What is a Local Citation?
A local citation is an online mention of your company which includes your name, address, and phone number. This information is also called your NAP. Google uses these mentions to evaluate the online authority of your business.
Building local citations on business directories such as Yelp, Superpages, and Manta helps your customers find you online. Google's logic is if your business is mentioned a lot online then it deserves a higher ranking than one that's hardly mentioned at all. This is especially important if the places where it's mentioned are relevant to the search being performed.
Develop Your Local Citation Profile
It's important your NAP matches the exact information Google finds on your website, Google My Business page, social media, and online directories. Your NAP should be 100% consistent.
Different Types of Local Citations
Before we get into how to build citations, it's important to first understand the two types of citations.
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Structured citations are the ones you'd find in a local business directory. These are the citations you create and have control over how they're created. With structured citations, you submit your business information and keep the listing up-to-date if any changes occur.
Here's an example of a structured local citations which can be found on Yelp:
Unstructured citations are mentions of your business that are included on a website that isn't specifically a business directory or citation building website. Unstructured citations can be found on blogs, social media, review sites as well as magazine and newspaper websites.
Here's an example of an unstructured citation on an industry website:
3 Ways Local Citations Help You Get Found Online
1. Improve Rankings for Local Search
Local citation building helps build prominence in the search engines. According to Google, prominence is how well-known a business is. Prominence is based on information the search engines have from different sources across the internet. Google describes these sources as links, articles, directories, and reviews. The more often your site appears online, the more prominent it will appear to the search engines.
2. Increased Traffic to Your Website
When your local SEO improves, you become more visible in the local search results. This leads to an increase in traffic to your website. Google has researched the impact of local search on mobile customers.
50% of people who used local search from their mobile device visited a store in their search results
3. Creates Trust with Your Customers
Local citation building is an effective way to establish trust with your customers as well as with the search engines. When the same info is listed across multiple relevant trusted websites, then Google and your customers have more confidence that what you say about your business is true and correct.
How to Build Local Citations
Start with the top three data aggregators. Many people don't have the time to submit their information to the thousands of business directories on the internet. Data aggregators solve this problem but collecting information about businesses and distributing it across hundreds of directories. When you update your information with the data aggregators, you information will be listed in lots of places.
In the US the three main data aggregators are:
Neustar and Factual allow you to submit or claim your listing and manage your information completely free.
Submit your information to other well-known local citation building sources. While the data aggregators submit your listing to hundreds of websites, not all local citation cites get their information from them. It's important to submit your information to the other important citation directories as well. Here's a list of a few of these sites:
- Google My Business
- Bing Places
- Apple Maps
- Yellowpages (YP)
Industry Directories, Review Sites, and More
Now that you have the foundation in place for your local citations, the next step is to add your information to industry and location specific citation directories.
For example, a law firm should include their information on findlaw.com. Hotels should be sure they're listed on TripAdvisor. Realtor.com is where real estate agencies should list their information.
Your businesses geographic location will also give you more opportunities to list your citations. Your local Chamber of Commerce and other local business associations are a great place to include your business.
Using a Google search is the best way to find these local citation sources.
For business directories or listing - for example: "law firm business directory"
- industry business directory
- industry business listings
For location specific information - for example Tampa Bay Chamber of Commerce or
- Tampa Bay business listings
- location Chamber of Commerce
- location business listings
Local Citation Building is An Ongoing Process
Keep in mind, this should be an ongoing process - not something you set and forget. After initially setting up your new citations and reviews, you should also be looking for additional citations to create as well as have a plan in place to help your clients create online reviews for you.
It's also important to regularly audit your citations because the information may change. Sometime a well-meaning user may submit information to "correct" the info that already exists or one of the aggregators may push incorrect information which overwrites the correct one.