SEO for Field Service: Citations are the New Yellow Pages Listings for Local Businesses

For owners of field services businesses, search engine optimization (SEO) is a battlefield unto itself. With the way search engines like Google are evolving to give the searcher answers right on the search results page, where and how you’re listed online is as important now as the Yellow Pages were in times of yore.

Beyond Just Links: Citations Are Key

One of the most important factors in ranking your locally-based business in Google is citations.

What are citations? Citations are mentions of your site, your address, phone number, etc. in trusted third-party sites such as Google My Business, Yelp, SuperPages, and hundreds of others. In some cases you can submit your site and address information to data aggregators will push it out to numerous other sites. A citation, while it is a mention of your brand, address, and potentially your website, is often characterized by not including a link back to your site. It’s a mention without a link.

One of the factors to consider in building citations is consistency. Wherever your address is listed it should conform to standard NAP (name, address, phone) notation. It’s advisable to get your Google maps/Google my business listing updated and correct first, and it doesn’t hurt to have the exact same address, written exactly the same way, on your Facebook page many of the major data aggregators will use one or both of these sources, compared to the information you submit, for verification and validation. It’s also important to have the address on your own site exactly match the information that is being listed elsewhere.

Some of the better paid tools for creating many citations at one time are Moz Local, WhiteSpark, or Yext. Of course, you can submit to all the sites that these services submit to manually, but you are generally better off spending those numerous hours working on your business rather than submitting to directory after directory after directory.

Clean Up After Yourself, Online Too

One other consideration for adding citation type listings is whether you have had any previous addresses or phone numbers. If there are directory listings and citations out there with addresses and phone numbers which are not current, you should clean those up and either update or delete them. Some of the tools such as Moz local, will sometimes let you know if certain sites have duplicate listings on them.

While they are certainly not the only ranking signal, citations are a critical component of ranking in the “local pack” which usually appears at the top of the organic search results. That kind of exposure could get you spotted by curious searcher and lead to new business.


Suggesting Reading on Citations

Want to learn more about citactions? The SEO service Moz has a great article “Why Citations are Important to the Success of Your Local Business.” Or check out Whitespark’s “What is a Local Citation for SEO?” or from Search Engine Land: “Local Citations are Dead — Long Live Local Citations.”