What is a Citation?
Citations are listings, or mentions, of your website on other web pages – they act somewhat like links for “Local” SEO. However, a citation may or may not actually link back to your website, and unlike a good backlink, acquiring them is typically in your control through a registration process.
The more places that your business is “cited”, the easier it is for the Search Engines to find your business, and the more confidence they have in listing it on the search engine results pages.
Rules for Citations
1. Make sure that your information (Business name, address, and phone number – NAP) is listed consistently across the web.
2. If possible, include your address on every web page. I’ve found that the footer can be a good place for this.
3. Use a local phone number rather than a toll free number.
4. If you have offices or stores in multiple locations, try to have a separate page for each rather than listing them all on one “Contact Us” page.
5. I don’t usually recommend paying for citations. The only ones that I’ve paid for, and would recommend for most local businesses, are the Chamber of Commerce, the Better Business Bureau, and any authoritative, industry related associations. (i.e. Financial Planning Association for Advisors)
Citation Sites to Get You Started:
There are 5 primary aggregators for local search data that send information out to the U.S. search engines and other business directories: Infogroup, Neustar Localeze, Acxiom, Factual, and Foursquare. I use Moz Local (not an affiliate link) to set these citations up – it is inexpensive and easy to do.
In addition, you could get started by setting up on:
- Yellow Pages
- Express Update USA
- Merchant Circle
- Insider Pages
- and many others . . .
Finding More Citation Opportunities
1. Search: Use industry and location based search queries to find directories or business listings that you could use for citations. Search:
- City + Directory
- City + Business Listings
- Industry + Directory
- Industry + Business Listings
- City + Blog (for possible links)
- Industry + Blog (for possible links)
For example, I could search Henderson + Directory, Henderson + Business Listings, or SEO + Directory.
2. Look at Your Competitor’s Citations:
Your competitors, especially those that appear higher in the rankings than you, may have found other opportunities for citations. To analyze their citations, type the business name, and either the address or phone number, in quotation marks in the Google search bar. The search engine results page will probably show many listings, including some from citation type websites.
3. Whitespark: Local Citation Finding Tool:
Whitespark (not an affiliate link) offers a web tool that will search for “Local” citation opportunities for your business. They offer a limited “free” service that is worth checking out, but if you’re serious about finding as many citations as possible, you’ll probably want to subscribe.
Thanks for reading. As always, your comments and questions are both welcomed and appreciated!
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in October of 2012, but has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
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