|By Farid Parvini Ph.D. | Solution21 | CEO|
Citations are a part of Local SEO that may get overlooked by business owners. There are several myths we would like to dispel in terms of Google My Business citations on company listings for best SEO practices.
Myth #1: You must always include your suite number
Even with a suite number listed in your Google My Business listing, Google MapMaker doesn’t translate it—it eliminates it. Instead, Google is more interested in ensuring the location of the pin is accurate versus the words entered in for an address search. There are multiple ways to enter in a street address so the site instead filters search queries by location instead. A missing suite number is not going to make or break your listing and could actually negatively impact it instead, so move along if it’s unavailable.
Myth #2: Pay close attention to minor differences in business name
May believe that minor differences in the business name citation can have a huge impact on listing results. For example, if you are an insurance agent, one citation may have your name in front of the insurance company’s name and another behind it. Google will automatically notice these discrepancies and duplications will be rare unless there are major changes in the phone numbers and addresses to keep them listed accordingly. This can also occur to law firms in which the lead attorneys change over time. The phone number and address are used more to pinpoint the listing than the name itself.
Myth #3: Fix listings on hundreds of sites
Many SEO companies will encourage business owners to pay them to have their citations cleaned up all across the internet. They will provide a scan of all the incorrect data for your listing and work with these directories to update it accordingly. However, it has been found that these smaller directory sites, including those such as local.com, may have incorrect information for your business but it doesn’t affect your Google rankings. This is because Google doesn’t typically index these sites. Incorrect data in these directories has little impact on your search engine optimization.
Myth #4: Cancel automated citation services
Automated services that are put in place to ensure your information is correct across the board is never a good idea. This is because once you cancel them, the old data is often pushed back. The business listing is no longer monitored by the company and therefore goes back to the original search engine compilation methods. There are risks associated with cancelling these services so it may be worthwhile to keep them in place or at least budget for cleanup and citation building following a cancellation to ensure these issues do not arise.
Myth #5: Citation building is the gold standard for successful Local SEO
Citation building is important, but it is not the only back linking strategy that works for Local SEO and ranking in the 3-pack. In fact, it shouldn’t be the only back linking strategy being used. If so, companies will not be ranking well in more competitive markets. Links may be a key differentiator for GMB rankings, so other opportunities should be considered to compete with similar citations.
Myth #6: Ignoring unrelated industries with same phone number
If a phone number for an attorney’s office that closed is now the phone number for a local deli, should the deli be concerned about the listing with the existing number? The answer is yes. People calling for the attorney’s office will be rather upset to find out they keep connecting with a deli instead, giving a negative user experience in Google. The deli should take the steps to mark the previous company as closed so their listing will appear correctly in GMB.
Myth #7: Google My Business is a citation
Listings on GMB are not actually citations. Instead, Google is more of a “core search engine” and the idea of a citation goes back to the good old days of academic papers and source information. With this in mind, your Google listing is the academic paper and the listings on the web are sources citing your business.