When you mention your business name, address, or phone number anywhere on the internet, it is called a local citation. In the world of SEO, it is considered the key ranking factor when you are listing a business online.
These local citations are not just limited to adding your business name in a business directory but you can also make use of social networks, reviews site for mentioning your business details. It would not be wrong to say that if we online mention the name of a business, it fulfills the purpose of citation.
Most of the SEOs still prefer to make use of local business listings for reaching to their prospective customers in their area. However, you can also make efficient use of social networks, websites, and apps for the purpose.
Anywhere you mention the name or phone number of your business, it helps users to discover about your business. The more a business appears in local searches, the more positively it impacts on your local search engine rankings.
In this detailed local citations guide, we are going to discuss how you can enhance the ranking of your business using this strategy and what are the different types of local citations platforms available in the online world.
You will also get to know why local citations are important and what tools help you manage your citations. Let’s take a start and dive into this amazing world of local citations.
Types of citations you can do
If we talk about two major categories of citations, we can divide them in two:
- Structured citations
- Unstructured citations
When you add your business information in a business directory, you are taking the benefit of the structured citation. There is a long list of structured citation sites where you can list your business information and improve your business ranking.
Given below are some of the major structured listing sites where most of the businesses prefer to add their business information. Here we go:
Yelp: Yelp has become one of the biggest online directories to list your business online. You can create a profile on Yelp, add your business information there and update it anytime you want to.
With its premium features, you can even go ahead of the game and respond to the reviews left by customers.
Yellowpages: Just like a telephone directory of businesses, Yellowpages is your online directory where you can list your business to get more customers.
They organize businesses according to different categories. So get your business listed there and take advantage of its plenty of benefits.
Facebook: Facebook is just not a social platform anymore. Business people are now using this medium for effective citation of their businesses.
There is an option to create a separate page for your business and get reviews from your customers about their service and products.
Superpages: It is another structured business listing directory that most of the businesses use to get their business listed.
Listing your business here also makes part of the structured business citations as your customers can rate your service and leave their detailed reviews.
MapQuest: With the help of MapQuest, you do not get a successful citation in the online world, but it is an online web mapping service that helps you get live driving directions and the situation of traffic.
When you put the information about your business on a website that is not an official business listing directory, it is called an unstructured citation. Some of the common examples of the unstructured citations are blogs, magazines, and wikis.
Other than structured and unstructured, given below are some of the other major types of business citations that help you rank your business better.
Industry-Specific Platforms: In addition to creating your business listings on all the major local business data platforms, you can also search for the specific industry websites in which you are working.
Like if you are running an e-commerce business, it would be best to search for the websites that specifically deal with the chamber of commerce.
The Wider Web: This is another type of business citation that you can do. The wider web includes all the news sites, apps, blogs, article sites, government databases, and the list goes on.
You just have to mention the name or address of your business there and you will get a successful citation from these sites.
Why citations are important for local SEO?
If we talk about the basic purpose of doing citation work, here are two major objectives:
- To improve the ranking of your business in search engines
- To help people discover your business online
Given below are some of the other factors that elaborate on why citations are important for local SEO.
1. Verify that your business exists
When you do proper citation of your business in all the local business directories, it helps Google and all the other major search verify that your business exists.
When all the listing sites verify that a business has the same information, it builds trust in the eyes of search engines and they consider your business truthful and legitimate. It also creates more authority over other businesses working in the same niche.
2. Your ranking improves
Search engines like Google and Bing pay great importance to citations when it comes to ranking a business in SERPs.
When you mention your business in hundreds of websites, your business appears in more places and Google finds it more credible. It appears more prominent to Google and you get a sudden boost in your rankings.
3. Your business is found on page one
Some of the business directories like Yelp and Google My Business are always ranked on the first page of search engines because of their good reputation. It is just not possible to beat these websites in competition, so here is a strategy.
When you cannot compete with those directories in the ranking, it is better to become a part of them. After joining these listing directories, you get an opportunity to come on the first page of search engines.
4. You get referral traffic
Just like the Trip Advisor is famous for showing different destinations, eating places, in the same way, people trust Yelp for getting a list of reliable restaurants in their local area.
Usually, they directly open these directories and run a search there instead of using Google. So, if your business is listed there, you can get lots of referral traffic.
This is one of the best examples of local SEO citations as you can earn valuable referral traffic from these websites.
Tools for citations
When it comes to managing citations on different business directories, you need to know about different tools. These tools vary in costs, features, and functionality.
When you are doing citations, you have to decide which tool to use and for what purpose. Given below are certain factors that help you decide which tools are best to use for citations.
The variety it offers: if the tool offers a wide citation variety, it surely is a yes. You need to find a tool that just not offers you to select industry-specific directories but also take you to hundreds of others.
Check the setup: If the tool that you have selected for citation makes a direct API with the local business directories, you should consider buying it.
Duplicate suppression: This is another feature that you must check before getting a citation tool. If it can easily make duplicate detection and offers duplicate suppression, it is worth using this tool for citation.
Price: If the price of the tool is within your budget, surely it is yes. However, make sure that you compare its features with the other citation tools of the same price.
How citations help people discover your business?
It is the increasing popularity of business directories including Yelp, Yellow Pages, and specialist directories that people now run their search in these directories instead of making use of Google.
Like if a customer is looking for a plumber in a specific area of the USA, he will first find the local business directories of the USA and then run a search there.
Even if you run a Google search, you will notice citations take you towards business directories instead of directly leading you towards a plumber’s website.
How you can build citations?
Whether you are an SEO running a business optimization campaign for an online business, or if you are a small business trying to make a strong online presence, make sure that you do local SEO citations.
You should consider taking advantage of both structured and unstructured citations for the purpose.
It would be best if you list your business to at least three big data aggregates, along with submitting it to other core sites. Also, submit your business to other industries and local sites.
Once you are done with the structured citations, start pursuing unstructured ones. For that, you have to get positive customer reviews, press mentions, and some quality blog posts about your business.
Whatever platform you are using for your business citations, make sure that the information you are putting on all those platforms is consistent and accurate.
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Rick Anderson is a professional Content writer & Content Marketer at Citylocal Pro. Based in California, is an author and blogger with experience in encounter composing on various topics including but not limited to Home, Decor, Technology, Food, Marketing/Advertising, Travel, Lifestyle, etc.