Business owners have started to realize how the impacts of their online presence has with the offline world. Restaurants are seeing the need to have a website and do SEO in order to create awareness of their existence in today’s socially-driven culture. In my last post about why SEO is important for restaurants, I talked about the importance of Google+ Local, Off site / Off Places and your website. We’re here today to talk a bit about Off site / Off Places. This is where Citations come into play. Every local business needs citations for them to rank well in search engines. Let’s walk through that right now…
What are Citations
Citations are mentions of your business name, address and phone number (NAP). They are usually found on web directories or other websites. For instance, one very popular and strong citation that you can get for your business is on Yellow Pages.
Note: Yellow Pages business listings are typically supplied to by phone companies like Bell. When a business registers for a business phone number, a free business listing is created on Yellow Pages.
Citations are different from links, but they both count towards a vote on your identity on the web. Some citation sources allow for you to add a link back to your website, which in essence is hitting two birds with one stone (you get a citation and a link out of one listing). #WIN!
Why are citations important
Citations are important to your business because major search engines like Google rely on accurate information about a business. So the more consistent citations you have around the web about your restaurant, the better you will do in Google’s local algorithm.
Not all citation sources are created equal. Some carry more weight than anothers. For instance, a citation on Yellow Pages, Yelp or Urbanspoon would provide much greater weight (more authority) than one sitting on a directory site that has little to no listings. Bigger directories often get traffic to them, so having a listing on the big ones is always a plus to get more eyeballs on your brand. At the end the day, the goal of all this is to get your business listed in as many relevant directory sites as possible.
Let’s keep in mind a few things. Citations…
- Help you rank higher in search engines;
- Quality citations are more desirable than the pure quantity of citations;
- Search engines rely on citation information from various sources to locate businesses on the map;
- Validate that a business is part of a local community; and,
- May offer a link opportunity to your website, which is better for your rankings.
Still unsure as to why citations are important? Read any of the following articles as they go deeper into that subject:
Consistency, Consistency, Consistency
The best way to do citation building for restaurants is to first search the phone number or name of the business in Google. Then, take a look at the results and see how the business is listed in the major directories. Your Google+ Local Listing and major directory sites should all have consistent NAP information (remember NAP is your business name, address and phone number). If you’ve recently changed your phone number or moved, you will need to update that information in as many places as possible to ensure your position in the search results remain where it is. Just remember this…
It is VERY IMPORTANT that your business information is consistent everywhere! Directories rely on data providers to supply them with information. So what that means is, your information spreads through the internet automatically from time to time. So it is imparative that your information is consistent and as accurate as possible so customers can find you, and Google can locate you. Thus, this all helps improve your rankings.
Popular Citations for Canadian Restaurants
Over the last few weeks, I’ve compiled a list of popular citation sources that restaurants can use to list their business in. Not all of these are purely Canadian citations, but ones that would be applicable to Canadian businesses. While writing this list of citation sources out, I discovered the following:
- Most popular citation sources will be applicable to majority of industries / verticals;
- Some sources will be more prevalent than others;
- Niche and local directories (specific to the city) can be very helpful if they are search engine friendly and have some authority/trust to that domain; and,
- All citations sources are different in nature (some required phone/email verification, forms were different, data input varied).
List of Citations that can be used for Canadian Businesses
Note: some citations listed are specific to Ottawa or to restaurants.
- pagesjaunes.ca (french version of yellowpages)
- canadiankiosk.ca (paid month/yearly)
Download the worksheet
Want to get the entire list in a spreadsheet? Want to see which citation allow links? Followed links? Each site’s domain authority (DA)? Just to give you a flavour of what is in the spreadsheet:
Note: You will need to make a copy of this spreadsheet in order to edit the content.
Other Awesome Lists of Canadian Citation Sites
- https://www.whitespark.ca/local-citation-finder/ << Awesome tool that will help you discover new citations to build!
Have I missed any biggies from the list? Any other citation sources worth mentioning that I should add? Please leave a comment below!