Let's Talk About Citations and why They are so Important

Let's Talk About Citations and why They are so Important

Small businesses don’t rely on word-of-mouth anymore.  Not like they used to - in the traditional sense anyway.  Whether you are running a hair salon or own a local restaurant in the community, you need a top 3 position on Google or people just won’t find your business nowadays. So, if you’re struggling with getting foot traffic, calls, or leads to your business and need a local SEO boost, you’re in the right place.

One key strategy for local SEO that really makes a difference is building citations for your business. In today’s issue, we are going to talk about citations and why they are extremely important for your local business.

What are citations

A citation can be described as an online reference of your business that includes your business name, address & phone.  (Also known as your “NAP”) One of the easiest examples of a citation is your Google My Business (GMB) account. This is your biggest and best citation. Citations are incredibly important because they are the building blocks of your local SEO campaign.  

Let’s get one thing clear - citations are your best friend when it comes to building your brand's visibility online. They’re kind of like a “vote” for your business.  And the more quality citations you have, the better.  Many businesses overlook the importance of citations and end up with lower rankings on search engines.

Why are Citations Important?

As a local business owner, you will have to rely on several sources to build local citations. For example, local directories, social media, data aggregators, review blogs, etc. While there are many ways to build citations, one of the most important and effective ways is through local directories.

Let’s look at some of the most high-quality citation sites your business should be listed on if you live in the US. These are 20 of the best citations:

  • google.com
  • maps.apple.com
  • Facebook.com
  • Bing.com
  • Yelp.com
  • Foursquare.com
  • Bbb.org
  • Local.yahoo.com
  • Mapquest.com
  • Yellowpages.com
  • Angi.com
  • Here.com
  • City-data.com
  • Manta.com
  • Justlanded.com
  • Citysearch.com
  • Merchantcircle.com
  • Local.com
  • Brownbook.net
  • Yellowbook.com

*When setting up your citations make sure they all follow the same format, using the same info which is your NAP (Name, Phone, and Address.)  

The 2 Types of citations.

There are two types of citations - structured and unstructured.

Structured citations are business listings located in an online database like YellowBook.com or a social media platform like Yelp.  Behind every successful business listing on Google, you can bet there are carefully curated citations. 

You create your citations by listing your business name, address, phone number, (your NAP) hours of operation, your logo, images of your business, and other details about your business.  

Then there are unstructured citations. Unstructured citations are informal references to your business somewhere on the web. Some examples are news listings, articles, blogs, guest posts, etc. While most of your citation building should be structured, unstructured citations can also add some SEO juice to your ranking as well.

Both structured and unstructured citations play a role in where your business ranks on Google but building structured citations will make the biggest impact between the two.

Now that you know why citations are so important here are a couple of pro tips to get the most out of your efforts.

Pro tip: One way to beat out your local competition is to run a backlink analysis on your competitor’s website and figure out what websites link back to them. These citations will be good to use for your website as well.  

Pro tip #2: Another method to find citations that will give you a leg up on your competitors is simply to do a google search of local your competitor’s website urls.  Then go at least five pages back in the results for each competitor.  On those results pages, you’ll find various local citations that they have that you might not.

In Conclusion,

If you want to boost your Google rankings for your local business, and get more foot traffic, and online visibility – building citations is one of the best strategies you can use.

They improve your reach and boost your business's visibility locally. So what are you waiting for?  This is one of the easiest, and most effective SEO strategies that get results!

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Julie Herndon & Jessica Hetherington

Two women on a mission to help you clear the chaos and craft your dream business!

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