This Google My Business & Local SEO Tip is the 2nd of a series of 100 planned tips conceived by DigitalBull GO Director, Srinath Rangaswamy for a Facebook Group by the same name. The aim is to add 100 useful tips on the FB Group in the year 2021. So far Srinath is on target with 48 reached as of 28th June 2021.
The tips are meant to help the budding SEO understand the basics of setting up a Google My Business account and subsequently optimizing, maintaining and managing them. The tips can also help an agency owner use the GMB platform to grow business with a better knowledge of the intricacies of local SEO & GMB..
Citations are simple but laborious to build and complicated to understand, hence most business owners and even SEOs are at the mercy of citation ‘sellers’.
In this post, we will try to untangle some of the complexities involved in the citation management process.
The image shown from a BrightLocal Dashboard is a rarity and not many of our clients have numbers like these. In this case, the client insisted that we build an insurmountable list and it has taken the better part of 12 months to get here.
Leaving aside aberrations like these, the key questions to be asked are:
- How many citations does this GMB need?
- How do I assess the quality of my current citation portfolio?
Please note that it is in the interests of the citation ‘sellers’ or ‘builders’ to get you to add more citations. Citations can be fixed or added from citation builders for $0.50 per citation or can go as high as $4.00 per citation. So, tread with caution, as adding or fixing unneeded citations can cost you a pretty penny.
Now, let’s break down the process of evaluating a citation:
- Is it accurate based on the NAP?
- Do your primary competitors have it?
- Paid, unpaid, one-time, recurring fee, or chained to Yext?
- Does the site allow updates or is it closed like Yext?
- Does the site allow us to add additional branches (new locations)?
- Does it come as part of the Big 3 Citation Aggregators – Foursquare, Infogroup & Localeze?
- Has your profile been added to the top 6 social media sites for GMB? – Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube.
- Is your profile added on Yelp or other rival review sites?
- Is your profile added to top web2.0 sites like Medium, etc.
- Lastly, does it need to be fixed or left alone (based on quality criteria)
Sharing what we do at our company, DigitalBull GO, working within the constraints of our nominal SEO budget:
- The team analyzes existing and competitor citations based on niche/city and derives the ideal range of citations for certain towns/cities where the client is located.
- The team may come up with a minimum of 60 citations for smaller towns or a maximum of 200+ for very large cities with a big media presence (Los Angeles, New York).
- The citations are broken down into 4 sources – Directories (Local, Hyperlocal, State, National Local), Niche/Industry Directories and Forums, Social Channels (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.), and Media (Print Online/TV/Radio).
- The percentage allocation for each of the 4 sources/database for each town/city could be 60:10:20:10
- We then apply quality criteria to each citation and arrive at a ‘strength’ percentage for each client.
- Now the citations which pass the quality test are then added to the DigitalBull Top 100 [% not absolute number] citation list for future use in niche/city.
Let’s say my our client in Charlotte already has 300 citations for his GMB (accumulated from any of these builders/sellers – Freelancers at Fiverr, Legiit, BrightLocal, Whitespark, Synup, Yext, Marketers Center, The Hoth, Citation Builder Pro, Citation Builders, or built by the client themselves), we would only consider a percentage of those citations and not all. Similarly, you can create a Top citation list from existing databases.
Now you see, why most business owners and SEOs prefer to get the citations done by experts and try not to take this headache on!
So, my tip/checklist for managing your citation portfolio is –
- Do not try to add too many citations just because they are available.
- If the citations are older than 3 years and of low quality, do not waste your time fixing or updating them. Just move on.
- Pick the right number (60 to 120 in 90% of the cases) and ensure they are as local as possible.
- Depending on your budget, work with a reliable citation builder but have an upper limit on the number of citations.
- Store the logins and passwords as they will be very useful come time for fixing or updates.
- Review your citation portfolio every quarter or 6 months.
Contact DigitalBull GO for more information on GMB and local SEO.
Ultimately it’s about more leads and calls and you as a business owner should never lose sight of that! Managing your company’s presence on GMB is not only important for your brand but also for your business growth. With our tips,you will be able to take control of your Local SEO marketing strategy and get ahead of your competitors..