Local Citations and their SEO Value

If you’ve just built a website for your business, you are probably researching some local SEO methods to make your site appear higher in local search results. This is when you may come across the term local citations and wonder not only what they are, but whether they will truly help you with your local SEO objectives. Here is a basic explanation of what these citations are, how they work and why they’re so important if you want your business featured more prominently on search engines.

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What are Local Citations and Why do Search Engines Use Them?

In SEO terminology, a citation is a mention of your company’s contact information on another website, even if the site doesn’t provide a link to yours. A complete citation would follow the NAP (name, address and phone number) format, while a partial one could contain only one or two of these elements. A common example of a citation would be an online directory listing for your business in the Yellow Pages, or any other business directory. However, citations do not have to come only from directories, but can be from various sources, such as the websites of business associations, your local chamber of commerce, news stories, forum posts, and social media posts.

nap name address phone number Local Citations and their SEO Value

One of the main reasons why search engines use them is that the more citations a business has, the more likely it is to be legitimate. This is especially the case for citations coming from highly reputable sources, such as a local or national newspaper story featuring your business, or a listing on your chamber of commerce’s website. In today’s day and age, anyone, including a scammer that wants to rip people off with a fly-by-night enterprise, can create a professional-looking website and a few social media accounts. But it would be very hard to get a fake business listed on a local chamber of commerce website or reviewed in a reputable newspaper.

Important Considerations When Using Citations

Having your business listed in various directories and putting your business contact information in other places online, such as on social media profiles and forum signatures will definitely increase the number of citations it has. But for these local citations to have the maximum SEO benefit, they must follow a consistent format.

For example, if the citation listed on your website is: “Acme Ltd. 123 Main Street, New York, NY 10001 (212) 555-0000,” it should be featured in exactly the same format everywhere else that your business is listed. Therefore, don’t use Acme Limited if your business name is abbreviated on your site, or use 123 Main St. if your address is not abbreviated.

Where Do I Get Citations for My Business?

You should remember that while directories are a popular place to list your business and get local citations, they are far from being your only options. Here are some other places where your business information can appear that will result in search engines like Google counting it as a citation:

sample business citations Local Citations and their SEO Value

  • Social networking sites (Google+, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.)
  • Discussion forum signatures, profiles and posts.
  • YouTube video descriptions.
  • Local chamber of commerce or business association sites.
  • Business review sites.
  • Mainstream and industry-specific news websites.
  • Industry magazines and other online publications.

Are Citations Really That Helpful With Local SEO?

Local citations are an important factor used by search engines when determining your site’s relevance to a certain query. If all other SEO factors are the same for two sites, the one with the highest number of citations will rank higher.

Of course, there are other factors that come into play if you want to achieve a high position in search results. Some factors relevant for local SEO include the number of reviews your business has received and how close it is to the city center. Keep in mind that “traditional” SEO considerations, like having high-quality content and a website that loads fast will also play a role in local SEO.

Sign up for our local citation submission service and outrank your competition with ease.

4 Responses to Local Citations and their SEO Value

  1. Jacob July 24, 2013 at 8:28 am #

    You learn something new everyday. I had no idea what local citation was until today, I’ve been studying about SEO of late and the word “citation” had me very curious of its function. Anyhow, I’ll get started with the directories and I’ll even join some forums to get my NAP out there. After I get the basics done, then I’ll speak to you guys about improving the SEO of my website even more.

  2. Madison M July 24, 2013 at 3:32 pm #

    It makes sense that the search engines want validation that a business is legit. If your business gets on top of google searches for example for a very profitable search term, then that probably translates to a lot of business for you. One could easily use google to scam people and google wants to avoid that from happening. Of course people always find ways to circumvent rules and regulations, hence the reason why SEO companies make their money by boosting SEO factors for legit businesses. Looks good, I’ll give the local citation submission service a try.

  3. William July 25, 2013 at 1:05 am #

    My business gets no SEO love at all lol and I seriously need to do something about it. I’ve read on a business magazine the other day that online referrals can boost as much as 80 percent of your offline business earnings. Now that figure was a total wake up call and I knew I had to make some necessary investment to my business website and its SEO. It’s better late than never, so I’m gonna let the SEO professionals do their magic for my business from now on.

  4. Alexander July 25, 2013 at 10:33 am #

    I opened a new business and I have exactly one year to grow it to a profitable business. In the past, I would have had to rely purely on offline marketing methods such as fliers and newspaper ads, but in today’s world online local business searches take up so much of the marketing. It’s really impossible to dismiss the online marketing potential of your business, so having a website is a must and ranking that website on the first page of google is critical. For a brick and mortar business like mine, local business search can make or break a new business, so it’s imperative that people take SEO seriously.Build a strong online foundation for your business starting with a solid build up of local citations and you’ll already be half way to that first page search result.

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