One of the keys to optimizing a local business on Google Maps is getting regular reviews on 3rd-party websites. Another key driver of local optimization is getting your business name/address/local phone number listed accurately on relevant sites around the web – these are called citations.
However, from Google’s perspective, not all sites on which your business might be listed are created equal. How do you know which sites are better to get listed on in your local area?
Look to see what citations your well-ranked competitors have. Until two weeks ago, this was easy. You just went to their Google Place Page and looked at the “More About This Place” section at the bottom of the page. But, hey…!!
Two weeks ago, Google decided to take those citations down. That certainly does not mean that they are less important; it just means that they are less visible.
Here are a couple of tips on how to do it now:
Tip #1: Use Whitespark’s Local Citation Finder. Accounts are free as long as you are willing to live with the top 30 results and can wait for 5 minutes for your results. It’s a good tool (and, no, I am not paid to recommend them).
Tip #2: Google the name and local phone number of your best-ranking competitors. This is more labor intensive than just looking at the bottom of the Place Pages but very effective.
What do you do once you have these listings? Click into each site and see if there is a way to get your business listed as well. Sometimes it’s as simple as “Click to Add/Update a Listing” and sometimes it’s as difficult as writing a personalized email to the website owner asking to be listed on their site.
Happy citation hunting!