Understanding Local Citations

local citations

Citations, in the context of local search marketing, refer to any mention of a location-based business, particularly data points such as its official business name, address, phone number (known collectively as NAP), on the web.

These citations, which may occur on web platforms, local business directories and social media networks, will enable potential customers to find local businesses depending on proximity with just a few taps or clicks. These also enable search engines to verify business information published across the web, solidifies business identity and that it physically exists and is legitimate.

Elements of a Local Citation

Aside from the business’ NAP, a local citation can include a reference or link to the company’s website. It may also contain other important information about the business such as the following:

  • Geo-coordinates, maps and driving directions
  • Operating hours
  • Business categories or descriptions, images and videos
  • Reviews and owner responses
  • Brand taglines
  • Alternative phone numbers and contact information such as fax, email addresses and links to social media platforms

Why are Local Citations Important?

1. Help people discover your business across the web

Citations serve a vital and fundamental role in local search engine optimization (SEO). As part of the search algorithm, these are imperative especially for start-up and small businesses in order for them to appear in local search results and consequently increase their visibility on the platforms where customers do their search.

2. Establish and improve local rankings

Search engines, such as Google, gather and pull in masses of raw web-based data into servers. For each local query, their algorithm will return and display local businesses in search engine result pages (SERPs) based on several variables including prominence and relevance.

Factors that may likely affect particularly relevance include the number of citations a business accrues, their accuracy and consistency, and the quality of platforms where they exist. Simply put, the more and better-quality citations a business have, the more search engines will consider a business valid and trustworthy, and which may subsequently bolster local rankings.

Likewise, citations which may help users to discover businesses will likely impact users or consumers. Inaccurate citations can mislead consumers and eventually may result to revenue and reputation loss.

3. Earn referral traffic

Many internet users search directly on certain websites that they value and trust. For instance, travelers often visit TripAdvisor and look for hotels, restaurants and other travel-related searches. Having your business listed in as many relevant directories as possible might refer more traffic to your business.

Local Citation Types

Citations are divided into two categories: Structured and Unstructured.

1. In structured citations, your NAP details are listed on online business directories (ex. TripAdvisor, YellowPages, Google My Business) and social media business profiles ( ex. Facebook, LinkedIn).

2. When your business is mentioned in a blog post, forum or news story where your business details appear in different ways across different sites, it is called as unstructured citation.

In Summary

While local citations are recently declining in importance in terms of managing local SEO, they should not be overlooked as they still have significant impact on your business aside from search engine rankings.

During this digital era, they have become an invaluable business asset as all forms of citations have given businesses an opportunity to be found and recognized by consumers. Citations containing reviews are also considered as reputation assets that may positively or adversely help local businesses.

One of the most effective ways to use citations is to get listed on Google My Business. Take advantage of all of its features and optimize your listing . Use other top directory listings including industry-specific directories as well as local and community platforms .

Need help setting up and optimizing your GMB listing? Send us a message.

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