Let’s talk about local signals. You may have heard the term before, but unless you’re a digital marketing professional, you may wonder, what exactly are they? A Local Signal is one of many factors in Google’s Local SEO algorithm that is used to determine the authority and relevance of your business for searches focused in a particular geographical area. It helps Google search bots determine where to rank you in the search results. Local signals are different from many other SEO factors because they are hypersensitive to location in very specific, small radii.
Local Signals mean that search results can vary significantly even across small distances. For example, a search for “Local SEO” in West Los Angeles will populate a particular set of results. But if someone does the exact same search in East Los Angeles, they may see entirely different results. The reason for this is that Google will typically prioritize the results of businesses that are closest to your location at the time of the search.
Some businesses thrive in their niche location, ranking #1, but quickly drop off to page 2 or lower of the results as the distance from the location increases. Other businesses are much stronger in dominating a larger radius and can hold top 3 position rankings across all of Los Angeles, despite some businesses being located in closer proximity to the user searching. How are they able to dominate? Local signals play an important role.
One of the most well-known local signals is a business citation.
What Are Business Citations?
A business citation is essentially a mention of the business’s name, address, phone number, and website, typically in an online directory. Some of these are more robust; the best known citation profile being Google Business Profile listings. Others are a bit more simple. Think of these kinds of websites as being the phonebooks of the internet. Remember those?
Humans don’t very often visit such websites, but search engine crawlers certainly do. Building business citations on high-authority websites and niche websites/directories that are local to your area helps to establish a consistent and credible presence for your business. It’s well worth the effort to improve your business citations; the SEO value can pay incredible dividends.
What Are Niche Citations?
One type of business citations is niche citations. Niche citations are the platforms that focus on specific industries. For example, if you run a restaurant, your profile on Eater or Grubhub is a niche citation. Depending on your industry, niche citations can be an essential part of your strategy to boost your business’s visibility and expand your audience.
What Are Local Citations?
A local citation, on the other hand, is when a business directory, a blog, or any industry-specific website mentions another local website. Citations to your business from other websites located in a close proximity to your business address are considered local citations. For instance, if a business is based in Los Angeles, a profile containing NAP information on the Los Angeles-based site, losangeles.bizlistusa.com, will count as a local citation.
How Do Citations Help My Website?
Business citations help users find a business and its contact details on a directory. They also help send local relevance signals to Google, which can help boost the website’s ranking in that particular region.
Algorithms are set up to ‘score’ the quality of your business’s overall citation profile. This is typically a rating on a scale of 0 to 100, with 100 being a perfect score. The higher your score, the higher they’ll rank your website!
Our talented, and maybe a bit competitive, SEO Technician production team wanted to put ourselves to the test to see just how much we could improve Key Citation Scores. Key Citation Scores assess the quality of a business’s online citations on several top sites, considering whether the business is listed and whether each NAP component is correct. To make our challenge really interesting, we set ourselves the goal of getting results in only a single month. We chose a handful of our clients to make this experiment.
Out of our 200+ active client marketing campaigns, we selected 38 clients who have Local SEO services with us.
- At the start of the month, the combined score of all 38 clients was: 1,356
- Exactly 30 days later, we checked back on our combined scores, and the total was: 2,224
- That is a combined Key Citation Score improvement of 868 (a 64% increase!)
- Avg. improvement of points per client: 22.8
- One of our clients saw a 54 point improvement in their Key Citation Score (from 23/100 to 77/100)
This is quite a significant improvement to be made in such a short amount of time. As a result, we could see noticeable improvements in our local rankings for several important keywords and better placement of our Google My Business listings in Maps. Our metrics also reflected these changes; we saw increased traffic, leads, and revenue for these clients.
This is a task we perform for many of our clients, but it was fun to take a moment to look at the shared data across several different marketing campaigns. This type of experiment shows just what kind of impact this has been having as a whole, larger trend. The impressive results for our clients demonstrates just how valuable Local Signals are, and we will definitely continue to use this strategy in future local SEO campaigns.
Interested to learn more about citations, local SEO, and how Coalition can help your business grow? Call us at 310-827-3890 to talk with one of our Digital Strategists today about how we can help you achieve your business goals. Our team boasts years of experience improving local SEO for our clients, and we would be delighted to help you take your campaign to the next level! We know exactly how to incorporate SEO into local marketing for better brand recognition. Benefit from the expertise of an industry-leading local SEO company.