The Essential Guide To Local Citations – How To Accurately List Your Business Locally
If you’re like most people, you know that one of the best places to start searching for any product or service is online. More than 95% of searches begin that way, and it’s for a good reason. When you put in a search term or string of keywords on Google, you’re quickly presented with pages of relevant results thanks to search engine optimization!
And if you’re a local business owner, you want to utilize local citations in a way that helps you rank higher in those results – and show up in front of more potential customers. Using local citations is one way that you can boost your rankings – and be the answer to more people’s online searches.
How To Use Local Citations For Your Business
In this article, we’re going to cover the value of local citations and how to use them properly to help you rank higher online and get in front of more people that want what you offer!
What Are Citations?
Before we jump into how to get them, let’s define what local citations are and how they help your business. Citations are business references that include a business name, address, and phone number (also known as NAP). The most common form of citations are online business directories that have multiple business listings, such as Yelp, Google Business Profile, Facebook, and more.
While technically a listing that includes NAP (business name, address, and phone number) is a citation, many directories allow business owners to add much more information beyond basic business facts.
If you’re a customer looking for a restaurant, knowing the location is nice, but a menu, pictures of meals, and great reviews are even better! The additional information can be the difference between knowing about a business and choosing that business for a potential customer!
Choosing Local Citation Sources
The examples we listed above (Yelp, Google Business Profile, and Facebook) are well-known, high-ranking platforms you can (and should) utilize no matter what industry you operate in. But there are also industry-specific directories that are extremely valuable. Many experts say that industry relevance is as, if not more important, than domain authority (a website that has high domain authority is more likely to show up in search engine results).
For example, being listed on Zillow may make sense for you if you’re a realtor because it’s highly relevant to your field. People are going to Zillow to find a home, which happens to be a service you offer (win, win!).
If you’re a roofer, using Angie’s List, where people are searching for reputable contractors, would make more sense than using a directory designed for personal trainers or attorneys. And unlike building simple or quick backlinks, being listed in high-quality, relevant directories helps boost your website by communicating to search engines that you’re a real business with credibility in multiple places.
You can also benefit from being associated with high-ranking websites that consistently show up in the top results for a given search or inquiry relevant to you. If your website isn’t number one in search results for your industry, you might as well be listed in the directory that is! You will have more opportunities to be found (and drive traffic to your site), and you’ll also be strengthening your website with that credibility booster. That’s the benefit of local citations!
While more sources are beneficial, using local citations is a marathon, not a sprint. Start by identifying the most relevant options in your industry. You can use a tool like Moz.com or begin your own research with what else but a Google search, of course! Once you’ve identified the best listings for you, you’ll start the process of setting up each profile and managing them to get the best results.
Setting Up Local Citations
Once you have a list of directories that are relevant to your industry, and quality references, it’s time to go about setting up your local citations. You may want to list all the directories you have identified and what it will take to join each one.
Expect that each directory will have unique fields you can complete and that the costs will vary. If you don’t have a budget for local citations, start with the free listings and grow from there.
One of the most important things to remember when setting up local citations is that consistency matters. When filling out the business NAP (name, address, and phone), using the same input across all platforms has been shown to increase SEO. You don’t have to stress about using Avenue versus Ave but do focus on consistency that helps your potential customers find you. For example, add your suite number on all listings, not just a few. And if you have older listings with outdated NAP details, update them as soon as possible.
For listings that allow you to add descriptions and keywords, be sure to complete each section. Content and keywords matter to search engines, which connect your business with what you do and to the industry you operate in.
If you have the ability to link to your website, great – don’t skip this step! And if you want a pro tip, connect to a location or landing page rather than just a generic homepage so that users (and search engines) can find relevant information quickly.
Some local citations incorporate photos, which can boost the attractiveness of your business to potential customers. Not sure which photos to use? Restaurants may share images of delicious food while accountants showcase their professional office and team. Like your website, a listing allows you to authentically engage with your audience – on a smaller scale.
Lastly, if a directory has an opportunity for a review, ask a few of your clients to leave one on the platform. While Google reviews are often the go-to location to collect testimonials, having positive sentiments from consumers in other places can boost your ranking on search engines.
Managing Local Citations
Like most things in life, using local citations requires ongoing management. Not only do you need to keep your information current (and consistent), but you also want to know if listings are working in your favor and if any drop off over time.
We recommend working with a professional marketing team, like BullsEye Internet Marketing, to manage your local citations. But if you’re not ready for something official, you can manually check on listings or use one of the available tools in the marketplace to try to automate tracking.
The key to managing local citations is to ensure consistent, current data on your existing listings, track what’s working, and stay focused on growing your overall local citations each month!
Frequently Asked Questions
Now that you know the value of local citations and how to get started, let’s jump into frequently asked questions. If you don’t see a question below that answers what you want to know, reach out to our team at https://bullseyeint.wpenginepowered.com/.
What is local business citation?
A local business citation is a business reference that includes the name, address, and phone number (or NAP). Often, citations are online business directories that list businesses in a particular industry or location. Common examples of these online directories are Google Business Profile, Facebook, and Yelp.
Any listing that includes the business name, address, and phone number can be considered a listing, but many directories have sections for much more detailed information that can help increase the chances of potential customers wanting to learn more. Business categories, keywords, descriptions, photos, and website links are just a few examples of what can be included in a great local business citation. If those fields are available, be sure to complete each one for the best results.
How do you create a local citation?
The first step to creating a local citation is to determine which directories you want to participate in. Focus on industry-specific and relevant options that make sense for your business. Some directories require payment so if you don’t have an established budget for this marketing tool, begin with the free options.
Follow the instructions for creating a local citation on each platform. You may be required to create an account, pay a fee, and/or verify your business before getting started. Once you’re ready, include current and consistent NAP (name, address, and phone number) for your business.
Next, utilize any additional sections that are available to complete. These may include options to add a business description, keywords and business categories, photos, testimonials, and more.
When adding a website link, think about the best page for your potential customers to land on. You don’t have to link to your homepage if you know they’re searching a directory for contact or location information most often.
What are local citations for local SEO?
Local citations for local SEO are business references that include your business name, address, and phone number (this is also referred to as NAP). You may be familiar with the most common directories that function as local citations, such as Yelp, Google My Business, and Facebook. There are also industry-specific directories, such as Angie’s List for contractors, Fiverr for freelancers, etc.
Local citations support local SEO because the more you have consistent and correct listings, the more Google and other search engines can validate your business as credible. While all local citations for SEO include the name, address, and phone number of the business, many provide additional opportunities for details that add value. Some of these details include adding business categories and descriptions, adding a direct link to your website, uploading photos and reviews, and more. The more complete a local citation, the more potential value it has to boost your local SEO.
Are local citations important?
Absolutely! Local citations are essential for many reasons. The first is that adding local citations helps Google validate your business, which adds to the credibility of your website and can improve your domain authority and overall ranking.
Additionally, local citations can help you get in front of more people who are searching for what you do. A business that shows up on the first page of search results in multiple places has a much higher chance of being contacted (up to 300% more!). And since many directories have strong domain authority and consistently appear in higher search results, your business can benefit from being listed on those websites.
Another great reason to utilize local citations is to improve your overall online visibility. Potential customers may not know to search for your website but may be very familiar with a local or industry-specific directory. By showing up consistently, new customers can be more easily introduced to you and your business.
Do local citations help SEO?
Yes! Local citations help boost SEO by adding credibility to your business. Search engines like Google validate your business online before displaying your website in search results. They need to know that your business is credible and can provide valuable content that will meet the needs of people who are searching. When your business shows up in multiple places (with consistent, accurate information), it increases your credibility and the chances of ranking higher.
What is local citation service?
A local citation service is a service that helps your business increase the quality and number of your citations. Many business owners find it difficult or overwhelming to find the right listings to use and create profiles on so many different platforms. Once the listings are created, they must be managed to ensure the business data is consistent and accurate and that the listings on each platform are optimized to take advantage of any unique opportunities to share specials and events.
A local citation service from a reputable marketing company, such as BullsEye Internet Marketing, helps business owners reap the benefits of local citations without investing all the time and effort it takes to succeed.
If you choose to work with a professional for local citations, ask about their process for identifying and selecting citation options. It’s important to use white hat methods to increase your local citations safely and avoid any adverse effects of cutting corners.
You should receive a list of the locations where your business will be added and any associated costs. Look for a mix of quality general directories and industry-specific directories to maximize your results.
How do local citations benefit your business?
Local citations are great for your business because they help Google validate you. With validation comes credibility, which means your website domain authority can improve, and your overall ranking can go up! For most people, ranking on the first page of search results is a big goal, and local citations are one tool in the marketing toolkit that can help you get there.
In addition to credibility, local citations help improve your chances of being found (and seen) by more people that are looking for the products or services you offer. When you show up in multiple places on the first page of search results, you have up to a 300% increase in getting contacted. Thanks to the domain authority of many popular directories, you can benefit from being associated with websites that are on the front page.
Local citations can help boost your SEO, increase front-page visibility, and they can introduce you to more people who may come across your listing on another website. Potential customers may not know to search for your business name, but if they Google “roofers” and see your profile on Angie’s List, you’ve just improved your visibility (and potential connection) from a valuable local citation!
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