What are Local Citations?

by Kevin Fairbanks ยท August 16, 2022

Learn what local citations are and how they can help you with your SEO.

cafe owner reviewing his local citation report to improve his local seo

Local citations are an important part of any local SEO strategy. They help businesses to improve their visibility on search engine results pages (SERPs), and can also help to boost their online reputation.

So, what exactly is a local citation? Essentially, they are a listing of a business’s name, address, and phone number on various online directories and websites. They usually appear in the form of a snippet in search engine results pages and can help to improve the visibility of your business and potentially increase your domain authority.

The main benefit of local citations is that they help to establish your business as a credible source of information. They also help to increase the chances that your business will be found in the local search results by potential customers in your area.

How Can You Get Local Citations?

There are a few different ways that you can go about creating local citations for your business. The first step is to compile a list of relevant directories and websites where your business could be listed. You can then use a local citation finder tool such as Moz Local or Whitespark to help you to find the contact details for these business directories and websites.

Once you have compiled this information, you can start building citations by submitting your business description and information to these directories and websites. It’s important to ensure that all of your information is accurate and up-to-date, so make sure to keep your listings up-to-date as well.

Another way to find local citation opportunities is by using a service such as BrightLocal or Yext. These services will manage all of your listings for you, ensuring that all of your information is accurate and up-to-date. This can be a useful option if you don’t have the time or resources to manage your own listings.

How Do Local Citations Help My Business?

There are a few key ways that a citation for local SEO can help your business:

  1. Increased Visibility in SERPs: One of the main benefits of local citations is that they help to improve your visibility in search engine results pages. By having accurate and consistent information listed across a range of business directories and websites, you can increase the chances that potential customers will find your local business when they are searching for relevant keywords or terms.
  2. Established Credibility: Another key benefit of local citations is that they help to establish your business as a credible source of information. When potential customers see your business listed on authoritative websites and directories, it helps to build trust and credibility. This can be particularly beneficial if you are targeting consumers who are looking for trustworthy local businesses in their area.
  3. Increased Traffic: Local citations can also help to increase traffic to your website. When potential customers see your business listed alongside other reputable businesses on authoritative websites, it can encourage them to visit your website for more information. This increased traffic can result in more leads and sales for your business.

How important are citations for local SEO?

Citations are a key factor in local SEO and can help businesses to improve their visibility and online reputation. However, it’s important to ensure that all of your citations are accurate, up-to-date, and relevant to your business. If you’re not sure where to start, there are a number of services that can help you to manage your citations, such as BrightLocal, Moz Local and Whitespark.

Local SEO can be a complex and time-consuming process, but the effort is often worth it for businesses that want to improve their local search visibility and attract more customers from their local area.

Do local business citations really impact local search rankings?

Local business citations are an important factor in local SEO and can help to improve your visibility by boosting your local rankings and helping you attract more customers from your local area.

What are the best directories for local business citations?

There are a number of different directories that can be useful for local business directories, such as Yelp, Foursquare, Apple Maps, and Google My Business. It’s important to ensure that all of your information is accurate and up-to-date across all of your listings, so make sure to regularly check and update your listings on these directories.

What is the difference between a citation and a backlink?

A citation is a mention of your business on another website, often with your name, address, and phone number (NAP) or NAP-W when you include a website link. A backlink is a link from another website to your website. Both citations and backlinks are important for local SEO, but they serve different purposes. Citations help to improve your visibility and establish credibility, while backlinks help to increase traffic to your website.

Are there industry-specific directories for citations?

Yes, there are industry-specific directories for citations. For example, if you are in the healthcare industry, you can list your business on websites like Healthgrades and Vitals. If you are in the legal industry, you can list your business on websites like Avvo and FindLaw. And if you are in the real estate industry, you can list your business on websites like Zillow and Trulia. There are also many other industry-based directories that you can use to list your business information. To find them, simply search for “[your industry] directories” or “[your industry] citation sites.” Doing so will help you find relevant websites where you can list your business.

What is the best way to get started with citations?

If you’re just getting started with citations, the best way to get started is to create a free account on Moz Local. Moz Local is a tool that helps businesses list their businesses on the most important directories and websites. Creating a free account will allow you to list your business on up to four of these websites. Once you’ve created your free account, you can then upgrade to a paid account to list your business on even more directories and websites. Paid accounts start at $14 per month.

If you want to do the work yourself, you can also manually submit your business listings to directories and other websites. To find relevant websites, simply search for “[your industry] directories” or “[your industry] citation sites.” Doing so will help you find relevant business directory websites where you can list your business. Once you’ve found these websites, simply follow the instructions on how to submit your listing. Keep in mind that this process can be time-consuming, so it’s important to be patient and consistent.

How often should I update my citations?

It’s important to regularly check your citations for accuracy and update them as needed. This is because information can change over time, such as your address, phone number, or website URL. By regularly checking and updating your listings, you can ensure that potential customers have the most up-to-date information about your business. Additionally, keeping your listings accurate will help improve your local SEO.

Why are inaccurate business listings a problem?

There are a few key problems that can occur if your business listings are inaccurate:

  1. You may lose potential customers: If potential customers see that your business information is incorrect, they may assume that you are not a reputable or trustworthy business. This can lead them to choose another business over yours, even if you offer a better product or service.
  2. You may damage your online reputation: Inaccurate business listings can damage your online reputation and make it difficult for potential customers to find you. This can lead to lost sales and revenue for your business.
  3. You may be penalized by search engines: If search engines identify that your business listings are inaccurate, they may penalize your website in their search results. This can make it even harder for potential customers to find you and do business with you.

What are some tips for creating accurate business listings?

Here are a few tips for creating accurate business listings:

  1. Check your listings regularly: Make sure to regularly check your business listings on directories and other websites to ensure that all of the information is still accurate.
  2. Use consistent NAP information: Use the same name, address, and phone number (NAP) across your listings to avoid confusion.
  3. Use correct category information: Make sure to use the correct categories for your business when listing it on directories and other websites. This will help potential customers find you more easily.
  4. Include photos and videos: Add photos and videos to your listings to help them stand out and attract attention.
  5. Use keyword-rich descriptions: Use keyword-rich descriptions of your business to help potential customers find you more easily.

What are some common mistakes local businesses make with their citations?

There are a few common mistakes that businesses make with their local citations:

  1. Not checking for accuracy regularly: It’s important to regularly check your directory listings for accuracy, as information can change over time.
  2. Using incorrect NAP information: Using the incorrect name, address, and phone number (NAP) information can be confusing for potential customers and may lead them to choose another business over yours.
  3. Using the wrong categories: Using the wrong business category can make it more difficult for potential customers to find your business online. Make sure to use the correct categories when listing your business on directories and other websites.
  4. Not including photos or videos: Photos and videos can help your listings stand out and attract attention. Make sure to include them in your listings.
  5. Not using keyword-rich descriptions: Using keyword-rich descriptions of your business can help potential customers find you more easily. Make sure to include them in your listings.

If you want to improve your local SEO, it’s important to make sure that your business listings are accurate. Use the tips above to create accurate listings and avoid common mistakes. Doing so will help potential customers find you more easily and do business with you.

What’s Next?

Now that you know more about local citations and how they can help your business, it’s time to start building them! Check out our guide to the best free local directories for US businesses to get started citation building.

If you’re looking for more ways to improve your local SEO, make sure to read our complete guide on how to optimize your website for local searches.


Last Updated: August 16, 2022

Disclosure: I may receive affiliate compensation for some of the links in this article at no additional cost to you if you decide to purchase a product. You can read our affiliate disclosure in our privacy policy. This site is not intending to provide financial advice. This is for entertainment only.

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