If you’re a digital marketer, chances are you’ve come across the term “local citation.”
In this expert guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about local citation building, including how they work and why they add value to your business.
Let’s get started!
What We’ll Cover:
- What is a local business citation?
- Why local citation building is important for SEO?
- What kind of local SEO citations matter the most?
- How do I build and optimize my local citations
- The best local citation software
What is a Local Business Citation?
The core elements of a local citation building are essentially made up of the name, address, and phone number (NAP) for a local business. But, it doesn’t have to stop there. To maximize your competitiveness online, your citation should also include:
- Business categories
- Hours of operation
- Driving directions
- Images and videos
- Accepted forms of payment
- Description of services
- Taglines and slogans
- Links to social media channels
- Email addresses
- Alternate phone numbers
Citations ultimately help Internet users discover local businesses, and the volume and accuracy of these citations have been shown to influence which businesses rank higher in local search engine rankings.
In fact, local citations are so important to businesses, it’s become a big part of what we do here at Ignite.
Why local citation building matters for SEO
The success of your local business often hinges on how easily people can find it on the web (aka—your local SEO strategy).
According to multiple studies, businesses that rank higher in local search results typically have at least 75 citations. These statistics also show that businesses with the highest number of local citations usually rank first on Google for local search. Without a doubt, this can help build trust with your customers.
Take an orthodontist for example.
When someone is in need of a new orthodontist, they will most likely take one of the following actions:
Search Google for “orthodontists.” If the user is browsing on a location-aware device like a smartphone or tablet, Google will display the local results ahead of the organic ones.
Look for orthodontists on a directory like Yelp or the American Association of Orthodontists’ website. This helps with natural discovery.
Voice search for “orthodontist near me.” In this case, results will be pulled with a similar algorithm that determines the results in the Google search.
What Kind of Local Citations Matter the Most?
You can classify local citations into three main categories—local business data platforms, geographical directories, and other websites.
Currently, the top citation sites for local business are:
- Google My Business
- Yellow Pages
- Local Yahoo
- Super Pages
- White Pages
- Dex Knows
- Biz Standing
Here are the top three most important local SEO citation building platforms to keep in mind for your business in 2020:
- Google My Business
Google My Business is among the most useful citations because it informs Google Maps and the knowledge graph in the Google search results. Since more and more people are using their mobile devices to search every year, ensuring that your business pops up on map searches has never been more important.
Facebook is currently the most used social media platform in the world, making it a necessity for your business to be visible on. Make sure to conduct a quick search for your business and if you find that you already have an “official page,” follow the directions to address and manage it appropriately.
People are always turning to Yelp for reviews before they make a decision on where to grab a bite or where to get an oil change. With Yelp, you need to make sure there’s no “unofficial page” for your business. The process for claiming your listing is fairly straightforward.
How do I Build and Optimize my Local Citations?
Below, I’ve put together a short checklist of strategies that you can implement ASAP to help you boost your local SEO hassle-free.
Whenever you build a citation for your business, it communicates to search engines that your business is reliable and established. However, that reputation can be quickly unraveled if your citations are inconsistent.
That’s why when you’re building business profiles around the web, pay close attention to your NAP consistency.
Search engines are more easily able to recognize and rank your site when they see a consistent version of your NAP. Inconsistency not only baffles search engines but can result in a drop in search visibility.
To make sure your NAP consistency is up to par, try signing up for a management service like Synup.
Local SEO Citation Authority
If you’re wondering which ones are worth registering for, that’s where citation authority comes in.
Based on domain authority, citation authority is an SEO score that calculates (out of 100) a site’s ability to rank well in search engines. The higher your score, the more influence your site might have.
If you don’t want to do all the computing yourself, you can use BrightLocal’s Citation Tracker Report, which lets you track competitors and fill any necessary gaps.
The Software for Local Citation Building
As a small business, time is of the essence. There are only so many hours in the day to effectively manage local citations. The good news is that there are tons of software tools you can use to make the process faster and easier. Here are a few of our top picks.
Moz Local is one of the newest tools on this list, and a highly sophisticated one at that.
Start off by entering your country, business name, and address into their tool. From there, it will scan the web and detect where your business has an online presence. A list of each citation source will be displayed and the listing accuracy will be graded or marked “missing.”
You have the option of exporting the list to save for future use and sharing the link with other employees.
With a heightened focus on citations, reviews, and voice search, Uberall offers three different software products that can help your local citation listings.
First is their listings management tool, where you are in full control of how your listings are managed across the major websites, directories, and apps.
Second, they have a directories network that features more than 125 platforms and directories including Yelp, Waze, Instagram, and Toyota.
And finally, Uberall has a local landing page and store locator service that makes it easier for consumers to find your clients. You can use this tool to create custom store location pages that includes locally relevant content like store offers, menus, and more.
BrightLocal is one of the premier local SEO citation building services on the market.
In addition to local citations, this software provider allows you to build your campaign exactly how you want.
All you have to do is create an account, fill out all the relevant information about your business, and then select from their extensive list of local citation building sources and data aggregators.
BrightLocal also offers more than 1,600 potential sites to choose from. That way, you can move at your own pace and build them gradually.
Whitespark is a one-stop-shop. It offers two tools to help manage your citations, as well as a variety of articles and resources that break down everything step-by-step.
Just as the name suggests, the finder tool helps you to discover new opportunities to create citations through keywords, locations, and competitor comparisons.
The local rank tracker tool gives you a glimpse into how rankings are being impacted by your local citation building campaign. It can also audit and manage your them for you.
It’s never been easier to manage every part of your local citations with Yext. Similar to Whitespark, Yext lets you choose from a list of products and services according to your needs. If you’re interested, then their Yext Listings tool is the way to go.
All you have to do is select the country in which your business is based, choose the type of listing you wish to target, and as you continually update your filters, Yext will show you all the relevant and authoritative sources to build your local citations. You can review them one-by-one or subscribe to another Yext service that also includes management.
You can choose listings according to industry type (food, healthcare, technology) or citation types (search engines, directories, data aggregators).
Long story short—citations are significant. They are a fundamental building block for local SEO and without them, getting noticed on the Internet can become an uphill battle.
For businesses that are looking to drive traffic to their storefronts by harnessing the power of SEO, local citation building is non-negotiable.
When it comes to local searches, you’re not doing yourself or your business any favors by laying low and going unnoticed. So, make sure you keep a close eye on the status if you want to be successful long-term.