Citations & Brand Verification on the Web

Posted by ImageWorks Creative Team July 26, 2012

Syndicating your brand and message around the web is a large chunk of Internet marketing and search engine optimization (SEO). The need to get included in a large number of citation sites has become more and more important in the recent years for a number of different reasons - all of which can be very beneficial to your website both for locally based terms and for organic search reasons (some citation sites offer legititmate link juice value).

Of course there is an endless amount of ways that you can syndicate your brand across the web, and creativity and smart strategies and tactics multiplies those opportunities by 10 folds (going past the traditional ways of brand syndication like RSS feeds for example). Since citations have become so important, we are going to talk about them for a little bit because they are absolutely essential to any local Internet branding campaigns.

First of All, What is a Citation Site?

A citation site is a site that somewhat resembles something of a directory web site but not quite. One of the major differences is that you usually can just list any old type of website in a directory - the web property actually has to represent some type of business to be listed in a citation site.

You are able to fill out these citation sites with all sorts of information about your company like locations, employees, phone numbers, business operation hours, business categories, you can populate them with photos and logo's and portfolio's and much much more. One of the trademarks of a citation site is the ability to leave reviews (although this isn't always an available feature). We've all heard of "Yelpers" before and the effect that they can have on a business. Too many bad reviews on a few citation sites and you can really start to lose potential leads. This is why managing these citation sites is just as important as getting listed in them.

Why Are Citation Sites So Important for Local Search?

Ok, so you've heard of Yelp, you've heard of Manta, and you may have even heard of CitySearch. But those are only three citation sites; There are literally hundreds of these types of sites all over the Internet, and it is extremely important to get listed in as many of them as you possibly can.

According to Search Engine Land (the leading SEO reporting website on the web), getting listed in as many citation sites as possible is the fourth most important thing when it comes to ranking higher in Google's local search algorithm (Google Maps) behind obvious things like actually claiming your Google maps listing and picking the correct categories with your business.

Google scrapes these sites and uses the information they collect with them as signals of brand verification, building more "trust" on the web for your business and for your business's location. Every time your site has syndicated and consistent information between different citation sites, Google is then able to say: "Ok, this is a trusted site, and we have verified the business's information in more than one place, thus it deserves better rankings in our local search algorithm."

But wait, there are more reasons why citation sites are important...

Strengthening your position in the local search engines (although very important) is not the only reason you want to get listed in as many citation sites as possible. Here a few more reasons getting listed in citations sites is an absolute essential local Internet marketing tactic.

  • Many Internet users use these sites to search for you business to find out more information about your company to determine whether or not they will want to go with your products or services
  • Many of these citation sites do VERY well in the organic search listings for certain city-service and city-product keyword terms already, which means that if your site is listed in them, there is a very good chance that they could drive a lot of traffic to your website or leads to your business.
  • Many of these citation sites also pass what is called "link juice" on to your site, which will help your site in the natural, or organic search listings

Overall, the more citations you get listed in, the more leads you will be able to generate via boosted organic, and local rankings in the search engine results pages (SERPs). The side benefits of increased exposure, brand awareness, and generated leads from third party sites is the cream of the cake. Call ImageWorks Creative today at 800-308-8573 and ask about our local visibility & marketing package.

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