If you own or manage an ecommerce store, you’ll probably have heard of – and possibly dabbled with – search engine optimisation (also known as SEO). The allure of high search engine rankings is hard to resist, especially when you consider that searchers click on a first page result over 90% of the time. Jump into a top 3 position for a popular term and you could see your business launch into the stratosphere.
Sounds good, right? Before you jump straight into the world of search, hold on one second. Unfortunately, SEO is a complex and unruly beast – search engines might ignore your efforts, or even worse, dispense punishments if you break the rules. So, where’s the best place to start? One of the SEO strategies exalted by SEO whizzes is local citations. But what are they exactly? And does your ecommerce site really need them?
What is a Citation?
When many people think of SEO, they are mostly concerned with link building, or “link earning” as it’s sometimes referred to. Yes, the number and – more importantly – the quality, diversity and distribution of inbound links does have a big impact on your rankings. According to searchenginejournal.com, it’s one of the top 4 rankings factors in 2017, yes, but links aren’t the be all and end all.
A citation is the mention of your business name on an external website, and may include additional information such as your address, phone number or a description. Even if there isn’t a link, it’s still helpful. This could, for example, be your listing on Google Business or on Yell’s business directory. Effectively, a citation confirms to search engines that you are who you say you are.
According to the search engine experts at Moz, citations are an important ranking factor for the major search engines, and more citations will help a website rank higher than a competitor.
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Two factors to consider with citations…
• Choosing Wisely
Not all citations are created equally. Focus on well-established, credible websites. If you feature your business on a chamber of commerce website or a city / county business index, then you’ll probably see better results.
Over time, your address and phone number might change. You might even choose a new business name. As a result, your business could be incorrectly cited on hundreds – if not thousands – of external websites. You might even end up with duplications too. Try to ensure, at the very least, that your key citations are correct. Citations help verify that your business exists and is legitimate, so it’s important that they are as reliable and consistent as possible to have the best possible impact.