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A Local SEO Citation You Never Knew You Had

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A Local SEO Citation You Never Knew You Had

Tim Capper
A Local SEO Citation You Never Knew You Had

When it comes to building citations, most local SEO's will either build them from a list, starting with aggregator's and move onto more niche local sites, or you can use a submission service to take care of this for you. 

The pain point with local business citations begins when the business makes a change relating to Name, Address, Phone Number (NAP), removal of a service that affects their primary category or modifying opening hours. If you are not using a listing management service you have to log into each site and update the details.

Then you have to wait for the page to be found and crawled again by Googlebot for these updated details to start filtering through, with some lower tier sites taking months to be crawled again.

But what if there was a Local SEO citation that:

  • Updated NAP automatically
  • Updated images automatically
  • Updated categories automatically
  • Updated opening hours automatically
  • Updated services, menus or products automatically
  • Displayed your Google Posts
  • Was powered by Google

Now that would be an amazing citation!

You already have this available to you inside your Google My Business listing, all you need to do is enable it.

Your Google My Business Citation

Okay you got me, this is not a directory citation, but it is still a citation in the technical sense; maybe more web2.0. 

In June 2017 Google My Business launched their single page website builder which is integrated with the GMB listing. It is intended to provide small businesses without a website the ability to create their own single page, mobile-friendly website on its own subdomain within "business.site".

And before you pew pew these websites, kind in mind, for a small business they are working pretty well.

Position Tracking of a Google My Business Website

Since its initial launch, GMB has added service menus, food menus, product inventory and Google posts automatically to the site, so the page grows as you update your GMB listing.

And unlike some citations (non-promoted), they actually drive traffic.

Google My Business Website Traffic

Has this sparked your interest yet?

Enabling Your New Citation

The beauty of this citation is you only need to enable it. If you have properly optimized your Google My Business Listing the only additional thing you need to do is pick a theme and add your page content; all the additional content from your GMB listing is pulled through automatically. Here is how to do that: 

Create / Enable

Select website in your GMB listings navigation.

Select Website in Google My Business Listings Navigation

This action starts the creation process.

Pick your:

  • Theme

Edit:

  • Primary Button - Call Now, Book 
  • Headline
  • Description
  • Summary Header
  • Page Copy (don't forget to add a link to your main site)

Publish:

Your new domain will be your business name, once you hit publish you have an opportunity to edit this, like adding a location or service into this.

Publish your Google My Business Citation

And no you do not want to "Buy Domain" this is intended as a citation.

In the early days of creating a GMB website, your main URL was replaced at this stage. They have since fixed this, but I still do a double check out of habit to make sure my actual URL has not been replaced.

Automatic Updates

When a user adds a Google Post to their GMB listing, the post is automatically added to the website. And information that gets updated on the GMB page – menu, service, times, tel number – is automatically updated on the single page website. You don’t need to tell it to do this; equally you cannot turn this off, because they are connected automatically.

Google Posts

Google Posts Automatically Added to Page

FYI: Your Google Posts are also indexed on their own page.

Service Menu:

Service Menu Automatically Updated on Page

When you update services or prices, these update automatically.

Restaurant Menu:

Food Menu Automatically Update on Page

Product Inventory: 

Product Inventory Automatically Updated to Page

Say whaaat?

Glad you are paying attention, yes product inventory.

This option is currently in Beta and not yet rolled out. In a nutshell, you can add products to your GMB listing which appear within a product tab/carousel in Knowledge Panel.

Business Info:

NAP Details Automatically Updated on Page

And finally, the business details are also updated on the page as you update your GMB listing.

There you have it, the best Local SEO citation you never knew you had!

Tim Capper
Master

A veteran community member.

Tim Capper is the Director of Search at Online Ownership, with 10yrs experience in SEO and SEM. Having owned and operated a restaurant and hotel in the UK’s Lake District, Tim has naturally gravitated towards SEO within the travel market, both nationally and globally. Now Tim is a Google Top Contributor and a moderator in the SEO Questions community on Google+.
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Comments

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Newcomer

Either just recently joined or is too shy to say something.

Thanks for sharing post on citation flow and digital marketing . Before I have too much confusion on this topic but you providing astonishing stuff. Keep continue to post this type of quality content.
Helper

An experienced member who is always happy to help.

Thanks for the great tips! So many people don't fully take advantage of all the benefits Google has to offer.
Tim Capper
Master

A veteran community member.

Alison Ver Halen
Thats very true, it pays to keep up to date.
Janella barmer
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Thanks for this great article. I will implement this for the local citation :)
Tim Capper
Master

A veteran community member.

Janella barmer
Hey Janella

Glad you found it useful.
Enthusiast

Occasionally takes part in conversations.

Finally someone has made an effort to simply explain the most crucial factor local SEO - Thanks Tim! I see that you tracking keywords with no volume which is great I use the same method as I believe that there is still some data but is so small or it hasn't been picked up be semrush yet. Nice one mate!
Tim Capper
Master

A veteran community member.

Milosz
Hi Milo

The business.site that I was tracking in the article was for a barber - BUT they are using the Google My Business website as their main site, not a citation.

I included it to show that these business.site do actually hold their own in search and would make a great citation.

Regarding search volume, I don't get all fuzzy over it. If I see an opportunity for quick wins, hey why not.
Muhammad Junaid
Helper

An experienced member who is always happy to help.

Hey Tim, nice see your post but I have a question that is there any risk in cancelling an automated citation service?
Tim Capper
Master

A veteran community member.

Muhammad Junaid
Hi Muhammed

It depends which service, some do remove citations after cancellation - check with the provider.

If yours does do this, then download details before cancelling and just replace manually.
Nate Schoell
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This does not sit well with me at all. If I want them to land on this "citation" that means I am causing them to not land on my website or any one of my website's landing pages. And Google already has all this information, it is literally coming straight from the GMB dashboard, so no additional benefit there. The BEST thing MAY be that this replaces a competitor citation in the first page of SERPs, but if this can make it to the SERPs, then why not one of my other website landing pages? Other citations are much better to have in SERPs because they represent the website and pages I own and directories that I do not own. And these directories can be powerful search engines in their own right, so they have that value as well. I much rather have, in this order, these citations in SERPs: Homepage, 1+ main website Landing Pages, Industry Directory Profiles, Industry Unstructured Citations, Local Unstructured Citations, General Directory Profiles, etc. I try to keep clients from creating this GMB Website because it has no worth if they have an actual website. If it does have worth, then I can just make infinite number of single page websites to act as "citations". But that is spammy, duplicate content, and bad idea.
Tim Capper
Master

A veteran community member.

Nate Schoell
Hey Nate

I get what you are saying, but this is yours and fully branded - unlike other citations where there are 100 plumbers listed right next to you.

Equally they can click right through to the business and local pack.

This would not be anything other then Branded if you are using as a citation, so it would not be replacing one of your sites pages.

If you were using it in this way, it would rather be a web 2.0 kind of scenario and not a citation in the true sense.

So in terms of owning your brand - perfect.
Mansi Rana
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Either just recently joined or is too shy to say something.

Thanks for sharing this great article.

Can you please give a brief about How to get featured in Zero Ranking?

Looking forward to hear from you soon!
Editors' Pick
Tim Capper
Master

A veteran community member.

Mansi Rana
Editors' Pick
Hi Mansi

When you mean Zero Ranking, you mean having a "One Box" displayed for your business, instead of having a local pack of businesses displayed.

OR

Do you mean having an "Answer Box" displayed.

I'm going to go with the former a "One Box" as this is related to local SEO, so here is a brief overview.

The "One Box" is typically dependant on the amount of businesses competing for that local search query. If there is over 3 competitors you will more then likely never achieve a One Box for that query.

However if you have a very small local pack with just 3 other businesses (and this is crucial) fall within the category BUT not actually specific to the service then there is a chance of usurping the local pack for a One Box.

Its very rare but it is do-able.

An Example:

I was working with a vascular surgeon - search query: varicose vein treatment + location

The other 2 in the local pack were hospitals, but did not specifically have this mentioned on site but were added by association (semantic understanding).

Over time as we worked on building up the sites authority for this, Google started to display a One Box for this search query and no longer displayed the local pack.

As I stated above, this is not always possible based on the search query, but in certain circumstances it is possible, or in super local search queries.

In a nutshell you have to build the suites authority for that search term / service that Google feels confident in showing only your business in the KP.
Newcomer

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Tim Capper
This comment was deleted.
Tim Capper
Master

A veteran community member.

Reya-Mae Saligumba
By building your brand online
Newcomer

Either just recently joined or is too shy to say something.

Hi Tim,

Thanx for this wonderful information! I will surely try this for the local citation :)
Tim Capper
Master

A veteran community member.

Jhonathan Brown
Hey Jhonathan

Yup, give it a go, nothing to lose and ever so easy to set up.
John Jantsch
Newcomer

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Tim - what're your thoughts on Google finding a way to use this citation/site to push your actual site down the list?
Tim Capper
Master

A veteran community member.

John Jantsch
Hi John

A great question.
However I have never found it to rank above the original site. In most cases its found page 3 / 4 for very popular sites and for others I have found bottom of page 1.

I guess it could be possible if you threw a ton of links to the site.
Enthusiast

Occasionally takes part in conversations.

Hi,Tim
Thanks for the useful ideas.I should give this Google Dir a try finally :)Noted your comment about the product inventory.I guess Google will swipe Yelp and the others from the map completely at some point.
Tim Capper
Master

A veteran community member.

Up
Hey UP

At the last Google Summit I was talking to some Googlers about creating an actual searchable directory on the main TLD. You already have 10 million users, verified, content etc etc

They could wipe out quite a few directories from search with this, but they did not seem to keen on this and to be fair, they are not really in the business of creating competing sites - it may also not go down to well in terms of competition rules.

But hell yeah, they could really do so much more with business . site
Enthusiast

Occasionally takes part in conversations.

Tim Capper
I think this will be combined with social aspect.Google+ didn't manage to do it but I reckon lesson was learned and something BIG is cooking there.
Newcomer

Either just recently joined or is too shy to say something.

Very interesting post on local SEO citation. Awesome tips and step by step explanation.

Really appreciate the way you have written and explained.

Thanks for sharing it with us. Worth reading it.

Good work..!!
Tim Capper
Master

A veteran community member.

Lisa George
Hey Lisa

Glad you found it useful.
Newcomer

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awesome article .....after long time i have found such article.
Tim Capper
Master

A veteran community member.

simply global media
Hey Simply Global

Sorry it took you so long to find such an article, but you made it. :)
Tim Capper
Master

A veteran community member.

Hey Readers!

Quite surprised that no one has asked about the new GMB feature that I mention towards the end of the article, that is currently in Beta .... very juicy :)
Suganthan Mohanadasan
Enthusiast

Occasionally takes part in conversations.

Nice tip. Thanks Tim :)
Tim Capper
Master

A veteran community member.

Suganthan Mohanadasan
Glad you found it handy Suganthan

Sometimes the small tips are the best ones :)
C. Alex Velazquez
Expert

Provides valuable insights and adds depth to the conversation.

Great tip! I tried spinning some of these up for clients, simply because these Google 'micro-sites' do allow you to make backlinks from them to wherever you choose, hence (even if they are a Google-owned property), passing some link juice and authority. Time will tell if this technique contributes or doesn't, but ultimately I agree with everything you said! And for a smaller business, just might be the best way to go! Great post! Cheers!
Tim Capper
Master

A veteran community member.

C. Alex Velazquez
Hi C.Alex

Yes you can add in links, however if using this as a citation, I would just link your brand name and or the location page for that business.

When you say time will tell - what are you basing that on ?

In my experience and testing, these already contribute more direct traffic and phone calls then a yell citation for example - so already winning in my book.

And for a small business, using them as an actual website is working well too.
C. Alex Velazquez
Expert

Provides valuable insights and adds depth to the conversation.

Tim Capper
Mainly, if using specific anchors for links from those micro-sites have an effect on rank for explicit search terms. I had one client in particular, where it seemed to over time, but others not so much, however, since business.site is a DA 31 domain (DR 91 if using aHREFS), I tend to think that yes, there is definitely some ranking link juice delivered. Also, it's interesting that some of these micro-sites that get spun up tend to hold very good ranks for some very competitive terms, especially if the name of the brand matches up with the exact, explicit search term being used to find something,... example... just popped up chrome incognito and searched 'seattle furniture company' (now, I am here in Orlando, FL so we would agree that I am pretty far away from their local search market), but... VIOLA! Their business.site profile comes up #2 in the SERPS, for a term ('seattle furniture company') that is searched (Hat Tip SEMRush for this next piece of data),... ~approx. 390 times per month. So obviously, if these micro-sites can rank on their own 'two legs', totally worth spinning them up. I was just saying that time would tell if their backlinks for unbranded terms were really as valuable as they should foresee-ably (and predicatably) be (being that this domain is a Google property with high DA/DR), that's all. Again, great piece! Loved it!

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