Survival in the harsh market out there isn’t easy for small and medium businesses. Advertising is the key to success in virtually all types of businesses today. For those with an online presence, search engines are your best bet in terms of making your business a real winner in your industry.
Search engine optimization (SEO) campaigns are necessary in order to rank high in search engines. How can a small or mid-level company compete with giant corporations that invest numerous thousands of dollars in boosting their search engine ranks?
Location Oriented SEO
You might not be able to match the capabilities of giant retailers like Amazon globally, but you can definitely stand toe to toe with them in the local searches. Let’s assume for a moment that you’re planning to buy fitness equipment such as elliptical trainers.
Entering the key-phrase “elliptical trainer” in a search engine like Bing or Google will display a list of large retailer chains that may or may not have a storefront in your current area. If you type a specific city or state in addition to the original keyword, the search engine’s first few listings will comprise mainly of local businesses selling elliptical trainers that are well established.
Citations: What Are They?
The key to dominating the local search engine positions is learning how to use citations. Local citations can be acquired by entering your company’s details in:
- Google Places
- Yahoo Local Listings
- Bing Business Portal
- White Pages
The above-mentioned directories are currently the most known ones, but there are numerous other citation sources to help you boost your online presence. Simply adding your business’ contact details is not enough. You also need to play by the rules in order to make the online listings count towards a higher rank in the local searches.
How to Use Citations Correctly
The three elements of a constructive citation form the acronym NAP and they mean:
- Name: It is important to use a single variant of your company’s name across the board when you’re signing up for citation directories. At first glance, you might consider that minor alterations won’t affect consistency, but in reality, even the slightest addition – say, for instance the particle “Inc.” after the company’s name – reduces the efficiency of your SEO effort.
- Address:Consistency in terms of address (particularly the format you select) is just as important as the name. Pay extra attention when inputting details in forms with different formats.
- Phone number: SEO experts believe a local number is always a superior choice. Utilizing a tracking number or a toll free one is best avoided.
What You Should Learn Here
NAP is the word of the day for companies trying to rank high in the local search engines. To take advantage of it, you need to be consistent in entering the business’ details in citation directories. Inconsistencies will make it more difficult for search engines to be sure who you are, where you are located, and how your customers can reach you.