- And why are they so important.
As we are all only too well aware, Google keeps changing itself and we need to be smarter about optimising a website.
This is not to say we should be trying to outsmart Google - in fact, quite the opposite, as that approach is SEO suicide. What I mean is; we need to understand, as SEO consultants, how to play within Google's rules but be smart in the way we do it.
A key aspect of ranking prominence is your credibility. As with your own personal credibility is measured in part by who knows you, what they know about you and what they say to others. Website credibility is largely established through what we call "citations". These are just one form of back links to content in your website.
Aren’t backlinks Now Dangerous?
By way of a general answer, no not at all. There are however, certain types of backlinks that were once all the rage within the SEO community (and sadly still buy a select few) that are now very dangerous to your SEO ranking and are likely to be still causing you problems.
Citations of those backlinks that are generally found in quality business directories. Now I stress "quality" as not just any business directory listing is appropriate.
You will be required to provide details of your business, location, services, products, et cetera to your listing along with contact information. This information needs to be prepared carefully and consistently. We also advise that you mix up your business descriptions across the different listings that you place.
There Are Directories and There Are Directories.
Not all directories for placing your business are equal and in fact, some you should avoid altogether. These directories also fall into different categories.
- general listing relating to business Australia wide
- those with a more local flavour and may only cover specific geographic regions
- niche industries in the form of industry associations or membership, a profession or an aspect of particular interest e.g. TripAdvisor (a must directory for any business in travel, tourism and hospitality).
Our advice is given will mix across all categories for your citation listings.
But I See a Listing Already Exists.
Don't be fooled and no you didn't add a listing that you have forgotten about. Many of these directories build their initial lists from other directories through association or scraping of your details from websites and this is not an infringement of your privacy as the information they have is already publicly available.
These listings are not however, what you want as they do not, if you think about it, and any real credibility to your business. What you need is a "verified" listing space — one that you can claim as your own. More often than not, these are still free on most sites. A Paid listings is an option you can take up but our advice is to approach these with caution. If a listing for your business already exists, you can generally make a claim on these as your own after going through some process of verification.
So Where Should I Place Citations?
Obviously, there are hundreds of directories in Australia and thousands worldwide. There are however, certain directories you should aim at listing in as a must.
The following table of directories has been compiled from a number of resources and lists those we found to be the most relevant to general business. We are specifically not included any industry specific directories such as TripAdvisor or Yelp or any social media sites which provide business listings such as Google myBusiness or Facebook.