Online marketing is king in today’s business world. Without it, your small business may never reach its full potential. This is true of all industries, including massage therapy. Although massage therapy is built on person-to-person interaction, online marketing is vital to growing your client base. One of the most important facets of online marketing is Search Engine Optimization, or SEO. In order to make the most of your SEO efforts, it’s important to understand and utilize local citations.

** What is a local citation?**

Any mention of your massage therapy practice on the Internet is considered a citation; a link is not needed for the reference to be labeled a citation. Citations come in many formats, including but not limited to:

  • Practice/therapist name (by itself)
  • Practice/therapist name and phone number
  • Practice/therapist name, phone number, and address
  • Practice/therapist name, phone number, address, and link.
  • Phone number (by itself)
  • While all of the above are defined as citations when found online, most are only considered partial ones. To be a full citation, the reference needs to include at least your name or the name of your practice, your phone number, and your business address.

    ** Why are local citations important to massage therapy practices?**

    Citations are crucial to your local online search rankings, making up 25 percent of the top twenty search ranking factors, according to expert David Mihm’s Local Search Ranking Factors. In fact, citations are a key component of search engines’ ranking algorithms. What does that mean for you? In laymen’s terms, it simply means that the more quality citations your therapy practice has on the web, the higher your ranking can be in the search engines. This, in turn, results in more folks finding your information, which could potentially lead to an increased amount of new clients.

    In addition to improving your local search engine rankings, citations confirm with search engines that you are who they thought you were, and that you are part of a community. For someone looking to try massage therapy for the first time, being part of their community is a huge plus. This factor could determine whether or not that potential client becomes a paying client.

    ** Why are some citations better than others?**

    While most citations are beneficial, there are a few that will benefit your practice more than others. In fact, there is a significant variation in the value of citations. It’s all about where the citation is found online. The more reputable the website, the better value the citation will have. For example, a mention of your information on a government site is far more valuable than the same mention on a low-quality web directory. Remember to take this fact into consideration when creating your citations.

    ** What can you take away from all this?**

    If you’ve been under the impression that you can grow your massage therapy practice through word of mouth alone, you could be missing out on lots of opportunity! While word of mouth has plenty of worth and should certainly be included in your marketing efforts, building an online reputation will take your practice to heights you never dreamed possible. With the proper, deliberate use of citations, you can increase your local search engine rankings and significantly grow your clientele. Don’t be left behind; take advantage of the opportunities available to you online and start meeting your goals today!

    Not sure where to start? Don’t worry, we have you covered! Your FREE MassageBook account comes with our Visibility Index tool, which shows you exactly how you’re doing now, and the next steps you should take to be listed on some of the top citation directories.