What is a Citation | How Do Local Citations Help Local SEO

    What is a Citation | How Do Local Citations Help Local SEO

    What is a Local Citation?

    You must have heard a lot about “local citations”, but seldom do we truly understand what does it actually mean. Howbeit, being a business owner, you must know what is local citation at its core, so that you can make the best out of it for the benefit of your business.

    In simple and precise words, local citation refers to an online mention of your business. This mention, however, is typically in a sense where the official information about your business is provided i.e. name, address, phone number, or email, etc.

    Types of Citations

    Citations are not confined to business directories only, rather they can occur on websites, apps, various social platforms, etc. Therefore, they are classified in types in order to have a better understanding.

    The two major types in which citations are divided and operated are,

    1. Structured Citations
    2. Unstructured Citations

    Let’s dive a little into their explanation so that we can instate a vivid viewpoint.

    Structured Citations

    There are some dedicated websites that solely work for business citations online. These websites are called business listing directories. Here you will find business information (NAP) of local businesses. There are some famous business listing directories that are considered trusted and reliable by their users. Some of them are:

    • Yelp
    • Facebook
    • CityLocalPro
    • MapQuest
    • Yellowpages
    • CityLocal101
    • Bing Places
    • HotFrog

    The way in which businesses are enlisted on such dedicated business listing directories is called a structured citation. You will find very systematic citational methods on these directories.

    Unstructured Citations

    The mention of your business in terms of NAP on any other place else than a dedicated business listing directory would be regarded as an unstructured citation. Unstructured citations generally occur in online newspapers, blogs, magazines, wikis, or social media posts, etc. The unstructured citation can be very general, natural, and unintentional in its nature. It can be a promotional post as well as something as minor as a suggestion of some business (along with its NAP) by a stranger to a stranger on a public platform.

    Why Citations Are Important For Local Search Rankings?

    Well, once when you get complete knowledge about WHAT is meant by citations, you will inevitably move on to the next question- WHAT IS SUCH A BIG DEAL ABOUT IT? Like why citations are so important??!! What makes them a part and parcel of business marketing?

    Well, this all is major because of this single thing- SEO.

    Search engine ranking is something that is responsible for boosting or breaking a business’s reputation and it leads to a major extent.

    Hence, let’s see why citations are important for local search rankings.

    Verification & Trust 

    Local citations of your business have the potential to significantly impact your business (both in negative and positive ways). So, if you want local citations to help your business reach the heights of local search rankings, you should pay heed to get your business cited on reliable & authentic platforms. If a search engine like Google encounters the NAP of your business several times and finds this information reliable & accurate time and again, it will start considering it trustworthy. As a result of this perception, search engines will start ranking it higher.

    Citation Consistency

    The number of citations online will have a major effect on your business ranking on search engines. When search engines like Google amass data about a business, the citation consistency signals the worth of a business to the search engine. The search engine algorithms work in a way where they pick up the number of citations and make their ranking decision according to it. If the search engine finds your business citations of hundreds of accurate websites, the chances of your business rankings on search engines boosting up to a notable point.

    What are the components of a local citation?

    The local citations have various components. The primary components of a local citation of a business are typically NAP. NAP refers to the name, address, and phone number.

    However, local citations are not curbed to only offer this information. Rather, they can also involve some of the other factors which may be important for a business.

    Some of these generally mentioned factors are:

    • Business categories
    • Hours of operation
    • Driving directions
    • Business description
    • Images
    • Videos
    • Payment forms accepted
    • Geo-coordinates
    • Reviews
    • Owner responses
    • Taglines
    • Links to social and other forms of media
    • Email addresses
    • Fax numbers
    • Alternate phone numbers
    • Attributes

    You can omit or add up as many factors as you have to according to your business requirement or the directory’s terms.

    Why do Local Citations Matter?

    The importance of local citations cannot be stressed enough. In a recent Local Search Ranking Factors survey, local search experts have considered local citations as an important factor that influences local search engine rankings. They make as much as approximately 13.31% of the top 50 factors.

    Businesses, no matter at what level they are, are concerned about their ranking & reputation which directly affect the business’s leads. If it is a small business or a well-developed one, in order to get leads or sustain leads, a business owner has to be careful about its online presence and image.

    If your business is providing the best services in the area which are second to none, but its online reputation is not outstanding or is suspicious, you are least likely to gain leads.

    However, if your business is average in its service quality, but has excellent online value, it will attract a lot of customers, while giving you a chance to improve yourself.

    That is THE POWER of search engine results.

    How to Build Citations for Local Businesses

    Now that you know about the undeniable importance of local business citations, you must be looking for a source that can guide you on how to build citations of local businesses so that you can also take advantage of this amazing resource!

    Tips for Building Citations

    • Use Domain-Based Email

    The email from which you enlist your business would look better and most trustworthy if it is exclusively domain-based rather than being registered on other email sites i.e. Gmail or yahoo, etc.

    Consistently Same Information On Every Platform

    The local citations are more likely to gain attention if they are enlisted exactly & consistently with the same information on hundreds of websites.

    Accurate Category Selection

    Make sure that you put your business under the relevant and accurate category. Try to find the category type which is closest to your business.

    Add Up As Much Details As You Can

    The more factors you add to your business listing, the more vivid and detailed it would look. The details would help the search engine to catch keywords and boost up your business ranking on the search engine result.

    Verify/Claim Your Listing

    A verified or claimed business listing will look more credible & authentic. Where would you rank the credibility of a business listing that is not even owned by its owner?

    Strategies For Finding Citation Sources

    Now that you are well-acquainted with the importance of citations, you must be thinking about ways to find dependable citation sources. So here we have accumulated some efficient strategies for finding citation sources.

    • Search for the citation sources which are most credible in your whole country. If you are residing in the USA, research the internet and read experts’ take on the best citation sources of the country. That is your first step towards getting your hands on the best citation source which can work for you.
    • The next step is to place your business under the relevant category. Make sure that you find the citation which is most relevant to your business type and your location.
    • Another really clever step of finding a successful and workable citation source is to check out where your successful competitors are enlisting their businesses. You can do that by simply putting the information about the business in the search engine and get to know about their citation sources through the search result.
    • Another really pivotal and most efficient step of finding credible citation sources is to do your own research. Try to find which citation source can work best for you according to your personal & unique needs.

    How Does Active Location Data Management Relate To Citations?

    So, now when you are using citations for your business management, you should completely understand the risk & benefits which you can infer from the major citation management sources i.e. passive & active.

    Passive Approach Risks

    If you do not pay heed to careful citation management and approach it passively, you can risk these disadvantages:

    • Weak Set Of Local Citations
    • Inaccuracy
    • Duplication
    • No Check Over Editing Done By Users Or Competitors
    • No Check Over Managing Reviews
    • No Idea About The Online Business Representation & Reputation

    Active Approach Benefits

    However, if you are approaching citation management actively, then you can sure to get such benefits like:

    • Accuracy & Earning Trustworthiness
    • Check & Control Over Inaccurate Citation
    • Discovering & Eradicating Duplicate Business Citation At Once
    • Strategical Editing
    • Discovering & Managing Reviews For The Benefit
    • Complete Control Over Business Reputation

    Some Ways To Search For City-Specific Citation Sources:

    • (city) business listings
    • (city) business directory
    • (city) directory

    Some Ways To Search For Industry/Niche Specific Citation Sources:

    • (city) business listings
    • (city) business directory
    • (city) directory

    So, here is all the information and guideline for local citations and how they affect your business. Moreover, we also have provided adequate information that can help you get your hands on the best local citation sources with simple but smart research!