What Are Local Citations?
A local citation is reference to your business online from another site. Citations do not have to include a link, but they must include at least part of your Name, Address and Phone Number (N.A.P.).
Citations can come in many forms - they can include:
- Your company’s name
- Company’s name with an a postal code, street name, or even city
- Company’s name with an address
- Company’s name with a phone number
- Phone number
Take a look at this citation for a florist, Designs by Doe Specialty Florist and Gifts, in Columbus, Ohio.
The address and phone number are there, along with the general idea of what the shop caters to; however, the business name is missing. This is still considered to be a citation.
Why Do You Need Citations for SEO?
A search engine's main function is to guarantee accurate results that help the searcher. Having many citations, especially from local sources, helps prove the legitimacy of a local business to the search engines. Therefore, when you have more citations, your site is significantly more likely to rank higher in the search engines.
Many businesses, like florists, shoe-repair shops, and tailors, do not even have sites. However, they do have something just as important - listings! Maintaining those citations and keeping them updated with your N.A.P. is important to begin being listed locally. Obtaining reviews on many of those sites and being mentioned on local sites will also help drive more traffic to your business.
How to Find Local Citations?
Now that you understand the function of a search engine for local searches, it is important to go out and monitor those citations. You always want to ensure that everything is up-to-date and accurate.
To find those citations, you can type in the name of your business and the zip code in quotes, then subtract out your homepage. You can always spruce this up and type in only your company’s phone number, address, or a combination of everything -- just remember to use quotes and subtract out your homepage.
Take a look at the example below:
Here you can see all the citations that the company, Sweet Tooth Cottage, has in the SERPs.
How Do I Obtain Local Citations?
There are many places to obtain good citations, however, here is a quick cheat sheet:
- Internet Yellow Pages
- Angie’s List
- A local newspaper
- A local blog
- A local listing site
Where to Get Citations for Local SEO?
Citations from well-recognized, reputable sites like Yellow Pages and Superpages are more likely to help boost your rankings. However, having citations from local blogs, magazines, etc. is equally as important, as it shows the search engines that you truly are a local business. It gives you credibility.
It is important to be diverse with your citations; gather them from both established directories, local blogs, and newspapers.
Check out Mission Coffee Co.’s citation:
What is exceptional about two of Mission Coffee Co,’s citations is that they are both from local sources: placestogoincolumbus.com and experiencecolumbus.com. This can help prove to the search engines that this is a valuable coffee shop in Columbus. Their personal site is more likely to rank higher because of this.
Citations are a necessary part of local SEO; they are valuable to both the search engines and the searchers. Focus on gaining, maintaining, and updating citations. You won’t regret your choice.