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Internet Marketing - Citations and Links

For many small businesses owners, the world of internet marketing is too messy and complex to even think about. However, there are some simple things you can do to put your business in a good position to succeed online. We will talk about citations and links today, and how they can help your business.

Let's first define our terms. A citation is an online mention of your business. It may include the name, phone number, address, and a link to your website. A citation should include the name, however the other items are secondary. A link is just what it sounds like. It is a link to your website located somewhere else on the internet.

Both citations and links are important for a small business. Citations are used as a ranking factor in local searches. A ranking factor is something that is calculated into the search engine algorithm that either increases or decreases the probability that your site will show up when someone searches for your type of business or services using that search engine. This means that if your business is mentioned on another website such as a business directory, the mention will be calculated in as one of the ranking factors for local searches, and will improve your businesses ranking on that search engine.

If someone is searching for the same services you offer but in a different city, the citations will not improve your site's ranking. This is because you are not a local business in that city. However, links will be considered a ranking factor since they are not limited to local searches. Because of this it is important to have a good link and citation profile. Links will be more important if you serve a broad region more than a single locality. However, both will be vital if you only serve local clients.

What does this mean, and how can we use it? The first thing that should be noted is that any local business should have a citation and link building strategy. This strategy should include the following:

  • Add your business to lots of online business directories. Be sure to include the name, phone number, address, and website to these directories.
  • Register your business with Google, Bing, and Yahoo.
  • Create a Facebook page. Even if you don’t think you have time to post things on Facebook, try.
  • Register your business with your local Chamber of Commerce.
  • Look for associations or groups that have websites that list their members, and join.

In summary, put your name out there on the internet anywhere you can. However, be careful to avoid adding it to any websites that look spammy. Doing so could hurt your business. Recognizing a spammy site is not always easy. If you are thinking of adding your business to a site, and are not sure if you should, feel free to contact us. We know the red flags to look for and can help walk you through it.

This is the second article in a series about the internet marketing. If you have not read the first article, please go back and read Six Key Areas of Internet Marketing. You will find it helpful.

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