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Updated: Jan 20, 2022

Citation building makes it much easier for potential customers to find your business, and also presents it as a reliable and trustworthy company. But if you’re neglecting this process, could you be hampering your local SEO potential. First things first. What are citations? Citations are online references to your business, particularly your brand name, address, and phone number—known collectively as your NAP. These details are important because they act as a unique marker that solidifies your identity and helps Google separate you from all the other businesses listed online. Your NAP also demonstrates your physical presence in a particular geographical area, which is required if you’re going to appear in local search results.

What are local directory citations?

Generally, the more citations you have the better. For instance, a local business with lots of online mentions is more likely to rank higher than one that’s receiving little attention. Having the same NAPs across multiple locations also helps to establish reliability, as this consistency effectively verifies these contact details. For example, if you’re listed by both a local blog and an online newspaper for that area, this suggests your business is part of a local community.

However, as explained in our guide to online directories, adding citations with links to suspiciously spammy online directories is now considered black hat SEO. Updates to Google’s algorithm mean websites with links coming from bad directories are now penalized, so it’s vital that citations with links are only added to high-quality directories and those with local relevancy.

Local SEO Citation Services for Local Businesses

  • Structured Citation: this type of citation lists your name, address and phone number (NAP). Examples include online business directories and social media business profiles. It’s called structured because the information is displayed in the same way as other businesses' and your page is “built around data.”

  • Unstructured Citation: This is when your business shows up in a news story, forum post, or blog post. It’s considered unstructured because it appears in different ways across different platforms.

How do citations affect my local seo rankings?

Citations are considered a ranking factor for local SEO. Having your business listed in trusted online directories sends signals to Google to improve their degree of certainty that your business exists.

The number of listings, the accuracy of your listings, and the quality of the online directories can affect how Google perceives your online presence.

This is why it’s important to pick your citations wisely.

Best Local SEO Citation Sites for Local Businesses

Another underreported benefit of building and updating citations is that some online business directories dominate page one of local search. Sites like Yelp and YellowPages tend to consistently rank high for most local searches.

So if you can’t beat them, join them! These online directories provide other opportunities to earn real estate on page one.

Many people are loyal to different citations, such as Yelp for restaurants. Many people are trained to go to Yelp when looking for new restaurants before going to Google.

Getting listed in as many potential directories as possible may earn valuable referral traffic. At Flash First Media, we help businesses achieve their goals, from maximizing page views to attracting more customers.

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