Why gainig local citations is great for visibility

Get Found Locally: A Guide to Local SEO and Citations

What Are Local Citations?

In the context of local Search engine optimisation, citations refer to mentions of your business's name, address, and phone number (NAP) on other websites, directories, and online platforms.

These mentions, also known as "NAP citations," help search engines verify the accuracy and legitimacy of your business's information, improving your business's local search rankings.

Citations typically include your business's name, address, and phone number but can also include other information, such as your website URL, business hours, and customer reviews.

Citations can be found on various platforms, including online directories (such as Yelp or Yellow Pages), social media platforms (such as Facebook or Twitter), and industry-specific websites.

It's important to note that not all citations are created equal. A citation from a high-authority website or directory can carry more weight than a citation from a lower-quality website or directory.

Additionally, consistency or inaccuracies in your NAP information across different citations can harm your local search rankings, so it's important to ensure that your NAP information is consistent and accurate across all platforms.

Citations are essential to local SEO and can significantly improve your business's visibility in local search results.

By ensuring that your business's NAP information is consistent and accurate across all platforms and by seeking out high-quality citation opportunities, you can help improve your local search rankings and attract more customers to your business.

Small business owners

Why Local Search Engine Optimisation Matters

Let's say you're a local plumber, minding your own business, when suddenly, a customer's pipes burst, and they need your services. But wait, they need help finding you in local search results! Oh, the horror!

They start frantically searching for an "emergency plumber near me," but all they find are your competitors.

Optimising your website and online presence for local search is like having a secret weapon in your back pocket. It allows you to target highly qualified leads in your local area, so you can swoop in and save the day (and their pipes). These customers actively search for your services and are ready to convert into paying customers.

But here's the kicker: these customers aren't just any old leads. They're the cream of the crop, the top-shelf stuff.

They're located in your local area, which means they're more likely to become repeat customers and spread the word about your business to their friends and family. And let's be honest, who doesn't love a good word-of-mouth recommendation?

Examples Of Businesses That Benefit From Local SEO

A small, locally-owned restaurant is an example of a business that can significantly benefit from local SEO. When someone is searching for a place to eat, they are more likely to search for "restaurants near me" or "best restaurants in [city name]" than for a general term like "restaurants."

By optimising its website and Google Business Profile for these specific search terms, a local restaurant will increase its visibility in search results and attract more customers who are searching for food in their area. Local SEO can also help a restaurant appear in Google Maps results, making it easier for potential customers to find and visit the location.

For my next example: A local retail store in the UK can also benefit from local SEO. For instance, a boutique clothing store may want to target customers in their local area who are looking for unique, high-quality clothing.

Optimising their website and Google Business Profile for local search terms like "boutique clothing stores in [city/town name]," they can increase their visibility in local search results and attract more customers looking for clothing in their area.

They can also use local SEO to promote in-store events, such as sales and drive foot traffic to their location, which is especially effective for businesses that offer unique, niche products that may not be available at larger chain stores.

Tips For Building Your Business Citations

  1. Ensure NAP Consistency: NAP stands for Name, Address and Phone Number. The accuracy and consistency of this information across all online directories are crucial to ensure everything is clear for both customers and search engines.
  2. Claim Your Google Business Profile: Claiming and verifying your Google Business Profile (GBP) listing is essential to help your business appear in Google's Local Pack, Google Maps, and other local search results.
  3. Build Citations on Major Directories: There are several significant directories like Yell, Yelp, and Thomson Local in the UK, and having your business listed on them can improve your local visibility.
  4. Use Industry-Specific Directories: Besides significant directories, many industry-specific directories can be beneficial to list. For example, if you own a restaurant, listing on directories like OpenTable, TripAdvisor, or Zomato can help attract new customers.
  5. Leverage Social Media: Your social media profiles can be used as citations. So, ensure your NAP details are consistent across all your social media profiles.
  6. Join Local Chambers of Commerce: Joining your local chamber of commerce can help your business to appear in local directories and get involved in the local community.
  7. Get Listed on Local News Sites: Many local news websites offer business listings, and they often rank well in local search results.
  8. Use Citations to Build Backlinks: Building citations on other websites can also help you to build backlinks to your website, which is particularly important for improving your website's domain authority.
  9. Monitor and Update your Citations: It's essential to regularly monitor your citations to ensure they are accurate and up-to-date. Updating your citations is particularly important when your business relocates or changes phone numbers.
  10. Consider Geo-Targeting: If your company operates in multiple locations, consider creating separate citations for each site to improve your local search presence.
  11. Utilise Local Keywords: Incorporate local keywords into your business citations to help improve your visibility in local search results.
  12. Take Advantage of Google Posts: Regular updates on your Google Business Profile can help keep your business information fresh and relevant and increase engagement with potential customers.
  13. Optimise for Voice Search: As voice search becomes increasingly popular, optimising your business citations for voice search queries is essential.
  14. Get Customer Reviews: Encourage customers to leave reviews on your Google My Business listing or other directories. Positive reviews can help to improve your business's reputation and attract new customers.
  15. Track Your Citations: Tracking your citations using a citation tracking tool can help you to identify any errors, inconsistencies, or missing citations, allowing you to take action to improve your local search visibility.
James at the Yorbusiness show in Leeds offering free advice to an attendee

How To Create Localised Content For Your Business

If you're looking to attract more local customers and improve your search engine rankings, creating localised content for your UK business is a fantastic way to do it! 

Here's how to do it in a way that will really make an impact:

First things first, you need to define your local audience. Who in your area is most likely to be interested in your business? What are their needs and preferences? Understanding your audience will help you create content that resonates with them.

Next up, you'll want to do some keyword research. Find out what people in your area are searching for when they're looking for businesses like yours targeting the right keywords and boosting your search engine rankings.

Now it's time to get local! Use localised language and references in your content to show that you understand your local audience and their needs. Talk about local places, events, and landmarks, and use regional slang if appropriate.

Create location-specific pages on your website for each area you serve, using them to highlight local attractions, businesses, and events and showcase customer reviews and testimonials from people in that area.

To optimise your website for local search, use those localised keywords in your website copy, meta tags, and page titles. And remember to claim and optimise your Google Business Profile, too, so you appear in local search results and on Google Maps.

Now it's time to get creative! Create blog posts, videos, and social media posts specific to your local area. Talk about local events, share local news and updates, or provide local advice and tips to help you connect with your audience and show that you're an expert in your local community.

Building backlinks from local websites, like local news sites or community organisations, is another excellent way to improve your local search engine rankings. 

And last but not least, make sure you engage with your local community on social media, attend local events, and participate in local business groups, helping you build relationships with potential customers and boost your brand's visibility locally.

By following these tips, you can create effective localised content that resonates with your local audience, improves your search engine rankings, and helps you attract more customers to your UK business. Good luck!