How you can take advantage of citations to improve your SEO
It’s no secret that building authoritative backlinks requires a combination of passion, creativity, relationship-building with key influencers, and perseverance.
But, what about the easy to attain backlinks? Isn’t there a way you can build links to your website that doesn’t involve some sort of SEO wizardry? Yes!
I’m about to give you my list of internet directories (often called “citations”) that I set up for all of my clients. I’m also going to tell you my step-by-step process which I use to ensure my client’s websites rank atop Google search results for some of the most competitive keywords in the dental industry. This process is almost 100% fully automated and it can potentially rank your website on search engines for keywords that bring you new patients every month.
For example, SLO Smiles (a dental office in San Luis Obispo California), was able to improve their Google rankings in record-breaking time by earning Google reviews and improving their citations. Even early on in their SEO campaign, they’re ranking on page 1 of Google. I go into the SEO secrets that I use to rank dental websites all over the world at the end of this article.
But first, here’s my list:
Keep in mind that this blog post might need to be updated periodically, and my preference for the top-level citations might change. This also doesn’t include the top 12 citations, which we’ll get to later in this blog post.
The goal is to have your dental practice name, address, and phone number be as consistent as possible across all these directories/citations. The reason why this is helpful for your local SEO is because search engines want to make sure that they’re displaying the most accurate contact information possible for your Google, Bing, or Yahoo listing.
To illustrate the importance of having consistent citations, imagine 3 of your existing patients all referred to you to a prospective patient. One of the patients says you’re office is located on 388 Pacific Way, Suite B. your second patient says that you’re “somewhere on Pacific Street…I can’t remember where, but it’s by the McDonald’s.” Your third patient says you’re located at 378 Pacific Way, Suite A “or something like that.”
Odds are, your prospective patient will find you, no problem. But if you put yourself in the position of Google, you realize that in order to be a trusted referral source, you need to be certain. Google likes to list information which has no split of authority. If Yellow Pages has you listed at Suite B, but Yelp has you listed as Suite A, this results in uncertainty for Google’s algorithms.
We want to remove all the uncertainty, because uncertainty typically results in lower rankings.
Now that you have the list of the top 100 citations I use to make sure Google, Bing, and Yahoo are certain of your practice’s name, address, and phone number (often called “NAP”), and you understand why citations matter for your SEO, we can talk implementation.
Here’s the bottom line:
If you want to do dentistry, you can’t spend all day establishing, verifying, and periodically correcting your citations.
Even though I have a very hands-on SEO approach when it comes to content creation and link building, I don’t waste my time doing the copy n paste dance involved in citation building. I use a few different tools and hire some help.
Step 1: I hire an overseas virtual assistant.
This person usually does only citation building as their living. You can typically find someone good for around $5/hour. You provide the citations they should build for you (see above), or sometimes they already have their own list that they use. I’d recommend websites such as Guru.com or Freelancer.com.
Step 2: I use automated tools.
While I hire a virtual assistant to help me with the lion’s share of citation building & correction, I also follow up with some tools. If you’d like the simplest approach, you can hire my company to help you.
Sticking to the DIY route, you can cut out the management of an overseas virtual assistant (which comes with it’s own challenges), and simply use a service such as the following:
Bright Local, Moz Local, Yext, or Loganix.
Loganix and Bright Local hire people to manually build and correct your citations. This will make sure that you get the citations I covered, above. They send you clean, easy to understand reporting. The process usually takes around 6 weeks, but it depends on how many citations need building, verifying or correcting your citations.
Yext and Moz Local work a bit differently. They automatically correct many of the top citations, and some of them might not be included in my above list. Yext owns/controls many citations, and they don’t always make it easy to correct the information listed (at least until you subscribe to their service).
Yext and Moz Local are great if you plan on changing locations within the next year, simply because they can change tons of citations with a single re-entry of your new practice name/address/phone number.
Depending on the case, I will use manual (virtual assistant), Moz Local, and Yext in combination. This will usually get you the best, fastest results.
Step 3: I quickly check the reports.
If you want to go the DIY route, you’ll want to check all (or at least most) of the citations, yourself. Periodically, citations tend to change for a variety of reasons that are outside our control. I tend to check citations every 6 months to ensure we keep them as consistent as possible. Obviously, if you’re experiencing SEO issues, you’ll want to check more often.
In my experience, citation building and consistency is just par for the SEO course. While citations are important, you may not see any new patients from instilling this tactic, alone. The secret to gaining a huge competitive advantage is to join dozens of other dentists who are enrolling in my dental SEO course. To find out more about my course, simply Google “Invisalinks Method,” or click here.