Being visible is a vital key for your business to get an increase in customers. After all, people can purchase your goods or use your service only when they know you. There are several ways to make your business noticeable. However, one of the means you could efficiently use is Google map citations. These citations, which essentially are mentions of your business' NAP (Name, Address, Phone number), boost SEO. Therefore, they help to increase your business' visibility on Google's result pages and specifically, Google Maps. Since the use of Google map citations is an SEO endeavor, it is important to know how it works. This article thus examines what Google map citations are and how they work. It takes a look at how to use them, as well as their advantages and disadvantages.
What are Google Map Citations?
Google maps citations are references or links to your business. They contain information about your business. Such information could be the address of your business, the postcode, business name, website, etc. The degree of information available is usually dependent on how much information you put into the system. Google map citations can show up in directories or websites. They are a great way to improve visibility for your business and to secure a top spot in Google searches. As usual with Google, a premium is placed on quality. Thus, your Google map citation can be anywhere on the internet but that does not guarantee that it will be in the top search spots. Citations in the right directory or website can be a deciding factor of whether you gain a lot from the Google map citations or not.
How to use Google Map Citations
When a potential customer searches for a specific product or service, Google will find mentions of your business in related directories or websites. The more frequently your citation comes up, the more Google trusts that the information you have provided is correct. This has a direct correlation to how often your business is displayed in the search results. For example, if you run a hair salon and provide your Google map citations, then you will appear in related directories. If Google sees your hair salon business listed in several highly rated hair salon directories, then it tells Google that the information you gave is authentic. This will result in you showing up more in subsequent search results.
If you have a Google My Business page, then it is advisable to set up your Google map citations. This is especially true for business owners whose primary target is a local audience. Here are a few ways to ensure that you get the most out of your Google maps citation:
Have a good citation - Three key pieces of information must be in your citation. These are your business name, address, and phone number. All other information is arbitrary to these three because, without them, you do not have a citation. To make your citation more succinct, you can also add a short description of the services or products that you offer. This is so that customers know if you provide what they need.
Use the right sites - You should not downplay the importance of where you place your citation. Placing them haphazardly in various sites will have a negative effect rather than the expected positive one. Your Google maps citation in the right directories or websites will do wonders for your business. It will give it an added boost if you are also using Google My Business and your business will grow. Remember, however, that this is only if you place it on the right sites.
Ensure consistency and quality - To show up in quality searches, the information that you provide must be consistent. This means that it must match across all the directories and websites that your citation appears in. Your business Name, Address, and Phone number should tally everywhere they occur. The opposite of this will result in more harm than good for your business in SEO. While the number of links and places is important, what matters more is the quality. More emphasis goes to complete information rather than multiple appearances. This is because it helps customers to find you online and expand your business.
Advantages of using Google Map Citations
Here are some features of Google map citations that make it advantageous:
Ratings and ranking - A successful local citation can do wonders for your business. For instance, if you own a local restaurant, then to gain a wider range of customers in your vicinity, a Google maps citation will be amazing. The Google maps citation will provide customer trust and support. And this, in return, will secure lasting patronage. In the long run, you get a loyal customer base which grows at a steady pace.
Visibility - A Google maps citation puts your business on the map. When a potential customer searches for services or products that you offer, your business will show up. This is particularly helpful for businesses that are just starting up and need a boost. It can also help businesses that want to expand their customer base exponentially. The visibility that Google maps citation grants a business is amazing. After all, people could start visiting your business to try your products and from there, your business grows. This way, you can grow your business organically and without too much of a hassle. And it all begins with finding a place for your business on Google Maps.
Cost-effectiveness - Google map citation is a great way to showcase your business when compared to other paid methods. It is cheaper than having to pay for Pay Per Click ads. A lot of directories allow businesses to submit their information for free. Also, if you have a Google My Business account, then you get a free business listing. And this will always appear in Google search results. This gives your business an adrenaline boost and allows customers to visualize what your business is like. With your information available online in an easy to reach way, potential customers are just a call away. Such sites, like the local chamber of commerce (in your location), also allow you to list your business for free in their directories.
SEO optimization - One of the major advantages of a Google maps Citation is that it allows for great Search Engine Optimization. SEO is one way to make sure that your business comes up when a person searches any of the keywords relevant to your business. What this means is that if a person searches for "auto repair shops" and you happen to have the keyword "auto" optimized, then you will show up in the search. Human behavior is geared toward convenience. And so, virtually no one goes beyond the first page of search results. Having your business Search Engine Optimized is a sure way to ensure that your business listing always lands on that first page.
Reviews - Many local directories allow for reviews from customers that have patronized the businesses. Reviews are a great way to show the next customer that your goods or services are worth it and top of the line. They are from fellow customers that have used the services or purchased the products. So, potential customers are more likely to take their word for it. While the fact remains that reviews can be a double-edged sword that may hurt your business, it depends on how you respond to it. If a customer complains about a certain issue in his/her review and you respond pleasantly and professionally, then it may attract more customers. It shows that you are willing to accept constructive criticism and you put the needs of the customer first.
Without citations, however, customers may be wary of your business. In a world where virtually everything is online, why not your business? An online absence raises questions that may make customers uncomfortable. They may then decide to go with more verified businesses.
Disadvantages of using Google Map Citations
Despite its positive features, there are a few downsides to Google map citations. Below are a few of them:
The process of trying to get a citation of your business or popularizing it can be a very time-consuming task. It can prove to be a tedious process and more often than not will fail without a general marketing strategy. To get a quality citation, you need to be able to get the attention of people. Only then will it bring the right attention to your business. The people whose interest you want could be journalists, bloggers, or influencers of some kind. Unless you are ready to commit to growing your business and a Google maps citation is on your path to doing that, citations may prove to be not worth the stress.
No doubts, having a Google map citation is a great way to gain exposure for your business. However, it is no longer a necessary criterion in this day. There is a wide range of existing services that will gain no benefit from having a Google maps citation. A food truck that moves around frequently, for example, will have no advantage when it comes to having a Google map citation. This also applies to businesses that do not have physical addresses because they do not require physical locations. Whereas, a physical address is a requirement for a Google maps citation. Yet, the nature of business has evolved beyond the point of needing a physical location in order to conduct business.
If you provide certain goods and services in a certain geographic location, then using Google maps citation will be a brilliant idea. However, if you deliver products in several locations then a Google maps citation may work against you. This is because your business shows up according to how relevant it is in the search. If a potential customer is searching for particular goods and services in a location that may be out of your reach, then you will not show up. The Google maps citation will only bring you up if the potential customer is relatively close to your location. A problem like this may prove to be quite the trouble to businesses that deliver goods outside of where their Google maps citation may show.
Citations and local SEO go hand-in-hand. Social platforms, apps, websites, or directories - your citations can be anywhere. And every mention of your business' NAP has an overall impact on your search engine rankings. In effect, a good number of people can locate your business. While you head on to use Google map citations, focus on their number, accuracy, and the quality of the platforms you choose to make them appear in. With their efficient use, your business gets a better reputation, more customers, and increased revenue. Hence, optimize your use of Google map citations and then, you can boost your business growth in the long run.