Local citations play a pivotal role in your local SEO strategy. You need them in order to increase your companies rankings in the local search engine results.
Local businesses earn a citation every time they’re mentioned on the internet. The question is, how do you get them? Directory listings and your social media profiles are great places to start.
A citation requires a specific set of information about your company. More specifically, your business name, address, and phone number (also known as your NAP information). Citations that lack this information are seen as partial citations.
It also helps to include your company URL in your citations, as it could get your website more visibility in front of the search engines, which could then drive more traffic to your website.
Local Citations & Their Impact on Your SEO
There are many working parts to the local search algorithm. Although citations only make up one part of the equation, they make a sizable impact on your local SEO efforts.
Let’s face it—citations are a numbers game. The more you have, the higher your listings will rank in the local search results.
On the other hand, quality is just as important as quantity. Let’s say that you have an assisted living facility in San Diego. If I were in your shoes, I would want citations from San Diego-based directories and senior care directories.
Enough relevant citations can give your listings more authority in the search engines than your competitors. As a result, your business will pop up for search queries that relate to your business. In this case, assisted living facilities in your area.
That’s why local citations are so important. The good news? You already have access to the tools needed to build your portfolio.
Local Listings & Profiles: Where to Start
There are numerous local directories and platforms out there for assisted living facilities. To make things easier for you, I’ve created the ultimate roundup of directories to help you get started.
There are seven local directories that every local business wants to be on (regardless of your industry). Needless to say, you’ll want citations from these high-authority websites.
Google My Business
Google is the #1 search engine in the world. Their Google My Business platform provides the ultimate visibility for local businesses.
Seamlessly integrating with Google Maps and Google’s search algorithm, consumers are able to discover the best product and service offerings in their local areas.
All local businesses dream of being listed in Google’s Local 3-Pack. When you achieve this result, your business shows up in one of the top three search results for a specific query (for instance, “retirement home in La Jolla”).
If you want to make it to Google’s Local 3-Pack, you have to optimize the heck out of your Google My Business profile. We’ll get back to that later.
Facebook is more than a global network. It’s a goldmine for local businesses to reach their ideal customers. Facebook Local ties directly into your company page. It’s also one of the easiest citations you can get.
When a customer has something to complain about, they go to Yelp. Although the other directories and platforms have review capabilities, Yelp is usually an unhappy customer’s first destination.
There are millions of users on the Yelp platform. They use the site to either find local businesses or share their experiences.
Yelp is not only a citation that you want for your local business, but it’s also a directory you want to keep tabs on for online reputation management purposes.
Remember YellowPages? Just kidding. Most people know YellowPages as that big yellow phone book you received every year. Since the internet now dominates the directory market, YellowPages streamlined their print books with an online directory.
That’s right, Angie’s List is just as important as the other directories above. Google and the other search engines see Angie’s List as an authority site. More specifically, a legit source for users to find local businesses.
If a consumer were to search for your business word-for-word, I’m willing to bet that your Angie’s List profile will pop up on the first page (if you have one). You might as well control the information that appears on it.
As a senior home or assisted living facility, you’ll want your business listed on directories that cater specifically to your niche. Here’s where you need to be.
- Assisted Living Directory
- Senior Advisor
- A Place for Mom
- Senior Living Directory
- Aging Care
- Senior Living Link
- Assisted Living Center
- Senior Care Authority
- Senior Sanctuary
- Senior Home Search
- Varsa Health
- Aging Taskforce
- Bing Local
- Yahoo! Local
- Best of the Web
- City Spark
- Get Fave
Do you want to know the truth about local SEO? It’s a full-time job. If you intend to list your business on as many directories as possible, it would take a REALLY long time to set them up and manage them manually.
With citation aggregators, that won’t be necessary. These data management platforms allow you to manage all your listings in one place. It’s a huge time saver in the local SEO realm.
Need help narrowing down your options? Here’s a hand-selected list of the top citation aggregators.
You’ll know a “Yexted” company when you see one. When a local business submits their company through the Yext aggregator, you’ll notice an icon on their profile that says, “Powerlistings Synced.”
There are many directories under Yext’s portfolio of partners. Because of that, Yext users are able to manage over 100 listings through the platform, from Facebook and Yelp to YellowPages and Bing Local.
Moz does things a little differently than the other aggregators. How so? They don’t have a data aggregator of their own.
Instead, they’re partnered with other aggregators that they distribute information to.
Their partners include Neustar/Localeze, Infogroup, Axciom, and Factual.
Synup is another viable option for your local SEO needs. Although there’s nothing really unique about the platform, Synup users can add local search reporting to their monthly subscriptions.
Bright Local combines manual citation building with their automated aggregator system.
They also submit your site to directories that the other aggregators don’t work with. This “done-for-you” service is used by over 3,000 companies.
You can count on White Spark for highly-targeted niche directory submissions. As an assisted living facility, they’d focus on getting your business listed on niche-specific sites.
How to Optimize Your Directory Listings
By now, you know where you need to be to increase your online visibility, but do you know what to do to maximize your chances of getting found?
The answer is optimization. If you want your business to appear in search queries that relate to your offerings, you must set up your listings and profiles a certain way.
Just follow these tips and you’ll be headed in the right direction.
Fill out your profile to the last detail
When it comes to local SEO, there’s no easy way out. It takes a lot of legwork to be seen by your target audience—profile optimization included.
Ideally, you’ll want to complete your profiles 100%. The more information you add to your listings, the better off you’ll be.
It might seem like a daunting, time-consuming task, but it doesn’t have to be.
Your best bet would be to fill out your profile information manually on Google My Business, Facebook, Yelp, YellowPages, Angie’s List, and Healthgrades.
Then, let an automated citation aggregator submit your information to the other additional directories.
Publish correct & consistent Information
You’re only halfway out of the clear once you claim, verify, and fill out your profiles.
Once that’s all done, it’s good to do a once over on all the information to make sure that it’s accurate and consistent across your profiles.
You’ll especially want to make sure that your business name, address, and phone number look the same everywhere that you’ve listed.
Your profile information should match the information that you’re telling people offline. If your actual office hours are 8-5, I wouldn’t list that you’re open 24 hours.
If the sign on your building says “Paradise Senior Living,” you should also use this name on your directory listings.
Sometimes, things change (like your phone number or business hours). Don’t forget to update the information on your profiles when they do.
Inconsistent information is not only bad for SEO, but it could mess up the flow of leads trying to get in touch with you.
Imagine how much traffic you could lose by listing an outdated URL that leads to a 404 link. Tons.
If you see an unclaimed profile, claim it
In some cases, you’ll find unclaimed profiles for your business on certain directories. If you see profile information that’s wrong or outdated, don’t panic.
At one point in time, those directories probably populated information about your business that was already out there.
Before you create any new profiles on the essential directories, check and see if there’s a profile already available for you to claim.
If you find unclaimed profiles on the directories that you haven’t registered with, claim them.
It’s also best to take over an unclaimed listing than create a duplicate listing from scratch. We’ll tell you why.
Eliminate any duplicate profiles
Duplicate profiles are also bad for local SEO—just plain bad. When the search engines detect them, their algorithms might see them as spam, which could harm your ranking authority in the search results.
They’re even worse if the listings have different sets of information on them. This confuses the search engines, which could blow your chances of a high ranking.
Duplicate listings are also bad for marketing purposes, as they can confuse your customers in terms of the information that’s correct vs. the information that’s outdated.
Add images & descriptions
Add some branding to your profiles with your company logo, a banner image, images of your facility (inside and outside), and a company description.
Humans are visual creatures by nature. Images provide a sense of legitimacy to your business, and descriptions give consumers a snapshot of what you’re all about.
In order to maximize your success with local SEO, you must build your online footprint. Like your competitors, you’re striving to get your business in front of as many users as possible. You might as well take advantage of the exposure that directories can provide.
Don’t forget that proper citation management is just as important as the setup process. Along with map optimization, it’s an ongoing effort that you can’t neglect if you want to get found online.
I love hearing from Assisted Living facilities. How are you currently managing your citations? Feel free to leave a comment below. As always, if you have questions, or are interested in professional consulting, contact me directly today.