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What Are Local Seo Citations & Why Do They Matter?

Written by Erik J. Olson on . Posted in .
Home > Blog > What Are Local Seo Citations & Why Do They Matter?

Local SEO is critical to reaching the most targeted potential clients, your local market. Keeping your business name, address, and phone number (NAP) consistent across platforms and focusing on user experience are two components that are easy to overlook, but vital to your success in these areas. Array Digital is a team with local SEO experts who understands the unique needs of law firms and can help you maximize your online marketing efforts. Reach out today through our contact page or by calling (757)-333-3021 to learn more about our local SEO services.

What Is Local Seo, and Why Is It Important?

Local SEO refers to SEO that targets the search engines with local search terms. It involves making sure your content is what shows when people in your local area are searching for legal services. There are many factors that go into local SEO, but building a successful local SEO campaign is vital to your online marketing success.

When your local SEO is working, you draw local traffic to your page. You can also use local search terms to lessen the competition for your target traffic. This process is important because it helps you get better-targeted traffic from the search engines.

Targeting people in your local area ensures that the people who find your website through organic search are the ones who need your legal services. They are looking for a local business and local law firm. You are the one they find because your SEO targets geographic-specific search terms.

Two factors impact your local SEO. These are the local citations that include your business name, address, and phone number (NAP), and the user experience. When both of these are on par across the different places your business has listings online, then you will have a good ranking for local search terms. If not, then you will see your competitor law firms consistently out-ranking you. If you are serious about local SEO, you will want to focus on local citations with an accurate NAP and your overall user experience.

What Are Local Citations?

Local citations are an important part of your local SEO. These are any online business listing that includes the business name, business address, and phone number. When a website mentions your business and adds contact information, it counts as a local citation.

Local citations show up on your website itself, but they also show up in other places, such as:

Business Directories

Business directories list local businesses and sort them into different business categories. These make it easy for people to find the businesses they want to hire. Yellowpages is an example of a business directory, but you will find many others available, including local directories for your geographic area that only allow local listings. Also, look for industry-specific directories for law firms to add more listings to your local SEO strategy.

Some popular business directories to consider include:

  • Facebook Pages
  • Instagram for Business
  • LinkedIn Company Directory
  • Yelp
  • Best of the Web
  • AboutUs
  • Bing Places
  • Yahoo! Local Listings
  • Foursquare for Business
  • HotFrog
  • Superpages
  • MerchantCircle
  • Better Business Bureau
  • Nextdoor
  • eLocal
  • DexKnows
  • Alignable

These are just a handful of the hundreds of directories out there, but they are definitely the ones worth checking out.

Social Media Platforms

Social media platforms allow businesses to list their name, address, and phone number when setting up their business accounts, and this is an excellent business citation source. Set up profiles on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and other social media platforms that seem applicable to your business.

These social media platforms often have business directories, but you should claim a business page as well. Once you claim a page for your business, ensure that your NAP are accurate. Do not forget to add a link to your home page or landing page as you set up these pages on social media, because this is an excellent backlinking opportunity.

Other Apps

There are other apps that have websites that provide an opportunity to list your local citation. Foursquare, for example, is an app that lets people check in when they go to a particular location, and you can set up your NAP information on the app to ensure your information is accurate.

Remember, many of these apps have websites connected to them. Having a listing on the app will help your local SEO, and it will help your user experience by making your law firm easier to find when customers need to hire a lawyer.

Review Sites

Sites like Yelp and Tripadvisor provide a review platform that people can use to review local businesses. You can set up your profile on these sites and use your NAP to grow your online presence. You can also interact with people who leave reviews to show other potential customers that your firm is an active local business.

Many review websites overlap as business directories or other apps, but some that you will want to consider for your law firm include:

  • Google Customer Reviews
  • Angie’s List
  • ConsumerReports
  • Yelp
  • Glassdoor
  • Foursquare
  • Consumer Affairs
  • Manta
  • Citysearch

Some review sites that are specific to law firms include:

  • Avvo
  • Martindale-Hubbell
  • NOLO

Once you have a listing on these review sites, encourage your happy customers to add reviews to them. Then, engage with those reviews. This will not have an impact on your local SEO, but it will impact your user experience because potential clients who see your listing on the review site will see that you are an active, engaged business owner.

Keep in mind that both positive and negative reviews help. Negative reviews show that you are a real business, and they also give you a chance to try to improve your engagement with a disgruntled customer. Other potential clients want to see that you are a real business, not a perfect business, and negative reviews give you that opportunity.

Google My Business Page

Your Google My Business page is one of the most important factors to get your name and address out there effectively. It also gets the best reward from Google, and your GMB page gives you the opportunity to collect reviews directly on Google. This listing is one of the most important components of your local SEO efforts.

Claiming your Google My Business page is not difficult. Go to the Google My Business page and set up your profile. Then, verify your business, usually using a postcard mailed to your business address. Keep the listing as thorough as possible, and upload images if you can, so that people will trust what they see when they visit your GMB listing.

Google Maps and Apple Maps Listing

In addition to your GMB page, make sure your listing and business description show up properly on both Google Maps and Apple Maps. When people are searching for nearby businesses to work with, yours needs to show.

To add your business to Google Maps, sign in to the Google Maps website using your Gmail account. Then, enter your business address in the search bar. On the left in the Business Profile, click “Add Your Business.” Set up your business profile using the steps on the screen.

To get listed on Apple Maps, visit the Apple Maps page and sign in using your Apple ID. Then, select Add a New Business Page, noting that you are the business owner. Enter the details about your business and verify your business phone number. Confirm the business location and hours of operation. Add any links to your law firm’s website and social media accounts, and click “OK” once all of the information is accurate.

You will need both a Google and an Apple ID account to claim these listings, but you want to go through this process. Do not neglect these listings, as doing so could hurt your local SEO efforts.

Chamber of Commerce Website

If your community has a chamber of commerce, make sure that you have a listing on it. This mention of your business has powerful local SEO capabilities, and it will also help you target local traffic when people look for your type of law firm online. Your local chamber of commerce website is a great link building opportunity, so claim your listing if you have this option.

Structured Citations Vs Unstructured Citations

As you look for citation opportunities, understand that there are two different types. Structured citations are the ones on sites like Google and Yelp that you can control. Unstructured citations are mentions of your business that other websites put up. If your law firm gets listed on a blog post about top family law attorneys in your city, that is an unstructured citation.

Unstructured citations can help your local SEO, but they may not have your complete contact information. Both unstructured and structured citations give you backlink opportunities, but structured citations have more of an impact on your local SEO than unstructured ones.

How Does Building Citations Help Local Search Rankings?

So why does local citation building matter? People who are in need of a service are going to search online, and legal services are no exception. in fact, as many as 54% of Americans have chosen local search in place of their phone book when looking for a service provider. In the retail world, 50% of customers who perform a local search on their phones will visit a store within 24 hours. This means your local citations are vital to getting traffic.

Local Citations Impact Local Seo Directly

Having a large number of citations shows the search engines that you are a valid, legitimate business in your local community. Search engines are looking for trustworthy businesses to list first because this gives the searcher the best user experience. To do this, they look at three things: quantity, accuracy, and quality.

Quantity of Local Business Rankings

The more citations you have, the better your local search ranking will be. Aim to get as many business listings as you can, and consider partnering with a marketing professional to help you grow your business listings and reach more potential customers

Accuracy of Local Business Citations

However, quantity is just one part of the picture. You also need to ensure that these citations are accurate. Accuracy of citations is a vital component of your search engine ranking. When the business data matches across your citations make your data look valid. This increases the likelihood that Bing or Google search results will show your information, and it also helps you rank well on Google Maps.

The key is that these local SEO citations need to match everywhere they show up. All of the citation sites need the same NAP information. Business owners need to take the time to ensure that the information they have matches on every business profile they have.

One of the best ways to do this is to use a data aggregator tool. These tools submit the information to the directories for you, and this ensures they always match. It is also less time-consuming than trying to find and edit them all on your own. There are hundreds of citation opportunities out there, so this process can take quite a bit of time.

Quality of Local Citations

Finally, make sure the quality of the local citations is up to par. Search engines want to see your business listed on trusted, high-quality sites. If it is listed on spammy websites, your ranking may suffer. Again, this is where a marketing company can help, because your marketing professional will know what business listings are the most effective and which ones fall flat.

Local Citations Also Support Organic Client Discovery

In addition to helping with your local SEO, having a solid number of local citations will help customers find you when they search on a directory for a law firm.

For example, some clients will go to Avvo or NOLO instead of Google when seeking information about a lawyer. If you have a listing, they will be able to find you. If you do not have a listing, they are likely to find your competition instead.

Local Seo Citations and User Experience Work Together to Build Local Seo

Having accurate business information across all of your local citations helps your local SEO, and it also helps your user experience. People feel they can trust your business when your contact information matches all of your local citations. This also ensures they can contact you when they need the help of a local legal professional.

When you have a solid local SEO plan that is backed by good citation management, people can easily contact you, no matter where they find your business information. This marketing strategy works because it reaches your local clients no matter where they perform their searches for a law firm. Improving your visibility will expand your organic reach, so make sure you focus on both local SEO citations and user experience to create a local SEO strategy that works.

Working With a Marketing Agency Helps Target This Ranking Factor

Taking a passive approach to managing your local listings to improve your local SEO is not going to be effective. Yet you are busy serving your clients, and you may not have the time or resources to take care of this on your own. Your staff needs to serve your clients, so local business directories are the last thing on your mind.

Working with a marketing agency that understands local SEO will help you maximize your listings and ensure every one of them has the correct NAP information. This will support your local SEO strategy, maximize each of your local listings, and build a consistent online presence. These strategies all work together to ensure your local SEO is working. It also ensures that you are not spending your valuable time on citation management. Instead, outsource this to someone who knows how to do it right.

Array Digital Can Assist With Your Local Seo Optimization Efforts

If you are looking for a marketing partner that understands local SEO and how to properly optimize your business listings, Array Digital can help. We have extensive experience working specifically with law firms, and our team can provide industry-specific advice for your use.

Our team has the knowledge to help you maximize your online listings, and we also ensure your business description is consistent across the citation opportunities. We will weave local citations into your overall SEO plan to find as many potential clients as organically as possible.

Our strategies work because we know the specific directories and citation sites that work best for local SEO. We also know law-firm-specific sites that will help get your information in front of the right people. Our goal is to help you get as many potential clients as possible through organic search marketing. Our local SEO strategy will work with your other online marketing strategies to give you a greater, more effective reach.

With help from Array Digital, you can reach potential customers without the time-consuming work on your part that managing local SEO citations can mean. Let our experts do what we do best, so you can focus on what you do best and make your law firm a success.

Contact Array Digital to Build Your Local Seo Citations Today

Array Digital is here to help you build an effective local online marketing strategy that makes your business the one people in your area think of when they need legal help. Local SEO citations are a part of that. Request a free consultation to discuss your local SEO citations today by calling 757.333.3021 or completing the online contact form to speak with an experienced digital marketing expert today at Array Digital.

Written By Erik J. Olson
Founder & CEO
Erik J. Olson is the Founder & CEO of Array Digital—a marketing agency that enables its clients to achieve their dreams, fulfill their missions, and impact more lives with their services.

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