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Local citations are an important local SEO ranking factor and an integral piece for your real estate marketing framework.
Along with other factors such as backlinks, local citations are one of the leading ranking factors for search engines to decide on the relevance of your website for local search results.
Basically, a real estate business that is consistently mentioned on other trusted and relevant websites achieve higher rankings in search results than a business that is never mentioned.
Obviously, ranking high for search results means that more potential leads will find your real estate website, which will have a positive impact on both on and offline traffic, branding, and conversions.
Use the following local citation tips and add them to your Local SEO Tips for Your Real Estate Marketing playbook.
Doing this ONE SIMPLE THING may help push you over the edge and could very well be one of the most effective SEO things you do this spring.
Get an advantage with your InvestorCarrot site and learn how to drive quality traffic to your site.
What Are Local Citations For Real Estate?
First, don’t confuse citations with links.
Remember, citations are just mentions of your name, address, and phone number. Google will increase your business’s relevance and strength within your specific city or region.
Yes, some of your business listings within the citation sites include a link to your website, but very few contribute to any Page Rank or “link juice”. Basically, you are claiming your digital footprint with Citations.
Moz explains local citations as:
Citations are defined as mentions of your business name and address on other webpages—even if there is no link to your website. An example of a citation might be an online yellow pages directory where your business is listed, but not linked to. Citations can also be found on local chamber of commerce pages, or on a local business association page that includes your business information, even if they are not linking at all to your website.
Citations are a key component of the ranking algorithms in Google and Bing. Other factors being equal, businesses with a greater number of citations will probably rank higher than businesses with fewer citations.
Citations from well-established and well-indexed portals (i.e., Superpages.com) help increase the degree of certainty the search engines have about your business’s contact information and categorization. To paraphrase former Arizona Cardinals’ coach Dennis Green, citations help search engines confirm that businesses “are who we thought they were!”
Google is always looking for websites that are real. Citations are one way to show Google that you’re a legit and real company.
Why Are Local Citations So Important For Real Estate SEO?
So, why are building citations for local SEO so important?
One reason is the vastly growing mobile search factor. According to a study done by Search Engine Land, 78% of local searches on mobile and 61% of local searches on laptops resulted in offline transactions.
In 2016, mobile devices (not counting tablets) accounted for over 46% of our member leads. That’s over a 5% increase over 2015 and in line with what Smart Insights “Digital Marketing Trends for 2017” report shows. There will continue to be a steady rise in consumer and company adoption of mobile devices.
It’s not a question anymore if mobile is important for real estate. It’s here and you MUST pay attention to it.
Another reason: Citations Correlate with Search Rankings
Local citations improve your search rankings through ongoing creation of relevant and consistent NAP information (name, address, phone number) across hundreds of websites, also known as citation sources.
The more consistent, relevant and localized your citations are, the more likely your business will be at ranking for people searching for your services and products in your area. Citations are basically another source of credibility that both Google & Bing consider when your business NAP is consistent across the web.
Image Source: BonsaiMedia
What Is NAP And Why It Is Important
#1 Most Important Thing: Make Sure Your NAP Is 100% Correct Every Time.
DON’T GET IT WRONG
Overall, the biggest contributor is the citation. There is link value within your listings that help strengthen the association of your website with your NAP information.
So, what is NAP?
NAP stands for Name, Address, and Phone Number. It is a crucial piece for any business who is striving to rank well in the local organic search results.
Search engines like Google take your information into account when determining which companies to show for local, geo-targeted, searches.
Again, it’s extremely important that you make sure your NAP is 100% correct. That takes into account, both your NAP on your website as well as any other sites that you have your information on throughout the internet.
It’s a consensus that local SEO experts believe Google, Bing, and all of the other search engines link your NAP information across websites that contain this information as a validation that you are a real and legit business.
The more localized citations you can build up with consistent NAP information, the better your chances are of ranking higher.
You should enter your NAP information into a directory with a strong reputation. This is especially true with real estate specific directories and/or your local directories.
What Happens If Your NAP Isn’t Consistent?
Infographic Source: Digital Information World
Before You Dive Into Building Your Local Citations
Prepare yourself by using this little cheat sheet of the most commonly asked for pieces of information.
- Your Name
- Company Name – The company’s exact name
- Email Address – Your email that will be connected to your business
- Address – The company’s exact address
- City – The company’s exact city name
- State- The state the company resides
- Zip – The zip code of the company
- Phone Number – The local phone number of the exact business location
- Company Website Landing Page – The landing page for the business
Set up a dedicated email address
Don’t use your main email address or your personal one.
These business directory websites usually make money by trying to sell advertising services.
So you may start to get a lot of “junk” email and some solicitation phone calls. The calls will tail off within a month or two, but the emails can really fill up an inbox.
Use the email address to confirm submissions, then let it capture the sales emails so it doesn’t clog your normal inbox.
Top Real Estate Citation Sites
Here are some of the top real estate citation sources. Please note that some of these services require a paid membership.
HomeAdvisor (formally ServiceMagic)
Your Local Chamber of Commerce
Local Citation Sites For Real Estate Agents
How Long Does It Take To See Results?
If you decide to take on citations yourself, it takes about 3-6 hours for the building process.
To get started, go to each citation website and submit your listing.
It varies on how long it’ll take per submission, but plan on 10-15 minutes each. You’ll be required to confirm each submission in the dedicated email account you setup.
Some listing go live fast, others may take weeks, others months. But the majority of them should be live within 2-5 weeks.
In general, SEO Rankings take:
Zero Competition Market: 2-3 Months (if there’s zero competition there’s usually not much opportunity)
Small Competition Market: 6-9 Months
Medium Competition Market: 1 Year
High Competition Market: 2+ years
Typically if you’ve done them right and you’ve completed 40+ on quality sites… you can see a ranking improvement within 2-3 months. That is assuming all other elements on your site are optimized for real estate SEO.
Make Your Own Website Your Best Citation
Make it really easy for Google to identify your website with your citation profile. Most likely the best citation you can start with is your own contact page.
Be sure to have your company name, address, and phone number on there.
Bonus Tip: Add the embed of your Google Places map to help Google further tie your website to that company name and location.
Grab the Google Map “Embed Map” code and paste in into the HTML section of your website. And, this will take about 60 seconds to do it!
Citations For Real Estate Frequently Asked Questions
Question #1: How fast will SEO be impacted?
Two to three months is about the time SEO could start showing an impact. Although it might not be dramatic at first. As stated above, there is a chance that highly competitive markets will take longer. Many, many months, if not years.
Question #2: Should I trickle citations out slowly or do them all at once?
Nope – you can do them all at once if you want. There is no evidence that speed of citation claiming will harm your SEO. It is not like backlink building where you can do it wrong.
Question #3: What if I use a tracking phone number for online marketing?
Overall… be sure to use the same phone number for citations that is on your Contact Page of your website.
You can still have a tracking number in your calls to action and at the top of the site, but it’s suggested that your main company phone number is on the Contact page – therefore matching citations.
Question #4: Should I use a keyword as my business name?
You’ll see some people ranking well with their Yelp or Facebook pages because they used a keyword as their company name.
Unless that is your company name or domain name, don’t do that.
Go with your actual company name or “Doing Business As” (DBA) name.
Question #5: What if I haven’t filed a business name yet?
If you’re serious about this business…
…you need to make that mental commitment of making it real and filing your business with your state.
If you can’t commit to that, it will be difficult to commit to the hard work it will take to succeed as a real estate entrepreneur.
So go out there and file your company name and get that done!
Verifying Your Citations For Real Estate And NAP
Not sure if you correctly submitted your citations? There are online tools that can help you find your listing all of your NAP citations.
Companies such as Whitespark feature easy to use citation finder tools.
Usually, you’ll need to enter some location data into the citation finder tool and you will get back a list of citations pertaining to the entered business and location.
Once you get the data back check the consistency of your NAP.
If there are citation websites that don’t have your correct business name, address and/or phone number then you should start reaching out to these sites or getting site access to update your citation.
Your goal is consistency.
Spelling mistakes or minor inconsistencies in your business name can have an impact on your local search rankings.
If your location is listed as Blvd on one website and as Road on another website, correcting this can have a huge impact.
Local Citations For Real Estate Building Can Be a Pain, So Here’s How We Make It Easy…
In simple words, citations are important for your website’s rankings, especially in local SEO. If you want to boost your website’s rankings, focus on citations and don’t worry about the backlinks.
You will have plenty of other places to get backlinks from. Focus on citations from reputable websites with good page rank and domain authority.
Citation building is one of the simplest SEO practices for real estate agents ad investors.
How to do it if you don’t want to do the work: Checkout the Carrot marketplace. We have a real estate citation service that can do it for you.
If you’re a Carrot member (very soon we’ll be offering non-member 3LPD services), we have a whole section on citation building in our 3 Lead Per Day Training (you can buy it here) so we thought we’d share it with you as a great SEO resource to jumpstart your year. You can access the entire 3 Lead Per Day Training and all 50+ detailed videos and checklists for only $99.