.
Keep track and take notes!
When doing citations, keep a log of which ones you have completed and which ones you need to follow up on. Make note of the date, your login info, and the status of each citation. This way, if you need to follow up in a few months’ time (yes, it may take this much time for a single citation), then you know exactly where you left off. This information is invaluable.
Not every site will allow you to list your information exactly the same. For example, a zip code might have the long zip code like 60035-4850 instead of just 60035. That is okay. As long as you are filling out the citation 100% and as accurately and consistently as you can, then you will be okay and rank high on search engines. If you cannot change a citations, just skip it. Spend a maximum of 15-20 minutes on each citation as a rule of thumb and then move onto the next one.