How to Build Local Citations
How to Build Local Citations
Citations are one way to be found in today’s digital world. A local citation is any mention of your business’s name, address, and phone number online–they can appear on blogs or social media sites where people share information about the surrounding community as well as through Google searches for “local citations near me.” So make sure you have all these details listed!
In this article, you’ll learn:
Why local citations are important
Citations are important for two main reasons. First, they may help you rank higher in local search queries and secondarily provide a way to get your business out there online by linking back with other sites that have already been established or mention yours when it comes time for them to do so again.
How do citations help with local SEO?
Citations are believed to help search engines verify the existence, legitimacy, and trustworthiness of your business. If you appear on many relevant websites with accurate information about it then Google likely has increased confidence that whatever info is shared will hold up in court (or at least be believable). According to a survey by Moz, citations ranked fifth among ranking signals for local searches according to their importance.
A citation can make all the difference when looking into something online so keep those old books or catalogs around just waiting until someday soon there might come an opportunity where these could come handy again!
That said, it’s worth pointing out a couple of things about this survey:
It’s worth noting that this survey is a few years old. The data was collected in 2018 and citations may well be less important today than they were at the time of collection for this research project; however, not all SEO specialists agree on whether or not citations still hold any weight whatsoever with respect to rankings online according to their own opinions about what really matters when it comes down ranking sites these days (and there are plenty out there who don’t think so).
There are a lot of places that you can get local citations from, but it’s unlikely to have any major impact on your rankings. However, if there’s some value in getting authentic and relevant citations where people expect the business listings for this type of service or product then by all means take advantage!
What types of citations are there?
Before we discuss how to build citations, we need to understand the two types of citations you can get.
A structured citation is perfect for companies that want to be found. They list the name, address, and phone number (NAP) of your business in one place so it’s easy to reference when looking up information about you or contacting customer service! Directory listings are another great example; they can keep all customers on hand with accurate contact details while giving them access at their fingertips through mobile apps.
An unstructured citation is the kind of reference that populates blog posts, forum discussions, and press releases. They can be difficult to spot but are often mentioned in passing without any mention at all about where they came from so this will help you get credit for your contribution!
How do I build citations?
You can find all the citations that your business needs without having to search through every website you come across. It’s much better for a company’s name and reputation if they only look at reputable sources, which is why we recommend following these guidelines:
1. Get listed with one or more data aggregators
2. Submit to other core sites
3. Submit information to popular industry and local sites
3. Pursue unstructured citations
Step #1. Get listed with one or more data aggregators
There are thousands of business directories on the web. If each one relied solely upon submitting NAP information, they would likely have a lot of gaps in their data; however most small-business owners just aren’t going to submit this information for all those sites—they only want what’s necessary.
Data aggregators are the solution to this problem. These companies collect information about businesses and distribute it across hundreds of other websites, if you have your data they will provide citations in many places for them!
Just make sure to search for your business thoroughly and claim any listings before submitting a new one. You need to ensure that you are claiming duplicates, as well as checking the information is correct in order not to have problems later down the line.
Step #2. Submit to other core sites
The ‘big three’ data aggregators will not always be the most accurate when it comes to distributing information. Sometimes, you may want more control over where your NAP is being shared and need a little help from some core sites in order for them to distribute accurately across different countries around the globe- this way no one has any inaccurate assumptions about who they are dealing with!
In the US, these are sites like:
There are two options for submitting your business to these sites.
If you have plenty of spare time and don’t mind mundane tasks, then submit your business to these sites one by one. Just search for a site that seems worthwhile in each seemingly interesting category. If it is already there with accurate information or can be claimed easily enough from their options menu make sure they are up-to-date before correcting any errors.
Don’t forget that you can also claim the listing so that more information about your business is visible. For example, Yelp lets users add photos and other details once they’ve claimed their profile page for this site!
Use a submission and management service
Submitting the same business information to multiple sites by hand is nobody’s idea of fun. That’s why a few companies have built solutions, like Yext – which offers an easy way to submit your citations from one place and manage them through their system with just one click!
It’s hard to say whether these submission services are worth it. Every SEO has its own opinion on the matter. Personally, I would say that your money can be better spent elsewhere since they’re not cheap- which means you’ll just have to manually add listings and call it a day without any fancy tools or anything like that!
Step #3. Submit information to popular industry and local sites
Now that you’ve taken care of the basics, it is time to hunt down industry-specific citation opportunities.
The next step is to hunt down industry-specific citations. For example, if you run a hotel then make sure that people can find your listing on TripAdvisor or if you’re an attorney, you should be on findlaw.com.
Step #4. Pursue unstructured citations
If you’ve gotten this far, then chances are that your citations are better than most people. However, if we’re talking about unstructured citations like blog posts and reviews which can come from any news source including press mentions; they might be more difficult to get because there are no specific criteria for these types of sources other than someone caring enough about what they write on (in theory anyway).
Let’s look at a few ways to find unstructured citation opportunities.
One way to get unstructured citations is by searching for supplier pages. These are lists of companies that supply other businesses, which in turn list their suppliers on this page with links out so you can easily research them if needed!
HARO (Help A Reporter Out) is a free service that connects journalists with sources for upcoming stories. It’s like getting asked questions from reporters all day long, and then when they write an article about your response or quote – you get cited! And it works like this:
1. You sign up – takes about 10 seconds!
2. You get daily email alerts on topics/questions they need help covering.
3. You answer a question or give a quote.
4. You usually get cited if they use it in their upcoming article.
Why it’s important to keep your citations consistent and accurate
If you have a different number for every place where someone can contact your company, how are they supposed to know which one is correct? It’s important that citations stay accurate and consistent so make sure all phone numbers match up.
Inconsistent branding can be bad for your local SEO, but it also erodes the trust of consumers. One study found that 80% of people lose faith in businesses if they see incorrect or inconsistent contact details online– which means this is something to think about before you post anything online!
It would seem like a business’ online presence impacts its actual reputation. If they don’t keep up-to-date with what’s happening in the digital world, then people might assume that you closed down or are just unreliable!
There’s no need to get hung up on consistency. If one directory has you down as “Beanies Coffee Shop,” and another is listed under the same name, that is unlikely to be a big problem for Google in putting two-and-two together. As long as everything else matches (address, phone number, etc.), then it will almost certainly figure out which Beanie’s business we’re talking about!
Few Final Thoughts
Citations are a necessary part of local SEO, but they’re far from the only factor. You also need to optimize your Google My Business profile and do proper keyword research for success in that area as well.
If you have questions regarding citations, don’t hesitate to contact us today at Citation Vault.
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