Local SEO Citations: What Really Matters

Local search citations are a key factor in improving local rankings to prove your business’ credibility and relevance to searches. But citation management isn’t as quite straightforward as it seems.

Many of your customers are probably using directories and search engines to find you or the services and products. So getting as many citations as you can is always a good thing, right?

It’s easy to make mistakes when you’re listing your business across several citation sites. And it’s even easier to get carried away with getting citations and let it distract you from the things that are bigger ranking factors.

Before you spend all your time focused on citations, make sure you understand their place in local SEO and what’s important to focus on when perfecting your NAP listings.

What Are Local Citations?

If you’re asking yourself: what is citation SEO? We’ve got you covered. Part of local SEO strategies focuses on creating consistency of all the directories that include a listing for your business. Local citations are more than just a mention of your business or a Google My Business listing, however.

A listing in a business directory is known as a local citation in SEO and includes the most basic information about your business: your business name, address, and phone number. This kind of Name-Address-Phone listing is abbreviated as a NAP listing.

Search engines view NAP SEO as a way to verify credibility and confirm details about your business. When search engines like Google see that other websites have your citation listed on their site, it may help make you more reputable in search engine results.

Do Citations Matter To My Local Rankings?

When customers are searching for products or services related to your business, businesses with more consistent NAP citations are often more than likely to show first on Google Maps.

Although NAP local SEO citations seem super important, they have a small impact on your local SEO rankings. Search engines like Google take your NAP data into consideration when determining which businesses will show in a local area and should be included in local SEO services—but you don’t want to get carried away with citations.

Don’t think you need to only prioritize local citation services to succeed at SEO. When it comes to local SEO ranking factors, NAP citations weigh very little in your overall rankings when compared to your Google My Business optimization and non-citation backlinks to your site.

All the same, you do want to make sure your business is listed in the top directories and information is consistent. It’s a low-hanging fruit SEO opportunity your business shouldn’t pass up.

What Are the Best Local Citation Sites?

If you’re looking to improve your overall local SEO, it is important to use quality local SEO citation sources and avoid spammy ones. Business citation sites can range from large national citations to local citation websites. Some of the bigger and more important citation to choose from include:

  • Google
  • Bing
  • YP
  • Yelp
  • Facebook
  • Factual
  • Acxiom

Don’t forget to work on local specific and industry specific local citations for your business type, like Avvo for lawyers or HomeAdvisor for home service businesses. We maintain our own list of local citation submission sites that we use in our local SEO services for our clients, as well as industry specific directory sites.

Although SEO citation building is important, you don’t have to put your information on every single citation on the internet. In fact, you may hurt your local SEO if your local business citations are on spammy websites so steer clear of anything that looks outdated or untrustworthy.

How to Build Local Citations for SEO

Citation sites range in how much information they’ll allow you to input. Some will offer opportunities to include more information, like photos, links to your site, social media profiles and more.

All the same, focus your local citation building on using a standardized address and identical contact information across all your citations, using this process:

  1. Add unique descriptions to each citation - Descriptions can be similar but should not be exact or copied from one citation site to the other. Be sure to include your target keywords but be careful not to keyword stuff.
  2. Add accurate & up to date information - Make sure your name, address, and phone number are all accurate and identical across all your citations. Incorrect information could cause you to lose customers and could negatively impact your local SEO rankings.
  3. Complete your profiles - If your profile is not complete or claimed, you may not show up on the citation site. You’ll also miss SEO opportunities by not completing your profiles and not getting the full value of your listings.
  4. Add photos - If you have the opportunity to include photos on the citation sites, you should consider including them. Photos boost your credibility and can help customers feel more trusting of your business.
  5. Manage reviews - If you have the opportunity to include or cultivate reviews, they can greatly improve your customer reach and local SEO. Search engines tend to favor positive reviews and ratings and some negative reviews are considered normal.

If you’re considering using citations to improve your local SEO rankings, your citation digital marketing plan should include these factors in your process.

Additionally, making sure that your NAP citations are consistent with one another also can play a key role in your overall local SEO rankings. You’ll find that there are probably hundreds of citations you didn’t create that already exist for your business. Some of them will likely have outdated information. You really only need to worry about the top citations sites—the rest tends to sort itself out on its own.

Again, remember that you only need to focus citation marketing on the top citation sites, not everything under the sun. After a certain point, citation SEO can be a huge waste of time so check for consistency and move on to more important local SEO strategies.

How Can I Check My Citations?

If you’re concerned that some of your citations are incorrect or you may be missing opportunities to get quality citations, you can use an automated NAP checker. However, if you’ve ever moved locations, changed phone numbers, or renamed your business, you might not find all of the inconsistencies.

We provide our clients with manual NAP checker SEO services to make sure that your NAP information is correct and up to date across top citation sites and to clean up any inconsistent information. Manual submission tends to get higher quality citation results for a minimal time investment.

Our local SEO services include helping clients with business citation management, so they don’t have to worry about optimizing their local citations, though our main focus is on strategies that drive the most SEO results.

Contact us for your free initial consultation where we can review your local citations for discrepancies and help you get a local SEO strategy focused on more than just citations that works for your business.

              Kim Herrington
Kim Herrington

Kim Herrington is Creative Director of Orsanna where she leads the production and strategy for clients' marketing and advertising. She founded Orsanna over seven years ago to bring quality marketing services to business owners.

Category: Local SEO
Published: Jul 27, 2020 Last Updated: Jul 28, 2020

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