Citation Building Myths Plaguing Local SEO

Jul 7
2020
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In this blog post, we’ll be continuing a current trend and focusing on local SEO. We recently looked at improving return on investment in local SEO. Today, we’ll be looking at how to cite Google Maps, and more general citation building myths that currently circulate among experts in local SEO. 

Myth: Citations that do not include a suite number need to be fixed ASAP

Truth: Believe it or not, Google does not recognize suite numbers for most Google business listings. Even if you enter a suite number in Google My Business, that doesn’t mean it will translate into the “Suite #” info field in Google MapMaker. Instead, the suite number is simply eliminated. Often, Google cares more about the location marker of a business only when it comes to figuring out the actual location. They will value this information over the actual words people use when they enter the address, because there are multiple ways to enter one specific street address. In fact, Google used their Possum update to introduce a new filter for search queries that are based on location. This filter revolves around the address for your business and how close businesses in the same sector are to your location. Having a suite number in Google My Business is largely unrelated. 

Often, you will be unable to control the suite number on your citations. Some sites place the suite number before the address, other sites list it after the address, some use a ‘#’ symbols, others list it with “Ste” or “Suite.” In other words, if your citations are missing their suite numbers, you can move along and direct your focus somewhere else. 

Myth: Minor differences in your business name in citations can be a very big deal

Truth: Maybe your business name is “State Farm: Bob Smith,” but one citation has you down as “Bob Smith insurance” or “Bob Smith State Farm.” As annoying as this might be, please know that Google’s algorithm has you covered. Duplicate search results usually only pop up if there are major discrepancies in the address and phone number. Even if the name of your business changes or is tweaked, as long as you have the same address and phone number, your Google Map citations will not be altered in any way.

Myth: NAP cleanup involves fixing your listings on many sites.

Truth: Unfortunately, this is a common scare tactic employed by many SEO companies. Namely, because it works so well. They will often get small businesses to pay for a citation cleanup. This usually involves doing a scan of incorrect data and sending the client a list of directories that have the business’ information listed incorrectly. The goal is to get a business owner to panic and hire a team to clean up this misinformation.

To look at an example, Local.com is a site that feeds into hundreds of smaller directories on newspaper websites. If a listing is incorrect on Local.com, it might look like your listing is incorrect on hundreds of other directories. But should this cause you to panic? If you’re a business owner without too much tech expertise – like the kind of owner that asks, ‘What are Google Maps citations?’ – this can all seem very confusing. Fortunately, if you fix the incorrect information on Local.com it should fix it on the other sites that are attached to Local.com. Also, let us hypothetically say that it did not. If that is the case, it is important to know that Google has not indexed these URLs. Because Google has not indexed this content, it’s a sign that the content does not matter much and you should not stress out about it. Google has no incentive to index these different URLs because the information on them is all the same. 

Ultimately, fixing a listing on a small site should be low on your priority list. Most likely, attempting to update this listing will be a futile effort, because small sites usually have less rigorous management. 

Myth: There’s no risk in canceling an automated citation service.

Truth: Often, business owners fret about what will happen to their NAP issues if they cancel their subscription for an SEO service. Numerous case studies have shown that if a business cancels this service, they usually do not have any major issues after they cancel. 

Myth: Citation building is the only link building strategy you need to win at Local SEO.

Truth: Yes, citations are important. But, if that is the only backlinking strategy you are employing, you probably are not going to rank well in more competitive markets. Studies show that links are a key differentiator even when compared to Google My Business Rankings. If you are in an industry or market that is competitive and you want to control the 3-pack, you can probably other backlinking strategies.

It is imperative that you have a core bass of citations to gain Google’s trust. If you don’t have them, you have low chances of ranking. However, once you have a core of 50 or so citations, getting more citations isn’t probably going to move the needle much in your local SEO campaign.

Conclusion

Let’s go over some of the main points from this article:

  • Citations are not the end all be all of local SEO, though they are important. 
  • Fixing NAP information on small sites should not be high on your priority list
  • Incorrect information – like a suite number – in a citation should not be cause for concern.

Hopefully, this guide has been a helpful window into better understanding local SEO and how it can help your business. If you’d like to learn more about local SEO, consider reading our guide to local SEO in 2020 – or contact KitelyTech to learn more.

KitelyTech has staked its claim on helping entrepreneurs realize their true, technological potential. If you’re a business owner with an idea on how to leverage tech to bolster your business, or you’d like to learn more about how that is possible, consider contacting KitelyTech today.

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