What Are Local Citations?
A local citation is anywhere that your business is mentioned online. This includes information like your company name, phone number, address, zip or postal code.
Citations are found in local listings on major platforms such as:
- Local search engines (Google, Bing)
- Maps services (Google Maps, Apple Maps)
- Data aggregators (Factual)
- Local business directories (Yelp, Foursquare, Yellow Pages)
- Social media channels (Facebook, Instagram)
Why Do They Matter?
In a nutshell, they’re a key ranking factor that can boost or lower your local search ranking.
The more citations your brand has listed on directories with name, address, phone number (NAP) data accuracy, the higher your local search ranking is likely to go.
But if you have outdated and irrelevant citations floating around, this sends a message to your current and potential customers that you don’t care to keep in touch with them.
By having citations that are accurate and relevant, you can expand your brand’s online visibility in the best possible way.
What Is Citation Building?
A method of building up your brand mentions across a variety of platforms and directories.
This means that the more times the same information is listed across different directories, the more reliable that information becomes.
Google and Bing recognize business locations and brands whose citations are consistent, accurate and up-to-date. So when your prospective customers are searching for the product or service you offer on their navigation app, you’ll reach them as they pass by your locations.
Citations are also crucial for local search engines to determine whether a business location is real, by confirming your brand’s NAP data on several other platforms and directories.
Why Citation Building Is Critical For Your Business Locations
Accurate, current and well-managed citations are key because they give Google the signal that your brand is authentic and legitimate.
Citations are also a direct ranking factor for search results. The more citations about your brand ensures search engines recognize the existence of the real business location as confirmed by several pages. For your brand, this means it is more likely to appear in the Google Local Pack or in Google Maps.
Keep Them Consistent
To reap the local SEO benefits citation building brings, each individual location must be consistent on all platforms. For example, inconsistent citations for a single location (London’s Blooming Flowershop vs. Blooming Flowers) will confuse Google.
If your business location’s name or address is different on another platform or directory, Google won’t know if it’s the same business or a different one. Or, Google may mix up a brand that has a similar name to yours and credit your competitor.
But keeping your citations up-to-date isn’t something you can do once and forget about. It requires constant managing, updating and checking that all your NAP data is consistent and duplicate information isn’t lurking on platforms or directories on the internet.
Next Steps: Start with the Most Important Directories
Having accurate, reliable, standard NAP data about all your brands on Google builds consumer confidence and boosts your local search ranking. This makes it easier for your prospective customers to find your brands’ goods or services when they are searching near your locations.
However, if there are any variations to the spelling of your brands, or addresses are missing or incorrect on other local directories, Google will not post the search results high.
To keep it simple, start with the largest platforms with the highest global reach, and ensure your citations are as accurate as possible for all of your business locations.
Platforms such as Google, Facebook, Bing, Apple Maps, Yell and Yelp should be the first places you list your UK business since each platform has a high volume of monthly UK users searching for local goods, services and businesses themselves. Get the stats about these 6 directories in this post.
Interested in even more citation building? Check out our brand-new infographic.