Pull over, partner! It’s time we talked about citations!
No, you haven’t fallen into a weird fever dream where Dieselmatic is writing traffic citations (and unfortunately, this blog is also not about the 1948 Triple Crown winner, Citation). But today we are going to focus on the important but often overlooked topic of online citations—namely what they are, why you need them, and what goes into maintaining them.
So set your cruise control and make sure you’re going the speed limit, because we’ve run out of citation jokes to crack already.
WHAT ARE ONLINE CITATIONS?
An online citation is a mention of your shop somewhere on the internet. Your shop’s Facebook page is an example, but search engines like Google and Bing also count mentions on various other platforms, apps (like Foursquare), and business directories.
Ideally, each citation includes your shop’s name, address, and phone number. In web vernacular, we call that your NAP—like you needed another reason to love naps!—but they can also include an email and website address. Basically, it’s everything a person might need to get in touch with you.
WHY DO YOU NEED ONLINE CITATIONS, ANYWAY?
Before diving into an explanation, let’s take a moment to understand how your overall SEO campaign works, as online citations are an aspect of that campaign.
Your search engine optimization (SEO) aims to build the overall authority of your shop’s website—making it stand out from its competitors. An important part of such a campaign is having other websites point to your website. This can be in the form of backlinks or people sharing your shop’s blog posts or specials; it can also be the aforementioned online citations.
Search engines notice when people are talking about your site and linking to you. And the more people are talking about you, the more authoritative your shop seems—and the more search engines want to show you off. “Oh, this guy Aragorn’s shop is mentioned dozens of times,” they will say to themselves (this is best envisioned delivered in a cheerful robotic voice). “He’s a repair big shot in Middle-Earth, Idaho. We should definitely show him to people searching for repairs in Middle-Earth.”
Not into fantasy references? Here, Dieselmatic SEO Specialist John Wood breaks it down in more, erm, real-world terms: “[Online citations help] Search engines see you as an important presence in your local area.”
You want potential customers to find your shops. The more authoritative and important you seem, the more search engines will point at you, and the more traffic (pun not intended) you’ll receive.
CAN I SET UP ONLINE CITATIONS MYSELF?
Yes, you can, but it generally takes some time.
You’ll need to choose what directories you want to be listed in. Then you’ve got to go in and set up an account, get verified, add key information, and so on. “There’s a lot of back and forth,” John says. “Sometimes they’ll want to call you to verify the information.”
And there’s an added wrinkle to all this: if your shop has been around for any length of time, you’ve probably already got some citations floating around. Frankly, you might have a lot. And those might need cleaning up—an address might be wrong, business hours changed, a phone number might be off, and so on. You want your online citations to be clean and correct so search engines can match them to your existing business profiles…but you also want your various business listings to be correct so your customers can find you.
Oooh, data entry. FUN!!
(Yes, the double exclamation marks were sarcasm.)
Oh, and there are over 100 reputable directories out there, along with numerous aggregators…so…yeah, we hope you like data entry.
John says it usually takes the Dieselmatic team about a month to clean up a shop’s existing online citations, and that’s with dedicated specialists on the job.
WHAT IF DIESELMATIC COULD HANDLE THEM FOR YOU?
If the wonders of data entry don’t sound like your jam, but you’d like the extra SEO juice online citations can get you…wait for it…look no further than Dieselmatic.
If you choose our Grow or Turbo plans, we’ll handle all the updating and maintaining of your online citations—and we’ll fold those citations into a broader SEO strategy that will skyrocket your shop’s growth. Oh, and we can handle the rest of your marketing, too.
Give us a ring—we can’t wait to impress you!