Local citations are one of the key factors in local SEO, although they are mostly overlooked – part of the reason being the difficulty and tediousness of keeping everything updated. However, an optimized local citation is essential for local SEO success. For new SEOs, managing local citations for various business profiles can be an interesting and very educational lesson. If handled correctly, local citations are beneficial for rankings, but small mistakes can turn the process into a tough editing trial.
What Are Local Citations?
Citations are references to your business online. They can your brand’s name (your company, products, or services), your physical address, or even your contact details, phone number, or email address. Local business citations include all business listings that are connected to your company and that are online. They can be included in directories, review sites, social profiles, blogs, articles, even global directories (such as Yelp, Google Places, Merchant Circle, Manta, etc.).
There are various kinds of local citations, but the main ones are NAP citations.
NAP stands for Name, Address, and Phone number. It is a citation that has your business name, address, and phone number, all of which need to be consistent across the globe. The physical address should exist in real life, and the phone number should redirect to your business phone.
The purpose of NAP citations is to establish your company’s credibility. When you supply complete and consistent information about your company, it is easier for search engines and users to see your company as a legitimate business. As for your target audience, they are more likely to trust you when they see that your business is registered in a real office address and that your phone is real as well.
How to Build Local Citation?
Lead generation through Local SEO is very much a ‘quality over quantity’ game. Reputable businesses are serious about making sure that they only add high-quality citations to their ongoing digital marketing strategy. If you are about to start a local business citation building campaign, here are a few points you should keep in mind.
1. Submit to Other Core Sites First
Google My Business, Facebook, Yelp, BBB, YellowPages, Merchant Circle, etc. – these are the most important local business directories in the world. It is vital to claim your listing on as many of these as possible, especially when you are just beginning a local SEO campaign. Review sites like Yelp and merchant portals like MerchantCircle will help you expand your business visibility beyond the borders of your local area, which is essential for today’s online business.
2. Consider Manual Submission
Though there are many automated citation building tools out there, they are only suited for the initial phases of your citation building campaign. Often generated citations are of low quality, and their submission has a high chance of rejection. As a concerned business, you need to invest time and resources in manually adding citations to high authority directories, including local business directories. Manual submissions are time-consuming, but they are effective. With manual submission, you are in full control of the quality, and you can easily manage the whole process without worrying about your citations getting rejected.
3. Submit to Data Aggregators
Citation building practices highly depend on the quality of the website you choose to submit to. If you are starting out with local citations, you should know that the best place to start is data aggregators. A few of the best data aggregators in existence right now include Express Update, Factual, and Newstar Localeze. These companies are widely known and trusted, which makes them highly effective. Data aggregators can help you find and select the highest quality local business directories so that you can then build citations to them.
4. Consider Hiring Local Citation Service Provider
With such a huge number of local business directories, it is frustratingly easy to forget about one of them and to make mistakes. If you build citations in an old-fashioned way, by submitting them manually, you will certainly make some mistakes along the way, and your business reputation might take a few blows. All in all, this is a very time-consuming process, which is fine if you have the time. If you are already running a business and do not have the time, you can consider hiring a professional service provider that provides citation management services.
Final Thoughts on Local Citation
Citations have a huge value for local business SEO. They show that your business is real and local, which makes you more appealing to consumers and businesses. Before you start building citations, you should carefully decide how many and which one to aim for, as both quantity and quality matter.