There are lot of key components that go into improving local SEO, and one of those is building local citations for your business. Before I dive into talking about BrightLocal, here’s a quick rundown of what a citation is, as I think the definition is often confusing. A citation is a mention of a business on the internet, whether that includes a link or not, and usually the citation will include the address and phone number of that business.
A few examples might be:
- An online Yellow Pages directory, but no link to the site
- A local chamber of commerce page that includes your business information
Keep in mind that citations don’t necessarily mean “linked to.” Citations are a mention of your business, though occasionally you will see a website link listed in a citation if the option is available.
Now that I’ve given you a brief lesson on citations, let’s talk about BrightLocal and how to achieve a consistent and strong citation profile. The platform offers a number of SEO tools for local search, including a rank checker, an SEO-checkup tool, and citation tools. One that I use daily is the Citation Tracker, so we’ll focus on the citation tools in this case.
If you want to utilize BrightLocal solely for citations, Citation Tracker will become your best friend. BrightLocal recently made a change to its interface, making it a little more user-friendly, too. Each business now has its own dashboard where you can assign multiple locations.
What the tool does: Grabs name, address, and phone information (also called NAP details) from citations you already have, shows the top 50 citations and the potential citations where you can also see what citations your competitors are listed in.
How to best utilize this tool: There are four tabs in Citation Tracker that you can view within a report—Top Citations, Active Citations, Pending Citations, and Potential Citations. Top Citations and Potential Citations should be your primary focuses when using this tool.
Start with the Top Citations tab and work your way through the list, correcting any NAP issues or duplicates that the report detects. Duplicates confuse search engines and inconsistent NAP details are red flags, too. You can make little notes along the way to remind yourself which citations you’ve updated, what needs to be fixed, etc.
From there, move onto the Potential Citations tab where you can examine citations worth pursuing. It gives you a rundown of citation authority, the value, if the citation is free or requires money, and if one of your top five competitors are listed in any of these citations.
The tool is really beneficial for keeping track of your online business listings in one place and informing you of which quality citations you’re missing. You can manually run a report 10 times each month to detect new and updated citations.
Citation Burst is pretty straight forward. This tool is great if you ever hit a wall with citation building or you’re looking for technology to take over and help complete the job for you. After all, there are thousands of directories out there. Citation Burst does cost additional money, however.
What the tool does: Starts a citation campaign and allows the BrightLocal in-house citation building specialists to clean-up existing citations, fix wrong information, and submit new directory listings to thousands of quality online directories.
How to best utilize this tool: While this tool usually does the work itself, it’s definitely worth considering if you’re on a time crunch or are struggling to update information. It’s best to run through Citation Tracker first, and then move onto Citation Burst if necessary. The BrightLocal specialists also provide login access to any citations they submit to so that you can update listings in the future if needed.
At the end of the day, it’s important to pursue quality listings and ensure consistency with your NAP details to improve your business’s local SEO.