Local citations are one of the most important elements of SEO, and they’re also one of the easiest to build and manage. The more citations you have, the better off your business will be in search engine results.
Citations are a form of link building that helps search engines know more about your business, including what it does and where it’s located. They’re also helpful in boosting your rankings on local search results and improving consumer discovery.
They can also be a great way to get more traffic to your website and social media profiles. In fact, some of the most popular social media sites give you an opportunity to submit your NAP information for free.
The most important thing is to make sure your citations are accurate and up to date across all of them. This is especially true if your business has changed names, addresses or phone numbers.
Getting citations isn’t always easy, but it’s definitely worth the effort. Many of the smartest SEO pros will set up processes and automation tools that reduce the amount of time it takes to manage citations, while ensuring your citation data is always up to date on all relevant platforms.
1. Structured citations
A structured citation is when the name, address and phone number of your business are listed on relevant directories or third party websites like Yelp or Yellow Pages. These directories have large databases of reliable information and can be trusted by search engines like Google.
2. Unstructured citations
Local citations are typically found in online news articles, reviews or blog posts that mention your business. They can include your NAP, but aren’t specifically designed as business directories or business listings.
3. Review sites
A local citation can appear on online review sites or blogs that are curated by specific businesses. These can include places like an insurance company’s magazine, a health care provider’s directory or a city-specific website.
4. Data aggregators
There are many data aggregators on the internet, which collect information from various sources and share it with other websites. These can be a good way to get your NAP local citations and other business information to a wide audience, but they’re not as trusted by search engines as a structured local citation is.
5. Local media outlets
Another important source of citations is local media outlets and publications that are relevant to your business’s industry or geographic location. These can include town tourism bureaus, Chambers of Commerce and business blogs.
If you’re a local business, it’s often possible to find journalists who are interested in covering your industry and writing an article about it. You can use resources like HARO (Help A Reporter Out) to connect with journalists and ask them for a quote or question about your business.
7. Major social networks
If you’re looking for a way to expand your business’s visibility and get your NAP information in front of potential customers, then consider opening a business account on every major social media platform. That will give you a local citation on every major social network, as well as the opportunity to engage with your fans in multiple ways.