There’s a whole lot of confusion about what local SEO for contractors is and why local SEO is critical to your contracting business rankings. I frequently see people freeze like a deer in the headlights when I say “local citation”.
So let’s clear up any confusion upfront so we can get to the juicy stuff.
There are lots of directory websites that let you submit a free business listing to be displayed on their site. This business listing within the directory website is referred to as a citation.
If you’re not searching for citation building opportunities in directory websites, then you are probably not doing local SEO for contractors properly.
Normally, these business directories will link back to your website and we recommend that you submit your website url of a particular location page, if you have multiple locations, and have location specific pages already created. If you don’t have individual landing pages for multiple locations, I’d suggest having those made prior to building citations, otherwise linking multiple locations to your home page is going to cause issues down the road that’s going to cost you a whole lot more to fix.
Some directory websites do not link back to your site. And that is ok. They may or may not have additional info, also, like geo-coordinates, client testimonials, business hours, and many more.
Like it or not, Google’s local SEO for contractors ranking factors, and other search engines such as Bing and Yahoo, use these NAP (NAP stands for Name, Address, and Phone Number. It is important that your business information needs to be the same across all listings for NAP) references to rate the online credibility of your home improvement business.
The amount of these citations on directory websites that mention you will contribute to the local SEO ecosystem that directly influences your local SEO for contractors ranking on Google 3-pack and whether or not your home services business will be displayed on Google’s local three-pack.
In addition, these citations verifies to Google the NAP they have on file for you, if it matches, is probably accurate and they’re more confident in promoting this info to their searchers.
Before getting started you’ll want a comprehensive guide to local SEO for contractors.
This local SEO for contractors strategy works best when you’ve got location specific landing pages which are optimized for local geo-specific keywords. This is referred to as the on-page local SEO for contractors strategy that ties into your citation building.
Google and Ipsos did research that showed conversions were more than two times as likely after customers did a local search.
What it really comes down to is this: Just how many times your local business is listed on a local directory. A citation for contractor local SEO is just like having a listing on a home Improvement business directory.
So, let’s dive into getting the citation work done to improve your local SEO for contractors ranking.
How To Do Local Citation Building For Contractors
The first and most obvious place to begin with is directories that are online. Consider three distinct directory types: locally-based, review websites, trade or industry-specific, and even broader if you need more.
If you do not have the time to manually build out all of the listing yourself you’ll want to check into hiring experts for local SEO for contractors to deal with your contracor local SEO services. If you’re wanting to be found online and get new business, this is vital to literally get on the map!
Locally, check out your community and neighborhood hubs for directories you can add citations on.
Review websites to get citations include Yelp, Angie’s List, Judy’s Book, and TripAdvisor.
Trade business directories, for companies like roofing contractors, should certainly include the local chapter of trade and professional association sites.
Authoritative, niche specific websites help search engines to confidently categorize your contracting business.
Most directories offer a free listing, and others will want you to pay a fee.
With a lot of free directory listings the kicker is that you can not link back to your site. This still provides value and is important to be included in Googles local 3-pack, so don’t dismiss it just because you’re not getting a link back.
Besides, citation building is not link building, we honestly don’t care if we get links from these sites because that’s not the objective here. The objective is to get your NAP listed in enough places, consistently, so Google feels confident listing you in the local 3-pack.
Broader options for citation building opportunity include local business platforms such as Google My Business (absolutely your most important platform to be on the local 3-pack), Apple Maps, Superpages, Factual, Bing, CityGrid, Acxiom, Localeze, Facebook, Yelp, and much more.
Tricks of the trade:
- Set up a special email address for this citation building only, as they will spam you to death from here on.
- If asked to select a business category, make certain to keep yours constant on all directories.
- Confirm your listing, if that is an option given to you. Confirming a listing means they might send a postcard for you to confirm the address. Thats exactly what Google does. This builds more credibility for you.
- Overshare! –give them what they ask for (and more if they do not, if it’s applicable). Email addresses, business description, store hours, pictures, your name, anything you can add that gives more information on your business and the services you offer.
If this is your first time, start with these local citation directory websites:
- Google My Business
- Bing Places
- Apple Maps
- Yellow Pages
- Better Business Bureau
Afterward, size up your local competition. Do some digging. Find out where your competitors are also listed so you can get your business on there as well. This helps to level the playing field in your local SEO for contractors strategy.
Doing this is simple. By using the search operator below, add your competitor’s business name and zip code to Google in the following format:
“Competitor’s business name” AND “zip code”
Yes, the quotes are necessary.
Then get your pencil and paper ready for action.
Write down each local listing you see your competitor on that you are not. Do this for the first ten pages on Google that shows your competition listed on. You could end up with as many as 100, or they may only have a couple pages, which in that case you need to pick another stronger competitor to research.
What’s next? You guessed it! Get busy putting yourself into every one of them.
Some citations on these directory websites can be as simple as a fast form, others might require extra steps like a telephone call, or submitting a site or post to them. Each one has their own little ways of making sure that this process isn’t being done by automation software.
Now let’s boost your local SEO for contractors initiative!
To boost your local SEO for contractors campaign consider coordinating citations, websites that are not business listing directories, in other words. Press releases, profiles, post quotes, forums, and a whole slew of different resources can carry your NAP. Pitch to sites as a feature article or make a splash on social networking.
These unstructured citations are the most powerful for boosting your local SEO for contractors campaign. If they are on respectable websites, it is the best form of PR. If they are on platforms you do not readily acquire customers from, it opens you to a new pool of possible clients.
Value quality over quantity.
A mention about your business from a University, government organization, or prestigious news publisher will go a long ways to boosting your credibility.
Once your citations are built out, know that you are not done. In actuality, you have only just begun the continuous process.
Now, you’ve got three choices when it comes to local SEO for contractors citation management: do it yourself; outsource it, or automate it.
If you decide to manage it yourself, plan to reevaluate your citation listings (and your competitor’s) every six months.
Better to go ahead and pencil that into your calendar today because if you forget to check up on your citations you could slip in local SEO rankings and wont know it or why until it costs you in lost business opportunities and revenue.
How To Do A Local Citation Audit
There lots of reasons you want to run an audit on your contracting business citations.
Have you ever failed to keep up with your citations? Perhaps you have changed one of your business details: telephone number, title, business hours? Have you got a business that works in multiple cities, or even neighborhoods, and if so, are you keeping tabs on all these citations to ensure that there’s no changes made that will affect each locations local ranking?
Perhaps you have been procrastinating having to build or check up on your citations?
Regardless of the reason, citation audits are significant and necessary for making sure your rankings for contractor local SEO are in good order.
Inaccurate or duplicate citations is bad business. It hurts your local SEO for contractors rankings, not to mention it provides the wrong information to prospective clients who might get frustrated and go to your competitor instead.
If you’re planning to do this by yourself, you will have to comb the net with a fine-toothed comb, theoretically speaking,
You will want to find every listing of your NAP, make sure it consistently and accurality displays your information, and make corrections as needed to those that don’t. A discrepancy as seemingly minor as”Road” vs.”Rd.” can penalize your contractor business and lead to loss in local SEO rankings.
We won’t lie: it is time-consuming. It is a big huge pain in the ass to manually do this. But it must be done if you want more business.
There are services which can do this for you for a few hundred to a few thousand bucks. The turnaround time is generally between 6 to 10 weeks.
But if you would like to do it yourself, you can find free tools, such as Moz Local, which will show you how your business appears across a few big search engines: such as Google, Bing, and a dozen or so others.
Yext also provides a similar service and will scan the big directories so you know if there’s any discrepancies to fix or even directories you’re not yet listed on.
Synup includes a free scan feature that shows your business’s NAP across major citation directories and will also identify incorrect listings.
Check government sources also. They are viewed as credible resources by search engines. Some of these types of directory sites include the Better Business Bureau and the Secretary of State’s Filing for Business.
Are you listed as a “DBA”?
Now comes the fun part: tidying up.
How to Do Local Citation Cleanup
Let’s face it, your business NAP will get screwed up somewhere along the way. Some will get superimposed, or your previous address maybe recorded instead, or your business phone number listed is actually Sammy’s Gentlemen’s club.
Using a consistent name, address and phone number across all directories is vital to your contractor local SEO rankings.
Therefore, after you have scanned all your citation listings in an audit, it is decision time. Decide how you would like your NAP to look (best way would be the way you have it on your website) and stick to the same exact format every single time.
Another thing to keep in mind to watch for is how employees writing about your business is making sure the NAP is consistently done in the exact same way.
I will repeat this because it is important:
To get a citation to earn you points toward your local SEO for contractors rankings, it has to match exactly with the name, address, and phone number (NAP) on your site, in addition to your own Google My Business page.
That means the difference between leaving out the suite number inside your address or “Inc.” in your business name will hurt your local SEO for contractors rankings.
A partial citation (such as your business name and address, but no phone number) will still earn you a couple of points, but you’re going for the big 3-pack and half asking anything isn’t gojng to work here.
Fix your data in important data aggregators first (such as Acxiom). The bright side is that a large part of these large directories are interconnected with one another. When you fix one, often times, it is going to fix others automatically.
These large data aggregators will usually confirm your changes throughout your listed business phone number, so be ready to take that call and confirm it so it’s updated quickly.
Then, focus on your own local or industry-specific sources.
Delete any duplicate citation listings.
Know that some websites will be more challenging than others to correct your citations on the website. Some directories will let you manage your citation on the website; others will want to verify with a phone call or email a verification code.
For those that need email verification in order to change your business citation listing information, use the template below which can easily be copied and pasted to save you time.
Synup suggests using something like this:
State the Problem — replicate listing, incorrect NAP etc
Supply Link for reference
Provide the connection of this replicate citation (if you want a copy citation to be eliminated )
Give a time period and Request a notification mail when the problem is fixed
Name & Business Name
Now, keep in mind this is not likely to happen overnight. Google, for instance, may take you up to three times contacting them before they make any changes to your business information. Don’t give up and stay persistent. It’s worth it.
Going forward, it’s a good idea to create a strategy and nail down the specifics for the inevitable: mergers/acquisitions, transfers, rebranding, new business phone numbers, or email address changes. You may not think these events will ever occur, but if or when they do, you’ll be glad that you have a plan to clean up behind yourself.
It’s a good idea to document all of this on something like a Google document to monitor all of your live citations and have your username, email, and password on it for easy access by you or a designated employee.
Finally, your freshly built local citation work can be used to aid in the marketing of your contractor business.
Log in frequently to check stats, etc. Encourage reviews from clients. Respond to complaints, feedback, and pics.
Keep the door of communication open and your information up to date with fresh content.
Make a splash in local headlines and generally give local news outlets something positive to discuss in regards to your contracting business.
A solid presence with local SEO for contractors may be accomplished by building the right amount of citations in many different top-tier local directories.
My advice would be to clean up what is out there, audit your presence, then put some elbow grease into getting your citations consistent across every location they’re listed on.
Once all your ducks are in a row, then work on beefing up your citations to improve your contractor local SEO rankings on Googles local 3-pack.
By doing this, you will be reaping the benefits of fresh and consistent local citations boosting your local rankings.