First things first. The brand reputation of your construction company is probably quite important to you. It’s something you consider “offline” every day. It’s unlikely you would send your construction brands logo to another company without knowing their intentions. Well, you should be thinking about exactly the same thing online.
Today, we are going to talk about citations, and why they affect your construction companies performance in search.
So the first question is, do you know everywhere your construction company is mentioned online? And we mean everywhere. If you don’t know the answer to this – then citations are relevant to you. If you do know the answer, great, but citations are still relevant.
So, what is a citation?
Simply put, it’s any mention of your construction company online. It’s one of the key ranking factors for your performance in local search, so they are worth paying attention to.
Typically a mention will be recognised as your;
- Company name
- Telephone number
Although these aren’t the only components that can be recognised as a citation. We recommend checking out this article which gives more details on the core components of a citation.
We mentioned that a citation can occur anywhere online, but it’s common to find them on business directories (local or national), social media platforms, online newspaper articles and blog posts. For instance, if your company is listed on yelp.com, then it will count as a citation.
At this point, it’s worth noting that citations are different to link building. The main difference between a citation and a link is that a citation doesn’t have to include a hyperlink, and therefore can be any mention of your construction business online. Opposed to a link which, of course, will include a hyperlink. But, link building is a whole different ball game.
Are there different types of citations?
We’re glad you asked! Because, yes there are. They can be broken down into structured and unstructured.
Structured citations are usually found in directories or a website where you can change the information. For instance, when you put your details into “Google My Business”, it will ask you for your business name, address, telephone number and hours etc. This is perceived as a structured citation as you can change the details and have control over how they are presented.
Tip: if you have control over them, make sure they are consistent! Inconsistencies such as “Pauley Creative” vs. “Pauley Creative Ltd” can affect your ranking.
Essentially, this will be a mention of your business name – or a combination of information that could appear in a blog or an online newspaper article. Usually, you won’t have much control over the mention.
Tip: If you see an unstructured citation that doesn’t conform to how you want your information to be presented (I.e. Pauley Creative, instead of Pauley Creative Ltd), request the owner to update it.
What makes a good citation?
If you have citations built on trusted directories such as Yell.com or Yelp.com, then trust will be built in your site. A barometer to measure whether another site is trustworthy is to look at their domain authority, which is your websites reputation ranking. It is a score out of 100, but generally, a score above 40 is considered good, 50-60 very good, and 60+ is excellent.
If you have multiple “trusted” citations, then your prominence and credibility will increase. All affecting your rankings in search, which we all know are so important as 95% of people don’t even make it past the front page
Another factor to consider is the consistency of information, which is important as it helps Google (other search engines available) recognise your business. For instance, you can build up small variations of your business name, which can begin to result in inconsistencies. It’s best to keep things the same for search engines, much like you would offline
How much time and effort should I spend on citation work?
In the beginning, there will be more work simply because it can be a clearing up exercise – after all, it’s likely to be the first time you’re looking at them. The amount of time you spend will be dependant on;
- The number of incorrect citations (those inconsistencies we’ve spoken about)
- The number of branches/locations you have. (Unfortunately, each location will need to be dealt with separately as citations have the most effect from a local SEO perspective)
Once you’ve done the groundwork, it’s up to you how much of a priority this is (Afterall, you are a busy construction marketer juggling multiple projects). There are lots of tools and features you can use to make the most out of your citations.
We recommend dedicating between 5-20 hours per month, depending on how small or large your existing online profile is and how many branches you have. Typically, we’re spending this amount of time on citations for our clients.
Why does it affect how my construction business will rank in search?
All search engines crawl thousands, if not millions, of web pages every day to check their validity. The information they find will help them to build trust in your site and recognise its prominence and credibility.
They use algorithms that take many different ranking signals into consideration. It’s fairly well known that Google uses over 200 ranking signals in their algorithm. One part of this is “brand signals” – essentially this is how Google check that your brand is legit.
Citations or unlinked brand mentions are a key “brand signal” for most search engines. In local search (we’ll go into a little more detail about local and national SEO later), citations can contribute between 8 – 13% to your overall ranking performance. That’s why citations are an important part of your search strategy.
Why should I care about citations?
You should care about citations because they give Google certainty about your construction business’ information. Also, if they come from well-established sources, Google will begin to trust your business. Once you start to build up these citations, you will rank better in search and ultimately be easier to find for your customers.
Did you know that 3.5 billion google searches are made every day? That is worldwide – but the likelihood of a proportion of those searches relating to your products and services is pretty good. That’s one of the reasons why we think SEO is pretty important.
What is the difference between local and national SEO?
As you know, search engines operate on a global basis – anyone, from anywhere, can search online.
These searchers might not always be relevant for your construction business, which is why your SEO strategy might operate on a different level. If you have multiple locations (most of our clients do), where you can attract searchers/customers based on their location, it’s important to implement local SEO strategies – alongside your national strategy.
So what is Local SEO? It is where a searcher is using a location-based search to find what they need. For instance, “Where can I buy insulation roll near Milton Keynes”. When a searcher makes this type of query, Google knows that they are looking for results based on a precise location and this is what the searchers are served up in search engine results pages (SERPs). If your information is up to scratch on directories such as “Google My Business”, then you’ll put yourself in a good position to rank on these location-based search terms.
In national search, you might be ranking on a broader search term such as “what is the best insulation roll to buy” – you can see the key difference in results between local and national is the location.
As a starting point, having your Google My Business profile up to date for all of your locations can be crucial to providing Google with the right business information. After this, you might want to consider using a tool like BrightLocal, which can help you check out where you are cited online.
So, how do I begin to find out how many citations my construction website has?
Well, we would always recommend using a construction-specific digital marketing agency, like us, to help understand your SEO performance overall – not just for citations. We’ve got a wealth of in-house expertise when it comes to SEO, and it’s a big priority for us to ensure all of our client’s websites perform well in search.
So, to get started, ask your agency to set you up a citation and brand management dashboard, then pull a basic report to benchmark and create a list of priority recommendations.