By Madeline Schoeck

In many ways, advertising online isn’t very much different from advertising in the real world; it’s only the medium that has changed. We used to rent out billboards, but now we purchase PPC ads. Where we might have have purchased a radio or TV spot, we now make our own Youtube videos. And while we might have listened for positive comments about our business on the street and put a measure of faith in word of mouth, we now keep an eye out for citations. Citations are references to your business, which include your company’s name, address, phone number and other important information. Sometimes, citations will even include links back to your website, which can improve your site’s search ranking. However, like word of mouth, the logic behind citations says that any mention of your business can help your business. In the online world, this means that it is likely to improve your local search engine results.

Citations are found in directories. But how do you get your website in a directory? How do you build citations? By following the tips below, you can learn to create these helpful mentions while also keeping an eye on your competition and increasing your search ranking.

Step One: Check Your Information

To start building citations, you first check to make sure that the basic information about your business already listed online is correct. These facts that comprise a citation, such as your company’s name, address and phone number, are commonly known as your NAP format. Semify’s NAP format, for example, might look something like this:

Semify, LLC 46 Sager Drive Rochester, NY 14607 (866)574-5730

Make sure your company’s NAP format is correct and consistent on your website, your social media accounts, and in local directories. If possible, add links to your website to these existing citations. However, the important thing is to ensure your information is correct in order to create a consistent basis for your citations.

Step Two: Prepare Your Data

There are two ways to enter the data that will be used to build your citation: manually or automatically. The manual method typically involves compiling a variety of information, including the name of the business owner, official contact information, the company’s name, and other related data, which is then entered into submission applications of individual directories. Obviously, this can be extremely time-consuming. As a result, many companies prefer to pay services like Yext, to submit their information to multiple directories. When manually entering data or using a site, it is often recommended to ensure that citations do not already exist in directories, or that the information in these directories is correct. Likewise, those who use paid services can also benefit from checking local directories at times to prevent erroneous or duplicate information from affecting their website.

Step Three: Check Out the Competition

Find your major competitors and Google their NAP information. This should generate a list of their directories. You can then ensure that your website has citations on this site, putting you in the running when users search for businesses like yours.

Step Four: Track Your Progress

Experts often recommend keeping track of your citations in an online spreadsheet or other document, especially if you are doing most of your citation building manually. This helps you ensure that your citation building is working effectively and accurately. It also helps you locate additional directories to continue your progress.

Citation building isn’t the most difficult SEO tactic, but it can be time-consuming and monotonous. For this reason, it might not be a bad idea to consider investing in a citation building service or keyword research to simplify the process. And for any questions about citation building and other SEO tasks, remember: Semify can help. Semify now uses Yext Powerlistings in our local SEO plans!