What Are Citations And Why Do They Matter For Your Hotel’s Seo?
As a hotelier, we know that you will be very familiar with what hotel search engine marketing entails. You will have heard of the term ‘citations’ before. Citations are a vital element of local SEO – a marketing discipline that has become increasingly important with the rise of location-based searches from mobile devices. Are you using them to your advantage though? And are they being used as a stepping stone to reach your RevPar goals by making your hotel more easily found in the search results?
If the answer to those questions is no, now is the time to understand what citations are and why they matter to your hotel’s SEO.
What is a citation?
A citation is a combination of your business’ most important details on the web. These details should include – as a bare minimum – your company name, address and phone number (known as your ‘NAP’). A citation can also include your website and other details like opening hours, but the NAP is really the foundation of a local citation.
There are lots of different types of citations. The most common forms are in general business directories – things like Google My Business, Yelp and Superpages. There are also many industry-specific directories; for hotels, TripAdvisor is obviously the main one.
Social profiles count as part of your local citations, so it’s worth making sure your NAP is accurate and consistent on platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare. Citations can also be found on prominent local websites and blogs, as well as newspaper articles and press releases. Any page online that lists your business’ NAP can be classed as a local citation.
Why do citations matter for local SEO?
Citations are now a key ranking factor in the world of local SEO. They give search engines credible sources of information about your business, allowing them to verify that your business exists, and is legitimate. The more local citations you have across various directories, the more confidence that search engines like Google will have in your business – and the more likely they are to place you higher in their rankings.
Accuracy is also essential when it comes to citations. If you list two different phone numbers on various different directors (perhaps one that goes to your reception, and another that goes to your general manager’s office), search engines can become confused, and may end up prioritising a competitor over you in terms of rankings.
The same goes for duplicate citations. If you have two listings on Yelp, with very similar (but not identical) details, it can cause search engines to wonder which one of the listings is accurate – and as it has no way of figuring this out, it might end up dropping you a few positions on its rankings.
Basic dos and don’ts of citations
- Submit citations to as many directories as you can.
- Always use the same format and identical information when you submit citations.
- Audit and update existing listings to ensure total consistency.
- Remove duplicates whenever you find them.