- March 07, 2018
- Google Maps Boost
- Matt Marquart
A citation is how your company’s vital information shows up on the internet. Generally, it’s your:
- Phone number
A citation is your digital thumbprint. It’s important, like your thumbprint.
There’s a quiz at the end. So, remember that.
In this case, it’s not a reference to a study or some other parenthetical. It’s simply like this:
- HandBuiltBrands, LLC
- 8375 Westview Dr.
- Houston, TX 77055
For the sake of ease, I’ll refer to a citation as a “citation” or as your NAPW.
The more places that you have a consistent citation, the more credible your business appears.
The more credible your business appears, the more likely that a search engine wants to show it to their users.
So, yes, if your address is different on Google My Business, Yelp, Apple Maps & Healthgrades, could you imagine that it would confuse your patients or potential patients?
And if it confuses a human being, imagine the confusion that a robot like a search engine would see.
DOES NOT COMPUTE.
DO NOT SHOW.
SHOW COMPETITOR DOWN THE STREET INSTEAD.
THE ORIGIN STORY OF CITATIONS
The story that I originally heard is that they way Google Maps was created was that the three main directories at the time were Localeze, Infogroup and Acxiom. That information was overlaid on top of each other and …
whichever citations had the most consistent NAPW -> the more credible they would appear.
The more credible they’d appear -> the more often that a search engine would show that business’s information.
See the trend here?
YOU MAY BE SAYING, “PAUSE
AYFS, For real? There’s no way this is that important, right?” Ok, so I Google myself and look for the places where my citation is incorrect and I change that. Not that hard.
True. It’s not that hard to ensure that you have consistent citations. Here, I’ll give you a simple list of places to change your citation:
This graphic was created by what’s now Moz Local. Moz Local is a neat little system that checks and feeds the main directories/aggregators — Google Maps, Facebook, Foursquare, Superpages, Citysearch, Insider Pages, Best of the Web, Hotfrog Infogroup, Acxiom, Neustar Localeze, Yelp, Factual, Yellow Pages.
Our process actually uses a different system, but Moz has a good product if you’re looking to DIY it. And this is one of my favorite graphics on the interwebs.
SO, IF I’M IN YOUR SHOES …
… and I’m hearing this for the first time, I’m going, “Yeah, but my patients aren’t looking for me on Yelp [or insert Hotfrog, citysearch … yada yada yada … foursquare].
Right? They probably aren’t.
But having each of these consistent builds up your Citation Score, which is a measurement that we use to gauge the accuracy of your citations across all of the interweb.
…the higher your citation score –> the more credible you appear to the search engines
the more credible you appear –> the more likely that you’ll appear in the search results.
There it is again.
Plus, the interwebs have some wacky cross-pollination. For example:
iOS (also known as) the iPhone’s operating system.
Well (at the time of this writing) iOS may use Apple Maps for its location information, Bing for its search and Yelp for its review information.
Yeah. Yelp — for everything, including Doctors Offices — awesome right?
Potential patient: “Hmmmmm where shall we grab some brunch today, oh, how about this regenerative medicine clinic near me.” Umm eff no. But that’s the world we live in.
So the next time, you hear someone say, “Our reviews are terrible. Can we just delete Yelp?”
Please don’t. Just encourage honest and open feedback (read: more reviews) from other patients. You run a good business. You need to ask for the feedback, publicly and openly.
Now, wtf is a citation?
It’s your Name, Address, Phone Number, Website.
YAYYYYY. 100%. You did it. Hear’s your sign.
CONSISTENCY OF THE CITATION
It’s important that it’s consistently typed the same way.
Is it super important to have it like totally, exacting and exactly the same? No, not totally.
Our current stance is that St and Street are the same thing.
HandBuiltBrands vs. Handbuiltbrands vs HandBuiltBrands LLC is close enough.
Suite #. Egg. This is a little gray. It’s not crazy important IF there’s no similar businesses exactly near you. However, if you’re in an MOB (Medical Office Building), well, suddenly the suite number became pretty important for your patients and thus the robotic search engines too. If you have your office and an ASC in the same building, well, that’s important to distinguish the two.
One ninja trick we do is that we verify in our first audits that the master citation we use is the same as the USPS version of the citation. There ya go, that’s a freebie.
So, when else is a citation important?
How about when you move? Oh, shizzz no you diiiint. Oh you moved because you’re growing and moving on up. That’s great! Now go change all your citations!
AUDITING AND CHANGING YOUR CITATIONS AFTER A MOVE
Our Silver package is a good solution for this because it will give you a baseline of where you are right now. It’ll give you the citations that you currently have, what you need to change, it’ll show you your opportunities to grow and it’ll start the process for you. The Silver package is where we start all new customers. It gives customers a place to start and a way to see results quickly (within about a month).
Citation work is one of the foundational building blocks of the Google Maps Boost for Practices program. If you’re interested in finding out how your practice can start getting more patients and revenue, it’s best to start here.