What are local SEO citations and what exactly is a citation?
A citation is a reference to your businesses details which includes the name, address and phone number (NAP) all of which is available online. Similar to backlinks pointing to your website, Google uses citations to evaluate your businesses online authority but also to determine your locality. It is therefore important to make sure your NAP details are correct and listed clearly.
An example of a full citation is:
Pedro Agency, 1 Aire Street, Leeds, LS1 4PR, (0113 451 0237)
For local SEO to work well, citation for the NAP information need to be accurate and match your website and Google My Business Page. The format isn’t important, but consistency is, therefore whatever you decide, stick with it for every citation.
Why are citations important?
Citations are an important factor that Google uses when deciding on the order to rank your business in their local search results. Logically, if a business has lots of NAP mentions, this means it has a larger online presence and it will potential rank higher than a business with very few NAP mentions.
Google also uses citations to verify the accuracy of business details because inaccurate business listings can question the reliability in their search results.
In terms general online awareness, the more places you have your NAP listed the greater the chance of people seeing your details and contacting you.
Where can you get citations?
You can get citations from many places, including directories, blogs, forums and social media sites. Don’t restrict yourself when considering places for citation sources. Whilst directories are the best place to start looking for citations, you can still expand your search.
Here are a few good directories to start looking at;
When signing up to directories, set up an email specifically for signing up as you will get a lot of spam and marketing emails after. Remember to provide as many details as possible such as a description of the business, photos, opening hours along with the name, address and phone number which are the most vital. Once your set up on a directory, claiming ownership of a site and verifying a listing is very important, therefore remember to do this to make your website/listing public.
Creating citations in various directories is a good start to build your online presence. You can increase your citations further by looking at competitors’ citations and listing your business in the same place.
To do this, Google their name and postcode which will provide all the websites that mention their details. You can also search for a competitor by using this search query as followed;
“Competitors Business Name” AND “Competitor’s Postcode” –
For each competitor you will find hundreds of citations from various places, including the ones we listed as examples. To get the results, you might want to use a search result extractor to do this.
After analysing these citations, you will easily have up to 100 extra sources that you can potentially get new citations from. All you will need to do is sign up and verify.
Alternatively, there are several pieces of software such as BrightLocal which can help you get competitor citations.
Once you reach the end of this process, you will find that you have citations from directories, competitor citations and alternative sources. This will then allow you to build your citation list up, potentially giving you more citations than your competitors.
Building up your citation process shouldn’t be a one-time thing. You should always keep your eyes out for new opportunities to list your businesses NAP information every few months.