Local citations are important for any business that wants to rank well in search engine results, but especially for businesses that rely on local customers. These days, potential customers are more likely to search for businesses online before visiting in person. That means that if your business doesn’t appear in search results, you’re missing out on many potential customers.
One way to improve your business’s chances of showing up in search results is to ensure you have a strong online presence. One important part of having a strong online presence is building up your business’s local citations.
What Are Local Citations?
Local citations are mentions of your business on the internet, along with your business’s name, address, and phone number (NAP). These citations can come from directories, websites, and social media platforms.
For instance, here’s a local citation for a medical practitioner:
The important thing is that your NAP information is consistent across your local citations. That way, search engines can easily verify that your business is legitimate, and potential customers can easily find your contact information.
According to Moz, “citations are a key local ranking factor and one of the core elements of any solid local SEO strategy.” So if you want your business to rank well in search results, you need to make sure you have strong local citations.
Why Are Local Citations Important?
Local citations are important for two main reasons: they improve your business’s chances of showing up in search results and help potential customers find your contact information.
Search engines use local citations as one of the main factors when determining where to rank businesses in search results. So if you want your business to appear at the top of search results, you need to ensure you have many high-quality local citations.
In addition to helping search engines find your business, local citations also help potential customers find your contact information. If someone is searching for a business like yours and comes across a mention of your business that includes your NAP information, they’re much more likely to contact you.
How Can Citations Help People Discover Your Business?
It’s one thing to rank well in search engine results, but it’s another thing entirely to get potential customers to click on your listing. That’s where local citations come in.
Local citations help people discover your business by giving them the information they need to find you. That might seem small, but it can make a big difference in whether or not people contact you.
For example, let’s say someone is searching for a plumber in New York. They come across two listings in the search results:
Listing 1: “Hub Plumbing & Mechanical”
Listing 2: “Rite Plumbing & Heating”
Both listings have the same basic information, but Listing 2 also has the plumber’s NAP information. Which listing do you think the person is more likely to click on?
Most people would choose Listing 2 because it’s easier to find the plumber’s contact information. And that’s why local citations are so important.
What Are Different Types of Citations?
There are two main types of citations: unstructured and structured.
These are mentions of your business that don’t include your NAP information. They can come from websites, blogs, and even social media platforms.
Some examples of unstructured citations are:
- Mentions in news articles
- Mentions in blog posts
- Mentions on social media platforms
For example, if someone mentions your business in a blog post or review, that would be an unstructured citation.
These are mentions of your business that do include your NAP information. The most common type of structured citation is a directory listing.
Some examples of structured citations are:
- Directory listings
- Social media profiles
For example, if your business is listed in the Yellow Pages or on Yelp, that would be a structured citation.
What’s the Difference Between a Good and Bad Citation?
Not all citations are created equal. In fact, there’s a big difference between a good citation and a bad one.
A good citation comes from a high-quality website that is relevant to your business. It should also include all of your NAP information and be free of any errors.
A bad citation, on the other hand, comes from a low-quality website or is not relevant to your business. It might also include incorrect NAP information or other errors.
Bad citations can actually hurt your business’s chances of ranking well in search results. So it’s important to only focus on getting high-quality citations.
How Can You Get More Citations for Your Business?
There are a few different ways you can get more citations for your business.
1. Get Listed With Top Data Aggregators
One of the best ways to get more citations is to get listed with top data aggregators. These companies collect information about businesses and distribute it to other websites.
With thousands of business directories, each of them relied on business owners submitting NAP information directly, and they’d probably have a lot of gaps in their data. Any business owner just isn’t going to submit to thousands of websites; data aggregators solve this problem. If you can get your business listed with these aggregators, you’ll likely end up with citations on hundreds of other websites.
Some of the top data aggregators in the US are:
- Neustar Localeze
Getting listed with these companies is a great way to get your business’s information out there. And it can also help you get citations from other websites that use their data.
2. Submit to Other Core Sites in Your Country
Another great way to get more citations is to submit your business’s information to other core sites in your country. These are popular websites in your country but might not be as well-known in other parts of the world.
For example, if you’re a business in the UK, you might want to submit your information to Yell.com. This website is very popular in the UK but not as well known in other countries.
Submitting your information to these websites is a great way to get more high-quality citations. And it can also help you reach new customers in your country.
Some of the core sites that are well known in the US are:
- Yellow Pages
- Angie’s List
- Apple Maps
Submitting your business’s information to these websites is a great way to get more citations.
Make Manual Submissions
You should take time to make manual submissions to high-quality websites. This might take a bit more time, but it’s worth it. There’s a good chance that you’ll get a high-quality citation if you make a manual submission.
When you’re making manual submissions, be sure to include all of your NAP information. And make sure that the website you’re submitting to is relevant to your business.
Some examples of high-quality websites where you can make manual submissions are:
- Chamber of Commerce
- Better Business Bureau
- Local Business Directories
- Relevant Industry Directories
Making manual submissions to these websites is a great way to get high-quality citations while ensuring that your NAP information is correct.
3. Submit to Popular Industry and Related Local Sites
Another great way to get more citations is to submit your business’s information to popular industry and related local sites. This is a great way to get citations from websites that are relevant to your business.
For example, if you’re a hotel, you should submit your information to TripAdvisor. If you’re a real estate agent, you should submit your information to Realtor.com. And if you’re an attorney, you should submit your information to FindLaw.
You can use Google or Ahrefs’ Link Intersect tool to find websites that are relevant to your business. This tool will show you a list of websites where your competitors are getting links. You can then submit your business’s information to these websites.
4. Leverage Unstructured Citations
Unstructured citations are a bit different from your typical citation. They don’t usually include your NAP information. Instead, they tend to come from press mentions, reviews, and blog posts about your business.
That means they’re harder to get than structured citations. Someone has to care enough about your business to write about it.
For example, Rooter-Man, a local plumber, gets cited in this article from The Spruce about the best plumbing services in New York: