As we all know, Google is giving a ton of attention to local businesses by including their local listings in Google’s main search results. This has been a great advantage for small and local businesses to get more visibility in the search engines, but it has also increased competition in local SEO among local businesses hence marketers and local business owners are trying to find ways to outrank their competition in local SEO.
They attempt all the “must dos” when it comes to local SEO, and that is to add their site to all the major and local directories and Google places, link building, and include local keywords all over their site, as well as other local SEO tactics. But that may not be enough for them to rank well in the search engines especially for Google places. And that is probably due to lack of having enough natural citations.
What is a citation?
Citation, as its name implies, is references to your business. And that means how many times you’re business name and your business address have been repeated on other websites in particular the pages that have content about your local area or local cities.
There are two ways to improve your citations; You can do this manually by literally going on many websites and including your citations or asking them to cite you; Or you can do something big in your local area that gets both the medial and local people to talk about you. And in my opinion that is a more effective way.
A good example is Bad Boys Bail Bonds
Their San Jose local which is their first location had been sponsoring San Jose Sharks for a long time but last year they lost their spot to a higher bidder leaving them no room to have their banners at Sharks games. Therefore the bail bond’s owner and a few of their employees started wearing their shirts showing up in the hockey games and after a few games they were banned from entering the stadium or anyone wearing Bad Boys’ shirts.
That started a whole lot of controversies that questioned legality of San Jose Sharks action and that it may contradict the first amendment which grabbed a lot of attention from local online media. They were mentioned in the news and many people started talking about them and what had happened discussing the issue, hence that increased their citations naturally then they started ranking #1 for the keywords “San Jose Bail Bonds” in Google places.
Now the same company is trying to follow that type of method to promote their San Diego Bail Bonds location in order to improve their local rankings. Of course this time they don’t want to piss off any professional sports owners’ team, but rather to create a noise in a creative way to get locals to talk about them and local papers to write about them. If you are a small business and looking to improve your local rankings, I highly recommend you get involved in your local community somehow to get people to talk about you so you can increase your local citations. You just have to get creative and execute your plan.
It can be anything from give stuff away for free to locals, attending and sponsoring local charity events or other types of local events, sponsoring a few local youth sports teams, and other local activities that will get the attention of both locals and local media so they can “cite” your business name.