There’s dozens of ranking factors Google use to ascertain the sequence of results in the local and map results. If you’re not sure what they are you should check out this really comprehensive list.
Unsurprisingly, many of the ranking factors are similar to those you see in main search rankings, or out of your control like physical proximity to the centroid.
Of those you can control, citations or mentions is the one you can inflence most easily.
So if you want to rank higher in the local listings, how can you go about getting those valuable citations?
Look At Competitor’s Citations
Those who saw me speak at a4u expo in London will know that I’m a big believer in competitor research in traditional link building, and I think it’s equally vital in citation building.
SEOMoz have done an excellent guide on how to find your competitors mentions which I thoroughly recommend reading.
As a link building tactic, directory submission is about as fashionable as the contents of my wardrobe (i.e. not very)
When your goal is citations rather thank links, suddenly directories are a much more appealing prospect.
What we’re talking about here isn’t hitting sites like pr-9-free-seo-directories.biz. There are hundreds of trusted directories out there which don’t include links. You may have discounted them in a normal link building campaign. When your aim is the mention and not the link, they are much more suitable.
Press releases have a part to play in any integrated marketing and PR campaign, but again your approach will change when your chasing the citation not the link. Because every press release will typically include your business name and address it’s great reference to your business.
It’ll also save you a fortune upgrading press release for debatable quality links and social sharing buttons.
I’ve seen some really clever marketing done through job posting (perhaps a topic for another post), but uploading your vacancies far and wide can be a great source of the references that Google Local love.
It’ll have your business name, address and standard phone number.
A textbook Citation.
But Don’t Forget Consistency
I’m sad I missed Tom Critchlow’s talk about Google Local at ThinkVisibility, as he covered a really vital subject – ensuring consistency in your local listing content.
He illustrated the importance of keeping local details the same.
- Don’t give slightly different variations of your company name to different listing websites. Choose one version and stick to it.
- Different people will have different phone number but try to keep your number provided to external websites consistent. This may tracking more difficult but tracking is no use if you’re getting no enquiries.
- Let everyone know the definitive version of your address. You may think this is the easiest to keep the same across the net but it’s more difficult than you think. Does everyone include the county? Do they add a ‘near’ if your not in the town but nearby, and do you include the building name?