Citations are one of the key parts in local SEO. Local citations are any mention of a local business on the Internet. A local citation usually takes the form of a business listing or an online directory and provides important information about a business to both search engines and users.
As a local business you need to understand why citations are important for your business and how to handle them correctly. I hope that after reading this article everything will be clear to you! Let’s begin! 🙌
What are local citations?
Citations are mentions of your businesses NAP info:
N – name
A – address
P – phone number
NAP information is your online ID, which helps people to discover local businesses and also citations are considered a ranking factor for local SEO. Making sure that your business is listed in trusted sources lets Google know that it is legit and actually exists.
NAP information is the purpose of the citation, but information about business categories, hours of operation, location on a map, website, etc. can also be added during the citations building process. It depends on the citation source which information you can add.
Types of citations
Basically there are two types of citations:
- Structured сitations – when your NAP information is listed in a structured format typically with your business name on one line, your address on another, and your phone on another.
- Unstructured citations – when your NAP info is mentioned in long form content like a blog post or news article, where your name, address and phone number are all mentioned but spread out through the content.
Also citations can be free or paid. Paid citations most often means that you can add more information about your business, which will set you apart from the rest.
In my opinion paying for citations may not be worth it, there are a lot of quality directories and sources where you can add your NAP for free. But you can make your own choice depending on your strategy and budget.
Why are local citations important?
Local citations are important because they help users discover new businesses and also affect the ranking of search results. More specifically, having the correct citations can help you better rank on Google Maps. This is because the correct citations provide Google with verified and authoritative sources of data about your company.
Whenever Google’s algorithm sees your NAP information listed on another website, it’s expecting to see the same information. Any mismatched or incomplete or duplicate information sends a bad signal to Google. Your address needs to be your actual business address. Don’t try to cheat Google! 😛
At some directories where you can “add a listing” you have an opportunity to leave a link to your website. It may bring valuable referral traffic. If you have troubles with your website or you don’t have it at all, we suggest you create it. Your competitors definitely have websites which help them to have more clients through Google search. Our digital marketing agency team can help you with it and also make your local business be on top of Google search.
How to build citations for businesses
Building citations for your business is a mix of finding and filling out those listings you can control and edit. It’s important because if some information of your business will be changed, for example: your business phone number changed or your business moved to another place, you need to correct that data on all the directories!
So, where to begin? The best place to start is Google. A Google Business Profile listing is important for effective local SEO and also a great citation to begin with.
Claim your GBP listing and ensure that your business name, address and phone number are correct. This is basic data for citations, but additional information, from links to images and hours of work, will help improve visibility in local searches and increase traffic.
To make it easier for you to start your citation building, after GBP you can start with these 10 citations sources:
All you have to do is follow the links to the sources. On the main page of the site you need to find the “sign up” button, also it can be “add a listing”, “add a business” etc. and add information about your local business. Before adding also don`t forget to check if you or the marketer of your business has done this before. Don’t duplicate content on the same resource.
Using NAP and other SEO techniques can increase and improve the traffic and legitimacy of your business in the eyes of Google.