What are local citations in SEO and why are they important?

Local citations are just one part of search engine optimisation (SEO) that improves your business’ visibility online and makes it easier for people to find you.

They’re especially important for small businesses, because they help get you in front of potential customers who are in your area and looking for products or services related to your business.

RELATED: Why SMBs need to invest in local SEO content.

But what exactly are local citations? Here’s what you need to know.

What are local citations?

Local citations are any mention of your business’ name and contact details online. They can appear in search engine results, business directories, social networks and anywhere else people might be looking for information about local businesses.

Citations not only make it easier for people to find out about your business online, they also help search engines verify the legitimacy and trustworthiness of your business. In fact, it’s believed local citations are one of the most important ranking factors for local SEO.

The most common types of citations include:

  • Search engines – Google and Bing
  • Business directories – such as Yellow Pages Online, Facebook and Yelp
  • Industry-specific citations – such as professional association and guild websites
  • Unstructured citations – any mention of a business on pages that aren’t specifically designed for business listings, such as blogs, news sites and government databases.

RELATED: Why local SEO is worth the time and investment.

How local citations benefit your business.

Local citations are essential for boosting your online presence and can benefit your business by:

  • Improving your search engine ranking: Review sites and business directories generally rank highly in search engine results, and citations can also indirectly improve the ranking of your business website.
  • Making it easier to find you:  Each citation you have online offers a path to your business for people interested in the products and services you offer.
  • Growing your link equity: Online directories and business listing websites allow you to add a link back to your business website, helping you build link equity for your website (beneficial for SEO).
  • Improving your online reputation: Directory sites and other citation sources often enable customer reviews, giving you the opportunity to build a positive online presence.

RELATED: How to get more online reviews for your business.

How to build your local citations.

Claiming your Google Business Profile and Yellow Pages Online listing is a great place to start when it comes to building local citations.

From there, take a look at the different citation sources out there to figure out which ones are appropriate for your business. Some directories to consider include:

The more relevant business listings you have online, the more visibility you’ll be giving your business. One important note: make sure your name, address and phone number are correct and consistent across all listings, as this data is stored and used by Google when determining rankings.

Strategies for building citations.

  • Using citation building services: Many services specialise in creating and managing local citations. They ensure your business information is accurately listed across various directories and platforms, enhancing your online presence without the hassle of doing it manually. Examples include BrightLocal, Yext and Moz Local.
  • Manual submissions: Manually submitting your business details to high-quality and relevant directories allows for direct control over your information. Start with major platforms like Google Business Profile, Yelp and industry-specific directories. Ensure all entries are consistent and complete.
  • Partnering with industry associations: Join industry-specific associations that offer citation opportunities. These can be valuable sources of local SEO and credibility.
  • Leveraging local chambers of commerce: Listings in local business groups and chambers of commerce can provide authoritative citations that boost your local SEO.

Managing and monitoring citations.

  • Regular audits: Conduct periodic checks to ensure all your citations remain accurate and consistent across all platforms. This helps in maintaining the integrity of your business information online.
  • Using monitoring tools: Utilise tools like Moz Local, Whitespark or BrightLocal to monitor your citations. These tools can alert you to any inconsistencies or changes, enabling you to correct them promptly.
  • Setting up alerts: Set up Google Alerts for your business name and key details. This helps you stay informed about new citations and any potential discrepancies that need to be addressed.
  • Maintaining a master list: Keep a master list of all the places where your business is cited. This can be a simple spreadsheet that includes URLs and login information, making it easier to manage and update your citations as needed.

Enhance your local citation portfolio and boost brand awareness by getting started with Yellow Pages Online today.

Talk to us about creating or upgrading your Yellow Pages Online listing today.

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