Local SEO is one of the most important strands of digital marketing for hotels right now, fuelled by the boom in mobile search and ‘near me’ search patterns. With more competition than ever from OTAs, local SEO for hotels gives smaller venues the chance to really make their mark and reach the top of search engine results pages. Location-based searches from mobile devices now make up a huge percentage of total search queries, and hotels can’t afford to miss out on the top ranking spots for these terms.
Perhaps one of the most important factors in local SEO is the local citation. So what exactly is a local citation, and why is it so important?
What are local citations?
A local citation in the world of SEO is basically anywhere you can find your hotel’s essential details on the internet. At its bare minimum, a local citation is made up of three elements:
• Phone Number
This is often referred to as your ‘NAP’. If your citation is missing one of these three crucial elements, it will be deemed incomplete and won’t show up on search results. A citation can also include additional details like opening hours, a contact email address or a website, but these aren’t strictly necessary.
Where do local citations appear?
They show up all over the web. Directories are perhaps the most common place where you’ll find local citations – sites like Yelp and Foursquare, for example. TripAdvisor is also a great example of a directory website that is essential for hotels.
Your social media profiles also have a section for your citation. Make sure your Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and other profiles have a fully updated name, address and phone number section.
Why are citations important?
First of all, citations are a legitimate ranking factor. The more consistent local citations you have, the more confidence search engines will have that your business exists, and is in the location you say it is.
As well as giving search engines confidence about your business’ legitimacy, citations will also help consumers put their trust in you. If they can place your business on a map and there’s a verifiable phone number connected to your listing, they’re more likely to believe you’re a reliable, trustworthy organisation.
Consistency is key
Consistency across all of your citations is absolutely vital. If you have different phone numbers listed on your Facebook and Yelp profiles (perhaps one that goes through to your office and the other through to the reception desk), Google will be confused about which one should be listed. It may end up listing neither of them, because it can’t verify which is the right number. Addresses must also be written out in the exact same format on each citation.
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