This is a question we hear almost every day from new prospects. Modern-day search engine optimization can be both confusing and overwhelming. One of the main variables in the ranking of your tax accounting practice is the amount of citations your business has scattered across the web. According to Moz’s Local Search Ranking Factors, citations make up to 25% of the top twenty factors.
What is a citation?
It is basically an online reference displaying your tax accounting practices name, address and phone number. This is known as your NAP settings. Google uses the amount of quality citations about your firm to help rank your brand.A quality citation is an exact match of your NAP information. So the more websites Google finds with your matching information, the more confident it feels that your business is legitimate and the information current. This is a differentiating variable when comparing local businesses for local search placement. According to Neil Patel, the third biggest negative ranking factor is a mismatched NAP. So if you recently moved or have old addresses out on the web, this will hurt your search results.
An example of mismatched NAP listings:
Dean Smith & Co, CPAs3300 Irvine Avenue, Ste 321Newport Beach, CA 92660versusDean Smith and Company, CPAs3300 Irvine Avenue, Suite 321Newport Beach, CA 92660A perfect citation for your practice would be identical in all mentions of your brand online. These minor differences can hurt your chances of ranking higher in the search results.
Where do I start?
There are a number of ways to increase your site’s number of citations. Many of them can be easy to manage, while others are more time consuming. When in doubt, hire a professional. But a hired gun can’t do all things for you. I have included some ideas that are often not thought of to increase the number of citations mentioning your brand online.Make sure you use the exact same NAP information and start with the following:
- Add and claim your brand on Directory Sites and Profile pages
- Verify your Google My Business listings
- Set up your LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter Pages
- Use press releases to increase your citation count
- Write guest blogs and online articles to collect bylines
- Participate in Q&A websites and forums
- Use your NAP info on image descriptions
- Use your NAP settings in YouTube video descriptions
- If you comment online using Disqus or other tools, add your NAP information to your signature
A citation does not have to include an inbound link to your website. If Google finds the exact same NAP setting on 75 sites across the web, it can be more confident that your business is alive and well, and showing your brand to searchers will help them find what they are looking for.
Citations can make or break your online visibility in searches. You can increase them yourself or have us handle the heavy lifting. Like inbound links and reviews, citations are one of the primary ranking factors used by Google when comparing your practice to others in your locale.