What are local citations?
A local citation is a mention online of your company’s name. These mentions appear as listings on websites and platforms such as Angi, Yelp, or similar websites. These mentions provide your company’s contact information along with the name of your company. Some of these listings provide more in-depth information than others but that varies on the site.
Local citations are important and should be a priority. The top local citation sites that you want to appear on include Facebook, Google My Business, and Yelp to name a few. When filling out the information for these sites you want to be sure to be thorough and provide as much useful information about your business as possible. This helps boost your local SEO which means consumers in your area are more likely to discover your website and become customers.
How to build local citations
When making local citations you do not want to take any shortcuts. Consistency and quality is what will help Google recognize your business as legit which in turn will cause it to rank you higher.
If you already have existing citations out there, start out by making sure they are claimed (if you are able to do so) and accurate. Take advantage of popular business directories and post your information there right away. Make your company stand out from your competitors by adding photos and a unique description. You are trying to sell yourself to consumers who view that directory, keep that in mind.
If you are wanting to build new citations you should start by searching for both local and industry-specific directories to put your listing on. Take your time with each listing and triple-check that all of the information is filled out correctly and nothing is rushed. Keep these citations updated as time goes on. In fact, frequent updates of content and information can help boost your SEO.
One tool that helps business owners with the process is something called data aggregators. Local data aggregators are businesses that collect information about local businesses and then send out that data to these directories and search engines. They are a great way to help automatically and accurately fill out the information needed on the citation sites you choose to go with. If you do choose to go this route with some or all of your citations, it is still very important to thoroughly check the information filled in as well as make any needed changes. Two of the top data aggregators here in the United States are Foursquare, Data Axle, though there are others out there as well.
When deciding which directories you want to put your listings on it is important to keep track of them somewhere. That way you can always have your login information on hand as well as not post duplicate listings. Duplicate listings are when you have more than one listing in the same directory. Some people think that having multiple listings on a directory will help their company be discovered easier, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Whether accidental or intentional, duplicate listings will affect your SEO negatively and can prevent your company from being seen as often. It’s definitely not worth that risk.
Local Business Directories
There are lots of different business directories out there and finding which ones you want to post a listing on can be overwhelming. However many directories you choose to go with, be sure not to rush anything. In this case, quality over quantity could not be more true. Here are some popular business directories to look into.
These are just a few more options to consider but there are so many out there to choose from. Take some time to go through them and find what you think would be best for your business as of now.
Joining some of the major directories can really work in your favor. Google trusts these major citation sites so they naturally rank them higher on Google. In fact, almost anytime you search for a local business or service, you will see these directories ranking high on the first page of search results. This means that searchers are far more likely to see directories with local business citations before even seeing any individual companies’ websites. We know that people tend to stay mainly on the first page of search results, and they are even more likely to click on the first three to five links. Having your business listed in these popular directories can help more people discover your company.
Structured Citations vs. Unstructured Citations
Today when people are in need of a service they turn to the internet to find exactly what they need. A structured citation is when you can find information about a company that includes the company’s name, address, and phone number (NAP). NAP is a specific structure, hence why these citations are called structured citations. It is very important to keep your NAP info current across all platforms for two reasons.
The first reason is that failure to do so can lower your SEO rating making your business harder to find online. The second reason is for building customer trust. If your information is inaccurate or inconsistent online then that may sway a potential customer from working with your business. Overall, it is best to follow the NAP structure as it makes you appear more professional.
Unstructured citations are different because they tend to come from third-party websites. These websites can range from blogs to even mentions on social media. Unstructured citations basically are when a business is mentioned online somewhere that often leads to your brand’s website in some way. While most structured citations are created by the actual business owner, unstructured citations can be created by anyone.
Unstructured citations have some unique benefits to them. For example, if a website that is known for your niche or has a lot of knowledge within your specific industry posts your unstructured citation, people are very likely to see it and trust the information given to them. These potential customers will trust that your brand is good because a trustworthy website recommended it. Unstructured citations can also help your website gain traffic, especially if your unstructured citation is on a popular website with plenty of traffic already. Unstructured citations are a great way to reach new audiences and gain more traffic to your page.
How to check your local citations
If you are trying to find existing local citations for your company on the internet here is what you can do. Go on Google and type in your company’s name along with the phone number separately in quotations. For example, “the business’s name” “the business’s phone number”. This will then allow you to see what local citations already exist and on what platforms or directories.
If you are wanting to edit any of the existing citations there are some limitations. Almost all of the directories that you create an account on to post your citation will allow you to go back and edit it whenever. Unstructured citations are different since they are not created by you. In that case, the only way you can really have them changed is to contact the person or company that put out that citation.
The Benefits of Local Citations
Now that we know what exactly a local citation is, here are some of the benefits they have for your business.
More links to your website
When your business is listed in a directory, there will most likely always be a link that leads to your website. This link is considered a backlink that can help boost your SEO. Each link to your website is an opportunity for more website traffic and a chance of being seen by your targeted audience.
More potential reviews
A Lot of business directories out there have their own section for customers to review each business. The more open review sections your business has on the internet, the higher the chance of getting reviews are. Reviews help increase companies’ reputations online along with improving your Google ranking when searched. Good reviews are crucial because it establishes trust with each potential client looking into your services.
As a business owner, you should be checking these reviews regularly and responding to them. If the review is good, thank the customer! If the review is bad, respond back and try to make things right. Potential customers will see these reviews and how your company responds to them which can be the difference between a new customer or not. Keeping a good online image is important and customers want to go with companies that have good customer service skills and an overall good reputation.
Local citations are important for any business these days. Having a strong internet presence is crucial for a company from both a marketing and a sales point of view. With technology being at everyone’s fingertips and millions of searches being done a day, you want your business to be easily accessible to people looking for your services or products.
We hope that after reading this article you feel better informed on what local citations are as well as their importance for your company. There is a lot to citation building and maintaining a strong online presence for SEO ranking. Don’t get overwhelmed, but don’t put this off either. The internet is a lot of trial and error, but after a bit, you will find what works best for your business and what generates the best results.
SEO is ever-changing and it is important to keep up with it. Finally, here is a review of some key points we covered and what to keep in mind while focusing on local citations.
- Local citations are mentions of your company on the internet whether it be a directory or a different website with information such as the company name, address, and phone number
- Make sure your existing citations are claimed and always up to date with accurate information about your company
- Data aggregators are a great tool for automatically filling out your companies information for business directories
- Duplicate listings in directories will negatively affect your SEO and should be avoided
- The (NAP) structure stands for name, address, and phone number and is important to implement across all of your citations since it helps Google legitimize your business
- Reviews are extremely important as they can boost your SEO and should be regularly checked and engaged with
If you keep these things in mind while creating and managing your business’s local citations, you should be in a good place. It may take a bit of time and some hard work, but when done correctly, the payoff is very much worth it.