Citations – the key to Google Places rankings

General Dec 10, 2012 No Comments

Google Places has gotten confusing.

Every time you do a search, the results look different. Every time you click on a result it takes you to some other Google website that talks about plusses and circles. You claim your listing and fill it out, but your business still languishes as a little speck on the map.

It’s understandable for a business owner with little knowledge about search engine optimisation to get confused.

This article is here to make some sense of it all, focusing on one particular factor that could be the answer to your Google Places needs. Citations.

What are citations?

Citations are references to your businesses name, address and contact details around the web. There are a host of sites in any given country that will list citations of your business. Places like Yelp and Yellow Pages are great examples of websites that utilise citations. Even Google Places itself gives a citation of your business.

These websites act as a reference point for search engines. They not only link to your site, but also give information on your company’s whereabouts, thus outlining the area that you service.

How do citations help me to rank better?

Various citation websites are crawled by Google to find your information. Ones that have full details and information about your business, complete with a link to your site, get considered and added to the database.

This in turn gives your website stronger credibility. Google knows that you really are a business operating in ‘X’ location because there are a number of other sites that affirm this statement.

The more credible websites you are listed on, the more likely Google is to rank you highly in Places.

I’ve got heaps of citations but my Places still doesn’t rank

Check that the details listed in your citations match those on your website exactly. Consistency is the key.

That means a consistent business name and a consistent address. If your address is:

1/123 Fake Street

Make sure other variations like:

123 Fake Street

Suite 1, 123 Fake Street

Level 1, 123 Fake Street

Are not used!

When this happens, Google becomes unsure if the same business is being referenced. It sees “1/123” on your Google Places page and website but “Suite 1, 123” on Yellow Pages, and won’t want to risk labeling these as the same business. That’s a strong citation down the drain.

To eliminate any confusion, pick a standardised business name and address style and stick with it across all websites:

Example Services and Solutions

123 Fake Street,

Fake Town, Fake Postal Code,

Fake State, Fake Country

Being consistent will ensure you avoid any confusion, no matter how minor you might think it is. No “this little difference shouldn’t matter” or “I’ll be OK to leave it like this.” Ensure it is all the same and don’t take the risk.

Check your own citations and see what variations are being used. Did you make some changes and see improvements? If so, share them below.

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