Have you ever wondered how you manage to be listed as one of the local businesses in the maps results that show up when you do a local search on Google?
Well, if you have, then it’s high time you learned all about local seo and the importance of citations and how they can help your photography business rank higher in local search results.
Competition in the photography sector is tough and grabbing the attention of potential customers is difficult but with the proper use of citations for local SEO, you have a far greater chance of reaching out to more customers online.
What are Citations and how are they relevant to Local SEO?
A citation simply refers to a mention of your photography business on different sites on the Internet. Citations are divided by category into “structured” and “unstructured” citations.
Structured citations are those found in local directories while unstructured are those you may see in social media sites, blogs, forums and other sites. A typical citation contains the Name, Address, Phone Number (often referred to as a “NAP”) of a business. Some citations may contain links to the website of the business concerned while others don’t allow links. There are also sites where you can submit a brief business profile so would-be customers will know more about your photography business.
Citations for Local SEO
When it comes to photography Search Engine Optimization (SEO), having a high number of citations can really boost your chances of appearing in the Search Engine Results Pages (aka the “SERPS”) for specific search terms or “keywords”. This can give you an edge over your competitors who may only have a few citations. Therefore, the more citations your business has, then the better chances you have of ranking high.
Citations validate the existence of your business telling the online visitors that your business is real and trustworthy, and this is why Google pays so much attention to them. Loyal customers can even create reviews for your photography business and this can help entice more people to try out what you are offering.
Getting citations from different places on the internet helps build the credibility of your business in Google’s eyes.
How to Make Citations Work for You
Getting a citation might seem very easy but it is can be difficult. Yes you can submit your business to many local directories but if you’re not cautious, your business’ reputation (and search rankings) might actually fall instead of soaring high.
To make citations work for you, everything needs to be consistent and accurate. So it is a good move to prepare a business profile before you start. This profile should include your photography business name, the exact and correct address for the business, phone numbers, a short description of your business, email address, the photography sector or category the business operates in, business hours and details of the business owner/s. Most directories only require Name Address and Phone Numbers but it is better to prepare all relevant information as it might come in handy when creating citations in other sites. Consistency across citations is key!
Find the most credible and popular local directories. Check the directory before submitting a citation for there might already be an existing citation for your business. Remove any duplicate listing if you can and/or edit incorrect details. Make sure to submit only true and correct information so everything will be clear to your clients.
Joining forums and making connections with other photographers in the industry can also help your business. You can create citations in forums within the photography niche.
Why Are Citations Important to Local SEO?
Citations can help your photography business get more exposure online so that your target customers can easily find you. The more reliable citations you have, the higher the chance you have to rank first on local searches. Getting a citation on Google My Business is a great way to be found on local searches. Keep in mind that a lot of internet users nowadays check local listings when trying to find a product or service so it is best to have your business listed there.
What is “Google My Business”?
“Google My Business” is the platform that Google uses to plug your company’s geographical data into their local maps results. Therefore it is the key to helping your business get found in search results on Google. Adding your business on Google My Business is totally FREE. This wonderful “one-stop shop” service was launched by Google in June 2014 and was designed to integrate all of Google’s business related platforms into one place. The information you provide will be seen by your customers across all Google’s platforms like Google Search, Google Maps and Google+. If you have any old accounts from the previous generation of their systems i.e. Google Places for Business and/or Google+ Pages, then don’t worry, as they will have been automatically upgraded to “Google My Business”
Getting your Photography business listed on Google my Business
The first stage in any Citation building process is to check if your business is listed on Google my Business, and if not, get it added – Here is a step by step guide on how to create a “Google My business” entry:
1 – Go to http://www.google.com/business, click the “Get on Google” button if you are new to Google or click on “Sign In” if you already have a Google User Account.
2 – Next, search for your business by entering your business name on the search form.
3 – If you’re business is new and cannot be found, click “I’ve correctly entered the name and address – please let me fill out business information” – or you may see an “Add your business details” option
4 – Next fill out the business information form. Make sure to enter the correct Business Name, Address and Phone Number. Be consistent and use the same info that you used in other directories.
5 – Once set up, check your dashboard and complete your profile by adding the missing information like “add photos” and “add virtual tour”. “Add virtual tour” was designed for restaurants and other similar business establishments, however as a photographer, you can utilise this “add virtual tour” feature to show off your photography studio so customers can have a glimpse of how fantastic it is.
How to Be Found on “Google Maps”
Since Google integrated their services in one platform which is “Google My Business”, you also need to create or claim your business listing on Google Maps.
If you wondered why your business doesn’t show up on Google Maps as well as in google search, then you might have made a mistake when setting up your Google profile.
You should have created a “local page” rather than a “brand page”. Other reasons for not showing up on Google Maps searches include your “business not being verified” yet or you recently edited your business so the changes are still pending approval. You can find more helpful information on how to resolve these particular issues here.
How to Claim your Business listing in Google Maps
In Google, the information for business listings are originally gathered by Google from different sources such as phone directories, government sites and other popular directories. And so, when you search for your business in Google and find it has incorrect information, you should right away “claim” the listing and change any incorrect information.
After that, you will undergo a verification process via phone, email or post before the changes are visible online.
Not claiming your business listing can harm your reputation as spammers or competitors could hijack your listing or use it to their advantage.
How to Rank for Local Search Terms in Google Maps
In Google Maps search results, businesses are ranked by letters, letter A being rank 1, B as rank 2 and so on. Of course as a business owner you would want to aim for the “A” spot. For example, if a Google user types in “wedding photography Scotland”, he/she may see a result like this:
Normally, the user will visit the business listing which is ranked “A” before going to “B” so as a business owner we want visitors to go to our website rather than visit our competitor’s.
Other Ways to Rank High in Local SEO
Choosing Categories – When creating a business profile for Google My Business, you will be presented with categories to choose from. These categories are predetermined by google. You will need to choose the best primary category for your business then choose the most relevant secondary categories.
Think carefully before submitting the profile – These categories can affect your ranking as well your website traffic. Make sure to drive the right customers to your website. 2 or 3 categories are fine as long as all are relevant.
NAP Consistency – We can’t emphasise enough the importance to your local SEO success by being consistent in the Name, Address and Phone Number that you submit to directories, Google My Business and other websites.
An awesome Home Page – Your Home page is the first page that new visitors usually see on your site. If a visitor likes what they see, then they would most probably come back or recommend your site to their family and friends. Make sure your home page (and of course your other pages) contain lots of information relevant to your target keywords and target clients.
WordPress Plugins by Yoast – A website also needs to be optimised for search engines to easily find it. Choosing the right plugins for your WordPress site is the best way to check if your website already has been completely setup with the right tags, headings, title tags and keywords. Yoast produce a premium plugin add-in to their base SEO product – Yoast Local – this is highly recommended for local seo and well worth the few extra dollars.
Are you based in USA, UK, Canada and Australia? – Want us to create these citations for you?
Creating citations whilst being relatively simple to do, does sadly takes a lot of time – you have to research the correct citation sources and then spend hours creating accounts and directory entries on the sites concerned.
We can do it for you saving you hours and hours of work and giving your website a huge boost in local search results in the process.
Citations in Google My Business, directories and other websites can really help your photography business grow and to be found on the web for local search results. It is vitally important for your business to show up in local search results so make sure to target the right customers by applying the suggestions listed here. Local SEO confuses many photographers, so hopefully discovering the world of citations will make things a little bit easier for you!
Best of luck!
P.S. If you found this article on Local SEO and Citations useful and you think it may have helped your photography business in a little way, then please do us a huge favour by sharing the article on Facebook, Twitter and other Social Media – that would really make our day and would help our business in a little way as well – thank you!