As part of our focus on delivering business driven online solutions that dramatically boost your search engine rankings and help you improve leads, sales and competitive advantage, we provide you with an initial Local Fuel Citation Report. This article highlights what you can expect and, even more importantly, how you can use it to your profitable advantage.

What are Citations?

Before looking at the Citation Report itself, it’s helpful to take a step back and ask a broader question: what are business citations in the context of online marketing? Simply put, business citations are any and all references to your business’s “NAPW” on the web:

  • N: Name
  • A: Address
  • P: Phone
  • W: Website

Your business citations can be structured or unstructured. Furthermore, they may contain only some of the elements noted above (e.g. just your name and website).

Where Do Citations Come From?

Some people are surprised to discover that they have business citations all over the web — including in places they’ve never heard of before. How did this happen?! There are a few factors that typically contribute to this, including:

  • Work done by a previous SEO company or agent
  • Automatic robots (called “bots”) that scrape the web and automatically pluck NAP+W data from your online profiles, or from business directories

Do Citations Really Matter?

There are two key reasons why business citations really matter; an obvious reason, and an unobvious one. As you’ll see, the latter is far more important for your overall business success than the former!

As for the obvious reason, having business citations on the web helps prospective customers find you. For example, if a prospect is searching through a business directory for a local home improvement contractor and that is your specialization, then obviously you want to be found here among your competitors.

However, the less obvious – and more important! – reason why business citations matter, is because search engines like Google view them as signals that validate your business as legitimate. Search engines also use business citations to better understand the nature of your business (e.g. category associations), and the areas that you serve (e.g. city, neighborhood). Furthermore, mobile applications and in-vehicle GPS systems use citations that are fed by major US Data Aggregators.

How to Profit from your Citation Report

Now that you have a solid understanding of what business citations are and why they matter, we can focus on the 4 ways you can profit from your initial Search Rankings Citation Report:

  1. FIX: Your Citations Report includes a Citation Audit, which lists all incorrect NAP+W listings associated with your business. Armed with this information, you can efficiently log into to each of these directories, and fix your data to ensure that it matches what you input on your “Local Fuel” order form (if you need help finding this information, simply click the “Client Form” tab of your Citations Report). Note: If you purchased our “Elevate Package”, our team of experts will perform a full citation clean-up on your behalf and fix any errors. 
  1. ALIGN:  Sometimes, business citations may not have errors, but they may not all have the same, complete information. For example, some entries may have only your website and phone number, while others may only have your website and email address, and so on. Your Citations Report gives you a clear look at different variations of your NAP+W across the web, and shows you exactly where you need to make changes so that they’re aligned and consistent.
  1. IMPROVE: Your Citation Report lets you see exactly where your business citations have been published, so that you can avoid adding duplicate listings. Furthermore, if your NAP+W changes, you’ll have a record of all of the websites and the corresponding account login information to update your business profiles.  Being vigilant about this will insulate you from some of the highest impact negative ranking factors.

Plus, if you launch new products, or have new offers or coupons, you can login to these directories and add them to your business profile.  As a bonus, these kinds of offers and coupons are often featured by business directories, which can further improve your local search visibility!

  1. OPTIMIZE: Your Citation Report gives you the opportunity to efficiently improve the page quality of your business directory profiles by adding new photos, video, testimonials or any new certifications, awards or products.  By constantly improving the page quality of your directory listings, you’ll add value to these assets.

The Bottom Line

Ultimately, it all comes down to this: having accurate, complete, consistent and optimally placed business citations is a significant factor in your online rankings, and in terms of strategy, is the first place to focus on to:

  • REMEDIATE negative ranking factors, which are those that are working against your business.
  • TAKE ADVANTAGE of positive ranking factors, which are those that are working for your business.

And best of all, unlike some other SEO investments, Fixing, Aligning, Improving and Optimizing your business citations is a very low-cost, high-impact strategy that can lead to more customers, more sales, more revenues – and more long-term success!