Cooking with Adster: SEO Recipe for Local Success in Edmonton
Having the best website with solid onsite SEO + Use of onsite Rich Markup (Business address, phone number etc.) + Placement in 5-15 ‘standard’ citation sources + Placement in 5-15 “Local” citation sources = #1 listings. Sound confusing? Let’s take a look at all this nonsense.
What is a Citation?
A citation is a mention of your company’s phone number, business address, hours of operation or any other pertinent information about your business online. Citations help make life easy for search engines like Google and can greatly improve your search engine positions by placing your business in the Google Local results.
How do Citations improve my rankings?
Citations help Google confirm your business address and phone number in relation to what you have listed in your Google Places account (learn more about Google Places here). Google, in many situations can create a Google Places Page or “Google Local Page” based purely on your Yellow Pages listing (which is why this is an extremely important citation to have).
When someone does a search in Edmonton for “Edmonton Plumbers” this will result in Google displaying organic results alongside Places results.
In the past, Google used a terrible system that ranked businesses depending on how close they were to the center of the city. As you can imagine, businesses spammed the living hell out of this malpractice and forced Google to change its algorithm.
Should Citations be identical across the board?
While it’s nearly impossible to have EVERY citation look identical in each and every directory, it’s an Adster Creative best practice to try and get it as close as possible to your Google Places listing.
For example our phone number in Google Places is as follows:
(780) 800 – 2328
However that isn’t the same as:
While difficult and mind numbingly time consuming, MAKE SURE your business address and phone numbers are identical (or as close as you can make it) wherever you’re listed. In some cases, having varying phone numbers and slight differences in your business address can actually LOWER your rankings so keep a close watch.
Are Citations difficult to obtain?
Yes and no. Many citations can be claimed easily by visiting the directory landing page and inputting your company’s phone number, operating address, contact information and hours of operation. However, claiming and ‘optimizing’ a citation listing are 2 completely different things. Generally speaking, the more fields you fill out in the directories the better.
Are all Citations created equal?
Knowing which local citations to claim when you’re a plumber vs. an Electrician can mean the difference between being ranked 7th in places versus number 1 – but how do you know?
For every ‘niche’ and/or City, Google typically likes to use some common and some unique citational sources.
What are 10 great citations that Edmonton businesses should have?
Don’t tell Dave I told you, but here goes, in no particular order:
1. Yellow Pages
6. Canadian Company Capabilities
7. Web Local
8. Business Pages
As far as unique citations go, nothing works better than a little good old fashioned research. Take a look at your competition and cross reference where they’re listed. See anything interesting? Grab it!
What happens if my business moves or changes phone numbers?
If your website is currently ranked in Google Places, it might not be for long. Once you change your business address and phone number and the internet gets a hold of it, it can create a giant mess that can take months to clean up. A good idea is to make a list of all the directories your company is listed in and either hire an SEO Agency like Adster, or get one of your staff members to start updating all the incorrect business information. The longer the misinformation is available online, the better chances Google will sink its teeth in, and then it’s game over baby. Your rankings will soon drop, your website will fall out of Google Places and your customers will be frustrated because they can’t easily find your business address and may even call the wrong phone number. Think of it this way, would you move locations without putting a sign up alerting your clients where you’ve moved and the easiest way to get in touch with you?
Why don’t I buy 400 citations for $99.99?
Simply put, in a market like Edmonton’s, there isn’t the volume of trusted sources available for any one place of business (with very few exceptions). Once we get beyond the top 10 or so listed above, the herd gets pretty thin. And, if the majority of ranked businesses in your area have 5-10 Citational sources and you have 500+…well…don’t you think that might look a little suspicious and artificial? Remember, over-optimization is not looked upon too kindly these days…
At Adster, we believe that High level SEO is an agencies ability to look at all the available data and see beyond it. We make decisions based on your competitors, available tools & technology, our systems and experience to ensure that each and every one of our clients receives lasting results.