Backlinks are the lifeblood of non-local SEO. Citations are the backlink of the local world. We know that citations are an important metric in local search, but just what is a citation, and how do we get them for our business?
Much like backlinks, citations carry "weight" depending on how authoritative the site is that mentions you. For example, a mention from a news source is gold in the citation world, whereas a mention from your cousin's blog, that she updates twice a year, carries significantly less weight.
When obtaining citations, we're looking for quality and quantity. Listings on social accounts, review sites and business directories (Yellow Pages) are all citations. Simply listing your business in as many places as possible provides you with valuable citations that help you climb the rankings. That's an easy step that you can do in your free time while watching television. How long does it really take to list your business in every business directory you can find? To create social accounts? Not long, and it's invaluable to the future of your business. Find the time.
Reaching out to local bloggers is another great way to get mentioned. If your city doesn't have a directory of local bloggers, a social media and/or blogging club, or something of that nature, take your search to Twitter. Start searching for your city, and checking the profiles of the people posting about it. You'll start to find that many of them have blogs with local intent, and those are the people you reach out to. Offer them a coupon to try your product or service. What you're trying to do here is earn their business, and see if they write about it. What you don't want to do is buy placement on their site. Not only is this a no-no, but it can backfire with you receiving a negative write-up for trying to "buy" a positive review.
Another option is using Google to find local blogs with a search query like:
"San Diego blog"
"San Diego blogger"
"San Diego blogger group + club + organization"
Search queries like these will lead you to more than a few local bloggers who might be more than happy to help a local business. Incentivize your offering, but don't just ask for placement or a mention. Offer them an opportunity to try your offering and hope for the best.
Additional steps: Check out Meetup and start networking with some of your peers. Meetup has events, seminars and training sessions (as well as fun activities) for groups with specific interests. Not only is this a great way to meet new people, it's also key to driving business by allowing you to find new customers, strategic partnerships and learn as you go.
Chris Warden is a seasoned entrepreneur and CEO. Starting his entrepreneurial career at age 19, he has performed in numerous capacities owning and managing both offline and online companies. Chris now serves as CEO of Spread Effect, a leading content marketing and publishing company. He is a member of the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) and often writes on topics of content marketing, SEO, and business development. He’s passionate about building and mentoring world-class teams and loves to chat with like-minded individuals. You can connect with Chris via Linkedin, Twitter - @ChrisWarden_SE, or Google+.
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