What to know about Business Citations

A business citation is a mention of a local business on the Internet. The information listed varies from citation source to citation source, but commonly included items are:

  • company name
  • phone number
  • location address
  • website link
  • business hours
  • logo
  • photographs
  • a description of the business

There are literally thousands of places where there are business citations on the Internet. Some common types in the U.S. are data aggregators (e.g., Infogroup, Acxiom, Factual) that index millions of business located across United States. In turn, the data aggregators license or syndicate their data to most local search engines including google any Bing.

Other common types of business citation sources are local blogs, locally focus directory, and industry-focused directories for blog. For the latter, look for industry directories in your specific niche by searching “your industry” + directories.

You can also check to see where your top competitors are listed by “Googling” their names, and being sure you’ve claimed your listings there as well.

Here are 4 things to keep in mind when you’re claiming, editing, or adding your business listing:

  1. Be sure to keep your NAP consistent. What is NAP? Your business Name, Address and Phone number. Why is this important? Because Google may penalize you in their SERP algorithm if your NPA is not consistent across citations.
  2. Keep account logins. Most business directories will require you to set up a free account to verify and verify your relationship to the business. Be sure to keep the log your login for each of the business listing this is important did you need to go in and update your listing at a future time.
  3. Be sure to optimize your listing information. What this means: within the constraints that the specific business listing has, and be sure you take it vantage of what they are they allow you to live. For example in the description of you better be sure you use keywords that people would probably use to look for business. Use attractive pictures. Keep your information up-to-date and accurate. If it includes reviews, be sure to read them and respond to them professionally, both pop to pop positive and negative feedback.
  4. Be sure to add a link to your website if allowed.  This is a great opportunity to add a backlink to your site and help your site’s SEO.

While it is not difficult to claim your business citation, it can be consuming by the sheer number of them. Focus on the top ones for your area. The chart below shows the top citation sources for Los Angeles, provided by Moz.

Top Citation Sources in L.A.

And you can also hire someone to do this for you. Be sure they know what they’re doing, how to optimize the listing, and are reputable. A few years back, we ran a test with a low cost provider who promised hundreds of links. We found they had added links from some questionable sites (e,g. New Dehli escort service). Also be sure before you engage in any of the services, that should you cancel your subscription with them (many do have ongoing fees), that you will be able to get access to your listings after your service with them has been terminated.

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Is It Time to Redesign Your Website?

Is it time to redesign your website? You’ve thought about it more than once… perhaps more times than you’d like to admit. But other things just seemed more important to do — or you preferred to do -– like running your business, taking care of your customers, or cleaning your sock drawer.

That’s all good, but having a professional website that helps your business is important, too.  Maybe now is the time to redesign your website.

So your socks have been mated, and you’re ready to tackle redesigning your website. How do you make sure your efforts pay off?  What things should you consider when you redesign your website?

THE WHYS?
First have a clear understanding of why you’re redesigning your website. What do you want to accomplish? Here are some common reasons for a website makeover:

  • update the look – nothing says stagnant more than an outdated looking site
  • increase leads and sales conversions – the traffic is good to your site and you offer a compelling service or product, but maybe your site can do a better job of getting people to take the next step of contacting you
  • improve your search engine ranking positioning (SERP) – it’s hard for web surfers to find your website or your business if your site doesn’t show up until page 7 in keyword search results for your industry
  • need additional functionality – maybe you want to add the ability to capture leads, have visitors book an appointment, have a members only area, offer after-hours chat, or for visitors to more easily share your blog posts
  • make it more user-friendly – have you been told certain information insn’t on your site (even though you know it’s there)?
  • make your site mobile-friendly – in addition to Google SEO ramifications, having a website easy to view on a phone is more important than ever since viewing sites on mobile has surpassed on the desktop;
    Read my own story of redesigning my website to go mobile (after cleaning out my sock drawer, of course).

Having your goals defined will help ensure your website redesign is successful.

DON’T LET THE DOG EAT YOUR HOMEWORK
If you’re like me, you don’t like homework. But it is important to understand what’s going on now so you can make the right choices for your new site.

  • dog-eat-homework.jpgCheck your current website traffic – whether you use Google Analytics, your hosting provider’s statistics, or another tool, review your current site stats:
    • What pages are visited the most?
    • Which are the most frequent entry pages (first page visited when someone enters your site)?
    • Which pages are the most frequent exit pages (last page visited before leaving the site)?
    • What keywords are used to find your site?
    • Which pages have the longest visit times?
    • Where are visitors coming from?
  • What is your current search engine results position for your target keywords?
  • What sites are coming up first on page 1 for those keywords – check them and try to glean what they’re doing right.

SITE HIERARCHY
I like to start with my site page hierarchy – this is a list of all the pages your site should have, and arrange them within a logical structure. Be sure you organize it from your site visitor’s perspective, not yours. The hierarchy will help you determine your site navigation.

Have an idea of what kind of information you would have on each page – don’t worry too much if one page becomes two pages or vice versa — this can easily be adjusted.  The most important thing at this step is to make sure you capture the information and content most important to your website visitors.

If your site will have any special functionality, determine where in your site those should be made available.

CONTENT

  • Initially, focus your writing efforts so the content is of value and interesting to your audience.
  • Write from the perspective of the benefit to the visitor, not the features you are selling; in language they understand
  • Review existing website content
    • Are keywords used and well-placed? Are they used in headings and present as early as possible on the page?
    • Is there missing content?  Too much of some content?
    • FAQs and SAQs – What questions are you frequently asked day-in, day-out? What question aren’t you asked, but you think your customers and prospects should be asking? Provide the answers to these on your site so people (and search engines) stay on your site and find valuable information.
  • Visuals – web pages with images or videos are viewed more frequently than what those without; and visual information is processed 60,000 times faster than text; use visuals that convey your message quickly and are engaging
  • Once you have well-written webpage, go back and break up your texts with headers and bullets

 

DESIGN

Pay special attention to your Home Page. It is often the first impression a new visitor has of your business. You only have seconds to engage a visitor to learn more.  Be sure your site:

  • is mobile friendly
  • conveys the feelings you’re trying to engender about your business or organization, e.g., professional, humorous, kid-friendly, or serious.
  • prioritizes information – the most important messages should be emphasized visually and fall “above the fold”, that is appear in the monitor screen when the site is first opened. Be sure your Call-to-Action (CTA) and contact information are prominent.

PROTECT YOUR SEO “JUICE”
Especially when your current site is well-ranked, when possible and sensible, keep a similar site hierarchy and filenames when redesigning your website. Retain the meta tags and heading tags on your pages. Use 301 redirects as needed so people don’t get lost if they go to link that no longer exists.

Learn more about how to retain your site’s SEO ranking during a website redesign in the white paper available below.

10 SEO Mistakes to Avoid

Driving Cars ASC 1940 Presentation at Toyota Museum

Denise Shiozawa of UmeWorks was honored to be invited to the September Automotive Service Councils of California (ASCCA) Chapter 1940 meeting. The invitation was extended via UmeWorks client and Chapter member, Dave Carney of Hillside Auto Repair.

Denise shared a presentation on “Building Car Count with Organic SEO and Content Marketing,” covering topics:

  • Website basics
  • On-page SEO
  • Incoming Links
  • Content Marketing
  • Reviews
  • Data

ASCCA Chapter 1940 meeting at Toyota Car MuseumMany thanks to Victor of Lion’s Automotive for his tech support and Vanna-White-assistance.

 

DOWNLOAD PRESENTATION

 

*Note: Videos and YouTube were not been covered, but are important tools. More on this to come…