What are Local Citations in SEO?
Local citations are an integral part of local SEO and ranking your clients local business in Google’s “Snack Pack” and Google Maps results. Learn how you can get started today using Vendasta’s tools and services to rank now!
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Vendasta provides a set of solutions that helps your local business clients claim, monitor, manage, and improve their local citation listings. Agencies who sell Vendasta’s Listing Builder software retain their clients for longer.
What are Local Citations?
These details are commonly found in local and national directories such as Yellowpages, Yelp, Tripadvisor, and more.
However local citations in SEO do not stop there.
Local citations can be found on other web properties such as a business’s website or business profiles on search engine map applications in the form of Google My Business, Bing Local or Apple’s Map Connect.
Why are local citations good for SEO?
Imagine a prospective client find’s your business on Yelp, shows up at the old business address that was never updated, and leaves you a poor review for wasting their time. So not only do local citations have an impact on your SEO directly but indirectly as well.
How consistent does my NAP or NAPW have to be?
Google is able to understand minor differences such as phone number formatting (ie. (555)-555-5555 vs 555-555-5555) or abbreviations (ie. 123 Fake Street vs 123 Fake St.).
What are local citations used for in SEO?
The reason businesses would want to acquire as many local citations as possible for SEO is it is one of the highest determining factors for ranking in Google’s “Snack Pack”. The “Snack Pack” is the 3 local results you would see when searching for a local business such as “Toronto portrait photographer.”
An important aspect to keep in mind when acquiring local citations for your business is to focus not only on quantity but also relevance to the business’s industry. So this means submitting listings to directory websites that are local or niche-specific. For example, if you’re a travel company, you’d want to submit to as many travel directories as possible.
Types of local citations
As mentioned earlier, citations can be any mention of a business NAP or NAPW and therefore are categorized into two different types of local citations:
- Structured Citations
- Unstructured Citations
Structured citations are local citations that are found in business directory listings. These can be sites such as:
Unstructured citations are mentions of your business information on sites that are not business directories. For example, this could be information included in a restaurant review article where the author lists the business information, or at the end of a press release in the boilerplate.
What are the components of a local citation?
The core components of a citation are a company’s name, address, and phone number (NAP) and can also include the company’s website (NAPW). Additionally , citations may include some or all of the following elements:
- Business categories
- Hours of operation
- Driving directions
- Business description
- Payment forms accepted
- Owner responses
- Links to social and other forms of media
- Email addresses
- Fax numbers
- Alternate phone numbers
How to check your local citations
There are a number of ways to check for your local citations across the web.
Manual Local Listing Checks
Using manual checks in Google can be time-consuming, but for a small business that knows it might not have a lot of listings, would be the more economical way to achieve this. Simply searching a combination of your business name and address should surface and listings which are indexed in Google. An example of this would be:
“Phoenix Chinese Restaurant” + “4040 Creditview Rd”
In this example, this restaurant has over 1,000 results which would not be realistic to manually check or take inventory of. A better way to approach managing business listings for this business would be through a tool or service.
Automated Local Listing Checks
With many software solutions to automate local listings, our very own white-label local listing management software allows businesses and agencies to find, monitor, and automatically keep local listings updated with the latest information.
How to build more local citations for a business
The easiest way to build more local citations for SEO is by tapping into the power of data aggregators. These aggregators collect and validate business information from various sources such as governments, telecommunications, utility companies, and web research to distribute these business listings data to hundreds of other sites. These primary data sources for business listings are:
Vendasta’s Listing Distribution tool is exactly this. A local listings management tool that submits your business information to the four primary data aggregators who gather consumer and business data and provide it to high-traffic local listing sources. These aggregators power sophisticated modern applications such as voice search (Apple’s Siri or Amazon Alexa), mobile apps (such as Uber and Snapchat), personal navigation systems, and more.
Listing Management Services
Using a listing management service will allow your business to tap into the expertise of industry professionals who know the best sources to submit your business listings. Vendastas’ white-label listing management service is a perfect solution for agencies managing multiple clients’ listings. By submitting local citations to more directories across the web, client’s local rankings will improve over time.
Do it Yourself
Of course, there is always the DIY approach to managing business listings. To find new sources it is best to just search online for lists that have already been curated. A quick search in Google for “business listing websites,” should yield such results. However, you will want to go a bit further than that and submit to hyperlocal and niche directories as well. For example, as a photographer in Toronto, you’d want to search for “photography directories,” “Toronto business directories,” or even down to the neighbourhood “Yorkville business directories.”
Tips for Successfully Creating More Local Citations
- Keep the name, address, phone number, and website consistent
- Write unique business descriptions for each listing. While NAPW should be consistent, business descriptions should be unique to each site. This will create a higher likelihood that Google will index many different listings and will avoid any duplicate content issues. Some directories only accept unique content for business descriptions.
- Choose categorizes wisely. This is most important for the Google My Business profile, as it is a large ranking consideration. Ensure you keep your business categories consistent as well across all directories. For example, if your or your client’s business is a Sushi bar, you’d be doing yourself a disservice by selecting a category of “Restaurant,” having to compete with far more competition in a general category. Most directories will allow for more niche selections of “Sushi Restaurant” or “Sushi Bar.”