Users, including potential patients seeking mental healthcare, prefer looking up businesses to solve their problems on Google. Think of it as the modern-day equivalent of yellow pages. But to improve your chances of showing up in front of potential patients, you have to start actively creating local citations.
In this article, we’ll discuss local citation’s role in a business’s digital marketing efforts and the best practices for managing them.
Let’s dive in.
What are Local Citations?
Local citations are the online mention of your business’ information, i.e., NAP (business name, address, phone number). Citations are crucial aspects of local SEO (search engine optimization) – a set of tactics that local businesses employ to make themselves discoverable on search engines, improve their local search rankings, and enhance their reputation among their prospects.
Local citation are mostly created on different citation sites (as structured citations), which mainly include online business directories. They can also be created on certain apps and social media platforms, in which case they are referred to as unstructured citations.
As far as mental healthcare practitioners and TMS therapy clinics are concerned, here’s how they can benefit from creating citations:
- Attract More Patients – local citations will help you create brand awareness among your local audience. For instance, when a patient searches for a geo-targeted keyword on Google or Bing (like “TMS clinic in Florida”), your website/landing page could appear atop the business listings as well as the search engine results page (SERPs), provided everything else is taken care of. This in turn can help you attract qualified leads.
- Get More Website Visitors – as mentioned earlier, your website’s appearance in local listings will help you build trust. This can help you attract high-quality traffic to your website.
- Rank Higher (Potentially) – when it comes to local businesses, three critical ranking factors include relevancy, proximity, prominence) for ranking local search businesses. With properly optimized local citations, your chances of ranking higher in the local search results increase.
Of course, in order to reap those benefits, you’ll need to ensure you’re creating your local citations the right way. However, before getting into the technicalities, it’s important to understand your options. This brings us to:
Types of Local Citations
Here are the different types of local citations that you can create based on the platform:
- Major Local Business Data Directories
First and foremost, business owners can create citations on various local business data directories, including Google My Business (GMB), Yext, Acxiom, Localeze/Neustar, Infogroup, brightlocal, Whitespark, foursquare, etc.
These data listing tools publish data for local businesses and help them gain traction on the web.
Furthermore, social sites and review sites like Facebook, Yelp, etc. also allow for citation building.
- Industry/Geo-Specific Platforms
Business listings can also be built on niche-specific and geo-specific websites/platforms. The benefit of using such directory listings is that they are relevant to your business category and can help you gain a highly targeted audience.
Examples include chamber of commerce websites, TripAdvisor, or other professional associations and guilds.
There’s even a TMS clinic directory. Creating a local citation here can help you attract qualified leads. To give you an idea of just how “targeted” these directories can get, there’s even an online directory for mental health care providers that specialize in diabetes management.
- The Wider Web
You can also build or earn citations on a wide variety of publications, including blogs, news sites, apps, maps (Apple maps, Google maps, etc.), government databases, etc.
You could either manually create your business citations or earn a spot based on merit/public liking.
In addition to the platforms mentioned above, data aggregators can also collect your business data and make it a part of relevant local directories.
Best-Practices for Managing Local Citations
By now, you must have realized the importance of local citations for your mental health care practice. If you’ve decided to step up your local SEO game, follow these citation management tips:
Use Consistent NAP
NAP refers to your primary business information, including name, address, and phone number. It’s crucial to attain NAP consistency throughout the web to avoid misleading your customers and losing revenue, reputation, and rankings.
While it may seem like a rather simple thing, it’s actually a critical local ranking factor (and so many businesses get it wrong). Always use the exact same name, address, and phone number when creating citations.
Avoid Passive Approach to Citation Management
A passive approach to producing citations for your business would entail relying solely on citation sources/aggregators’ organic services.
Opting for a passive approach for citation management and development can cause severe damage to your business’ reputation and revenue. Here’s why:
- Since you’re not actively creating citations for your business, it will result in a weak set of local citations for your business.
- The aggregators/citation services could make a mistake and publish inaccurate data about your business, resulting in duplicate and inaccurate data listing.
- You’ll be unaware of the inaccurate listings (on the internet). As a result, you won’t have any streamlined strategy to locate and correct the inaccurate data.
- You won’t have any strategy to remove/update data in case of business merger/ acquisition, rebranding, change of physical location, contact information, or other data crucial to your operations.
All in all, you won’t have any control over your clinic’s reputation that is automatically being built on the web, and you won’t have any method for tracking and managing your online reviews.
Share Accurate and Up-to-Date Information
Actively managing your citations keeps you updated with your business’ mentions on the web and will keep you in control of everything.
Ensure that you share accurate and consistent information across every source. That will help you solidify your business representation and enhance your credibility among your audience.
Citations have a significant impact on a business’s local rankings, reputation, and revenue.
Accurate citations can enhance your business visibility among the related audience. On the contrary, inaccurate citations will do the opposite, as they could misdirect your prospects and hurt your reputation.
Therefore, active location data management is a must for every local business.