In the past, Google Places listings would be displayed is a separate display from the organic results. Now the places listings are added to the organic listings – further promoting the importance of good organic search results and fundamentally changing the ways these listings are displayed.
By now, most Accountants realize that they need to claim their Google Places listing and fully optimize it for better results. But now that other competing CPA's are increasingly doing the same thing, the competitive real estate for these listings is rapidly diminishing. That is where citation building can help.
What Are Citations For Accountants?
The goal of Google is to provide the most relevant and accurate CPA search results to their users. Along with their organic search results, they also need to provide Google Places listings that are the most legitimate and relevant. In order to do this, Google goes beyond their initial claiming validation process and looks for other sources that help validate these listings. These third party sources, commonly referred to as citations, include other local listing sources such as Yahoo, Yelp, Bing, Best of the Web, Localeze, etc. In looking at these citation sources, Google ultimately wants to see your information listed the same on all of these sources – including your website and of course Google Places.
How Can CPA's Build Citations?
1.) Makes sure to claim and optimize ALL of your local listings from the major listing sources on the web. The two best places to do this are by going to http://getlisted.org to see where you are currently listed and to claim and optimize all of these sources. Second, you should create an account and listing in http://www.Localeze.com. Why Localeze? Because they send their complied list of local businesses to the search engines on a weekly basis.
2.) Make sure your accounting firm name and address is consistent throughout all of your listings. If your firm name on Yelp is different than that of Google, it could work against you so make sure they are the same everywhere.
3.) Make sure to claim your existing Google Places listing first. In most cases, existing and unclaimed Google Places listings are there based on citations from other sources which work to your advantage. By deleting these existing listings and starting over, you are actually putting yourself at a competitive disadvantage in more competitive markets.
4.) Remove duplicate Google Places listings based on listings claimed with the same phone numbers, addresses or both. It is OK to have multiple listings based on phone numbers and addresses that are unique to each location but each should be treated separately and not allowed to potentially compete with each other which may cause Google to suspend your listings.
These optimization processes are not something that the average novice Accountant can successfully master and definitely have their downsides when done incorrectly. Unless you have experience with these processes, I would advise that you contact a good search engine optimization consultant to handle this process for you.