I want to go into the importance of citations for local businesses as I have personally leveraged citations for all of my local clients and produced some really great results. Before reading this article, I’d advise reading up about Link Building and Citation Building as this article is written for readers that know exactly what these two things are.
What Is Link Building? – This article should help you understand more about link building, there’s a paragraph about citation building nearer the bottom.
I have a client that came to me explaining that they simply wanted to rank higher on Google. They hadn’t experienced any big drops, they hadn’t negatively been hit by any algorithm updates – they simply thought they could just do better.
Having suggested packages based on good locations in the UK to target, they wanted to stick to local SEO and rank in their area of Essex (Specifically Braintree). As they wanted to focus on their local area, they went ahead with my cheapest package. The Low Competition SEO Package, this is only £210 per month.
As with all my packages, I created a full SEO Strategy, covering on-site optimisation as well as off-site optimisation. The on-site optimisation included metadata optimisation, both of the title and description to improve CTR as well as new content based upon a content gap analysis conducted to my client’s competitors. The off-site optimisation involved a link building strategy including citation building.
As with most of my strategies I begin with the on-site optimisation. I trimmed down the site’s page’s weight, bettered the load times and rendering, as well as the metadata optimisation and content changes I mentioned earlier.
The average website page size is around 2mb, so this website was slightly over the average. The average load time is about 2-3 seconds, so this is pretty average!
After my optimisation, the site was loading faster than the average and about 1.3mb less page weight.
Once the on-site optimisation was under control I then started working on the off-site optimisation. As the relevant search terms being used to find the client was triggering local search terms (the biggest clue being the snack pack being activated when conducting a search), I knew citation building was going to be key here.
Over the next 2 months, I built citations on various directories. The client joined me on the 24th of April (my birthday funnily enough) and by the 5th of June, this is what happened to their visibility.
My original link building strategy was to build citations on the first month and then in June move onto link building. As citation building was going so well as the ability to obtain citations is near guaranteed, I decided to do one more month of citation building throughout June. For some reason, in earlier July the visibility dropped by about 0.5% – this shot back up to its original place soon after though.
I put this down to a weird glitch on Google’s part, either way, a 0.5% change isn’t the end of the world! It did make me realise that it was time to diversify the backlink profile though. I couldn’t keep focussing on citation building I had to start obtaining some high-quality backlinks. So, in early July, about the same time as the drop, I began some manual outreach.
With building links you have to allow for some time for Google to find the links and count them towards your website. After my manual outreach was a success (and utilised all of that month’s time), all I could do was wait for the results to pay off. Below is a graph of how it paid off, I’ve decided to show the visibility for the whole campaign till the end of July to give you an idea of the scale of improvement:
That’s right – the website shot up to just over 10% overall visibility. That’s 200% additional visibility from the 24th of April – July 31st (About 3 months) all for only £210 per month!