One of the most important aspects of local SEO is building high-quality citations and there are some UK usual suspects but sooner or later you will get to the point where you need to take a look at what your top competitors are doing so you can further refine your approach.
To do this we can use some advanced search queries (that are really pretty simple) and find out what structured and unstructured citations the top players are using and importantly what they are doing with them.
Citation cream rises to the top
Another reason why using Google to find competitors is a wise move is that Google shows pages that it likes first so as long as there is no bias in our search query then the better ones should come up first giving us those top competitor citations first.
Finding Competitor Citations
To find our competitor citations we are going to search for their business name and postcode. We are going to wrap these values in double quotes so they are searched for exactly as they should be:
So, that is going to look like:
We also want to remove results from the client’s own site so we can use two advanced query operators: site & – (the minus sign). The site shows listings from a given site so to see everything from www.bowlerhat.co.uk we would search for:
The minus sign allows us to remove anything that meets that query so to see everything but results from www.bowlerhat.co.uk we would add:
Creating our competitor citation query
So, to query a competitor’s citations we simply combine these two elements and search for the exact name, postcode and exclude all results from their site as follows:
So, if I was your public enemy number one then you would be using:
The results will list all of your competitor’s citations with the better ones first so it is worth spending some time browsing through them and compiling a list so you can create your citations. I tend to like to do this for the top three competitors in the local results and even the organic results for your targeted keywords and you can really find a diverse list of citation opportunities.
Remember, the total number of citations is important but the quality of those citations, number of reviews, review ratings and your on page SEO all factor into this so audit these elements on your top 3 competitors and identify their strengths and weaknesses and make sure you cover all the angles.
Please share this post if you found it useful and if you have any questions or want help finding the citations that are best for your business then give me a shout on Twitter, Facebook or Google+and I will get back to you ASAP.