The Importance of Accurate Citations
When consumers look for basic information on a business, they want clear, understandable, and reliable results. Responding to this basic consumer demand, search engines give strong preference to companies that have consistent and accurate listings. With digital communication and digital marketing becoming increasingly prominent, accurate citations are more important than ever. The overwhelming majority of SEO professionals agree: accurate citations are a key part of local search ranking.
For owners and operators of SEO agencies and digital marketing firms, the importance of accurate citations cannot be overstated. A client’s local listings must be accurate, and they must be consistent across platforms. Otherwise, the desired results may simply be impossible to achieve. White label citation building can help operators ensure that all of their listings are accurate.
Four Reasons Why Accurate Information Matters
1. Out-of-Date and Misleading Citations Will Annoy Customers
Small Business Trends reports that 80 percent of consumers indicate that they lose trust in business if online information is inaccurate. This makes sense. If you attempt to call a company only to find out that the listed phone number is wrong, you may quickly decide to move onto one of their competitors. You do not get a second chance to make a first impression. Client acquisition costs can be considerable, and it can be difficult to grab the attention of potential customers. The last thing any company wants to deal with is driving away leads simply because they have inaccurate or inconsistent information across their local listings.
2. Inaccurate Information Pollutes a Client’s ‘Local’ Web Presence
The internet truly is a global phenomenon. The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) estimates that more than 3 billion people are online. Many millions more people are coming online every year. Yet, for many businesses, the only thing that really matters is a strong local web presence. A client’s desired market may be rather small. It is crucial that businesses are able to get their products and services in front of the right client base. Those customers may be largely, or entirely, local. Inaccurate citations — from an incorrect phone number to mismarked business hours — will pollute a company’s local web presence. Relatively minor errors can cause significant reputational harm — especially in the search world.
3. NAP is the Basis of Local SEO
NAP consistency helps to form the foundation of local search engine optimization. The term NAP stands for “Name, Address, and Phone Number”, these being the core details that consumers first look to when they are conducting searches for new businesses. Responding to that consumer demand, the major search engines, including Google, use NAP in determining which results — or more accurately, which companies — will show up in geo-targeted searches. When businesses have inaccurate citations, such as a mixed-up address or an out-of-date phone number across their local listing, they may not show up in certain geo-targeted searches. This is a potential disaster. For so many companies, local search is what matters most.
4. Search Engines May Penalize a Business for Inaccurate Listings
Of course, the biggest player in the search industry is still Google. According to data provided by The Statistics Portal, nearly two-thirds of all searches in the United States are conducted on this platform. There is no reason to think this is going to change soon: Google’s market share has remained relatively stable over the last decade. While Google’s algorithms are proprietary, and their precise methodology is kept strictly confidential, it is clear that its search results penalize companies for inaccurate listings. Beyond being excluded or downgraded in GEO-targeted results, companies may also have their overall ‘trust’ reduced by the search engine simply because there is inconsistent information across their listings. The good news is that this is a problem that can be fixed.
5. Cleaning Up Inaccurate Citations: Solutions are Available
For individual businesses who are interested in cleaning up their own accurate citations, it may be possible to go listing-by-listing — taking the proper steps to fix each error and to ensure consistency and accuracy across the web. Of course, for those who are managing SEO or digital marketing agencies and who have a significant number of clients, this type of process can be incredibly time-consuming and inefficient. Going client-by-client across all relevant web platforms may not be a scalable task. By working with a company that offers white label citation building for digital marketing agencies, it is possible to efficiently guarantee accurate listings on the major and minor platforms across the internet.