Below are some common citation myths that have an effect on a company's local SEO results.
Myth 1. Citations Must Include a Suite Number
Google doesn't even recognize suite numbers for the vast majority of business listings. Although a suite number can be entered in Google My Business, it won't be translated into the "Suite number" section in Google MapMaker – in fact, it is simply deleted. The search engine places more priority on the location marker of a business and less on what is typed in as the address as well. The recent Possum update released by Google introduced a filter for search queries that is location-based as well. This means that if your citations are missing suite numbers, you shouldn't focus on it – there are other more important aspects to be concerned about that will affect site rankings.
Myth 2. Small Differences in the Name of a Business are "A Big Deal"
For example, a business's official name is, "John's Tractor Sales," but one citation lists the name as being "Tractor Sales by John" and another still lists it as "John's Tractor Sales in Ottawa." While these differences may seem like a search-related crisis, it's important to remember that Google's algorithms are clever enough to realize that they are all for the same business – especially if contact numbers and addresses are all identical. After all, if the search giant wasn't able to recognize that these 3 businesses are one and the same, it would result in there being numerous duplicate listings online.
Myth 3. The Process of a NAP Cleanup Should Include Altering an Array of Listings across Hundreds of Sites
A large number of not so honest SEO companies try and use this as a scare tactic to get clients to hire their services – and in most cases, it works exceptionally well in this regard. They coerce a small business into paying a sizeable sum of money in order to perform a full citation clean-up on their behalf. This service will involve them scanning all of your incorrect information and afterwards, they provide you with a list of dozens or even hundreds of directories that are displaying incorrect information about the business in question. The SEO Company then convinces the business that all of the incorrect listings are causing their Google rankings to drop significantly.
Instead of giving in to panic or scare tactics like these, business owners need to be advised that that in most cases, issues like these can be remedied by amending their details on Local.com. In most cases, Google won't even have indexed the vast majority of the URL's that display the incorrect information anyway. If the content hasn't been indexed to begin with, it is not worth worrying about.
Myth 4. Citation Building is the Only Form of Link Building Strategy that is needed to be Successful with Local SEO
When performing their Local Search Ranking Factors study, Local SEO Guide discovered that while citations are very important, it should not be the only form of back linking strategy that is being used. If this is the case, there is a strong chance that the website in question will not rank overly well in competitive markets at all. During the study, it was also noted that links are also the main competitive differentiating factor – even when Google My Business Rankings come into play. This means that if a business is in a highly competitive industry and it wants to ensure that it dominates the 3-pack, it is crucial that its webmasters consider using additional back linking strategies as well.
There you have it – while citations are an important part of SEO, they should not be the only factor taken into consideration when engaging in back linking.