What is local citations

What are Local Search Citations?

Citations are an essential aspect of local SEO. Many new SEO start their careers managing citations for different business listings. Citations can be extremely simple to operate when set up correctly and lead to improved local rankings.

Citations, however, can be a nightmare to remove if done incorrectly.

Let us walk you through every aspect of citations in this guide to help you improve your local SEO strategy.

What are Citations?

Citations mention your business’s name, address, and phone number (commonly referred to as NAP) on a website that isn’t your own in local search engine optimization (SEO). Google’s local algorithm uses your NAP information as a signal of relevance and proof that you’re a legitimate local business with a physical address listed in your Google My Business profile.

Citations can appear in local business directories, websites, apps, and social media platforms. Citations help local businesses and can have an impact on local search engine rankings. High-quality essential citations, in particular, can help you rank accurately on Google’s local search interfaces. Many citations can be handled

by local businesses to ensure data accuracy.

While most citations require only a name, address, and phone number, most websites provide many more opportunities to provide additional information.

Types of Citations

Numerous citation websites are available, and many SEOs debate which is more valuable than others. Mentions of your company frequently appear online without the company taking any direct action. Automated aggregation and data flow from local business data platforms can result in online citations.

Because of how the web works, local businesses must take control of the accuracy of their data so that inaccurate data is corrected, preventing client loss, sales loss, and any negative impact on local search rankings.

The following are the various types of local citations:

  • Search Engines – Google, Bing and Apple.
  • Primary Data Aggregators – Factual, Acxiom, Infogroup, and Localeze. 
  • Significant Directories Platforms – Key local business listings can also be created on popular social and review sites such as Facebook and Yelp.
  • Geo/Industry-Specific Platforms – In addition to creating local business listings on major local business data platforms that serve all industries, your company can seek to create listings on websites specific to its industry and geography. Websites of chambers of commerce or professional associations and guilds are examples of these platforms.
  • Unstructured Citations – Supplementary citations can be created or earned on various publications, such as blogs, news sites, apps, maps, government databases, and others. These aren’t explicitly designed for the publication of local business listings, but they still serve as a reference to your company. You can either create these citations on purpose for your company or earn them through merit and public interest/information sharing.
  • Owned Properties – Your website is the Internet’s most authoritative representation of your company’s data.

Essential Elements of a Local Citation

The fundamental element of local citations is usually NAP (Name, Address, Phone number) information.

Citations for local SEO may also include:

  • Business’s website
  • Operating hours
  • Company description or category
  • Directions
  • Images
  • Social media profile connections
  • Email account

Depending on the site in question, extra functionalities might potentially be included.

Citations vs Link Building – How do They Differ?

While links can help you improve your rankings, citations can help you get listed in local search results. While there appear to be many ranking factors that contribute to local search, experts agree that citations are more important than links. Citations, like links, are essential in quantity and quality.

The distinction between a citation and a backlink is straightforward: a citation is a direct online mention of your company’s name, address, and phone number. Citations, like backlinks, will help your SEO by determining your company’s online authority. A backlink, on the other hand, is a direct link to your website from another website’s page.

Local Citations Statistics

Importance of Citations

Citations help in the discovery of local businesses and can have an impact on local search engine rankings. High-quality basic citations, in particular, can help you rank accurately on Google’s local search interfaces. Many citations can be actively managed by local businesses to ensure data accuracy.

1. Local citations influence search rankings.

One advantage of local citations is that they can influence search rankings. But bear in mind that it still depends on the accuracy of the information provided. This can be positive or negative.

2. Customers will learn about your company more quickly.

Customers can find your business faster if you have several listings on the first page of search results. They can view third-party reviews, additional information, and other details to help them decide whether or not to buy from you.

3. Obtain additional third-party feedback

Did you know that prominence in Google Maps results, particularly in a Google Local pack, is a factor? Your ranking position will improve if you consistently receive positive ratings and reviews on other local citations. That’s why it’s a good idea to encourage customers to leave reviews on these listings because it all neatly ties together reasons #1 and #2.

4. Remove Duplicate Listings

What is consistent and authoritative will be indexed by search engines. When you takeover of your local citations on various online directories and update all business information to remain constant, relevant listings rise to the top of search results pages. In contrast, duplicate listings with inaccurate data fall.

How To Choose the Right Citations

With so many citations available, you may not be able to get your company listed in all of them. You may find it difficult to narrow down your list due to time or financial constraints.

Although the number of citations is substantial, you should not be concerned if your company is not listed in all of them. 

The number of directories it can sync with may be limited if you’re using a tool.

A good rule of thumb when identifying which citations to list your business is, to begin with the online business directories that contribute significantly to your industry.

Since each industry—and each city—will frequently have its essential citation websites, there is no definitive list of must-have business citation sources. These websites can range from your local chamber of commerce to well-regarded online directories, Yellow Pages websites to an industry-specific business directory. Although well-known citation sources for any business include Facebook, Google, Yelp, Apple Maps, and Foursquare, you’ll need to conduct some research to find the citations that will be most visible to your target market.

Key Takeaways

Local citations increase your company's online visibility, promote consumer discovery, and improve search engine rankings.
Ignoring local citations is a worry for businesses since it can harm their site rating and lead their business to stagnate.
Since this is the foundational information for the company, proper citations will benefit the company not only online but also in terms of sales and consumer confidence.

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