Citation building is a key component to optimize your local business to rank high for search queries for your city or town location. When users in your location search for a business like yours, local citations help these users find your company through Google Search Engine Results Pages (know as SERP’s).
We provide expert solutions for building citations that make a significant impact. We help businesses to dominate local search rankings, in part due to quality citation building. We’ll walk you through how local citations work and what business information you need.
What is Local Citation Building?
Local citations are online mentions of a business’s name, contact number, and address (NAP). You can find these citations in local business websites, apps, and directories. Local citations help businesses optimize their local SEO and become discoverable to users in their targeted locations.
For example, if you search “restaurants near me”, the first few restaurants that pop up have optimized their local citations. Businesses often opt for a local citation-building service to boost their presence in online business directories and websites.
There are two types of local citations – a structured citation and an unstructured citation.
Structured citations list a company’s NAP in a consistent format. Remember, your NAP is your business Name, Address, and Phone number, which should be consistent (exactly the same) on your Google Business Profile and all citations.
All structured citations for business follow the same format. This format allows local business directories and search engines to read your data and associate your brand with it’s local business listings.
Most structured citations in the U. S. are found on well-known online directories, like Yelp, Manta, YellowPages.com, Merchant Circle, and the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
Unstructured citations aren’t as common for local SEO. Unlike structured citations, unstructured citations may not include all NAP elements. Instead, they may appear relatively randomly on websites throughout the internet.
For example, if a blog post mentions your business name, or another website features parts of your NAP, like your name and address, these would be examples of unstructured citations.
Now you know the difference between structured and unstructured citations, so let’s dive into the purpose of local citation building.
Why Does Local Citation Building Matter?
Generate Local Traffic to Your Business
Local businesses rely on optimized local SEO to rank high on search engines and target users in their own city locations. Strategic local citation building helps you rank high on search queries in your targeted area and drive those users to your website.
Local directories, apps, and websites to add citations let’s search engines know where your business is. This makes it easier to match your business to relevant search queries in your targeted location.
Earn Referral Traffic
When people want to find local businesses, like restaurants or hotels, they use apps like TripAdvisor, HelloPeter, and Booking.com. Ensuring your business exists on these platforms through citation building allows users to find and share your information.
To reap this benefit, your business and NAP must feature in industry-specific directories. So, if you’re a hardware store, we can create citations for general directories and hardware-specific directories, apps, and websites.
Create Backlink Opportunities
A backlink is a link from another website to your website. SEO backlinking help search engines understand the relevancy of your content. The more high-quality, authoritative backlinks you have, the more link equity search engines give you. High link equity improves your local SEO.
Citations and backlinks optimize your local rankings by giving search engines information to understand which users and search queries are relevant to your business.
We will update your business informaton to improve your chances of high local search engine rankings.
Optimize Online Visibility
All these benefits combined lead to one ultimate result – optimized online visibility. Every successful business needs growing online visibility to generate targeted web traffic. Local SEO citations, like listing in a business directory, make it easier for search engines to match your business to local searches.
Increased online visibility makes it easier to find your company, beyond local SEO.
How Do You Build Local Citations?
Gather Core Information About Your Business
For local businesses to benefit from citation building, gather all the required business information. This information must be updated and includes your phone number, address, business name, and business description. Your description must define what services your business offers.
All your business listings will have this information, so ensure it’s all accurate and professional. If your physical location or contact information changes, update every listing accordingly.
Get in The Top Data Aggregators
There are too many online business directories for businesses to create listings. Fortunately, data aggregators are companies that gather data on local businesses and give this data to thousands of online websites and directories so you don’t have to.
To rank high for local search results, you need to establish as many citations as possible, and data aggregators can do this for you.
The top data aggregators include:
Submit Your NAP to Core Sites
Many core sites won’t accept your NAP information from data aggregators. We work with our clients to manually create a listing with their information on these sites.
The core sites that you need to submit your NAP information to include:
- Apple Maps
- Better Business Bureau
We don’t recommend you create a business listing on every core site. Many don’t have enough traffic, so focus on the sites that do.
Submit Your NAP to Industry-Specific Local Business Sites and Directories
To help our clients feature at the top of local searches, we do manual location citation building on industry-specific directories and sites. Targeted buyers use these platforms to find business in your niche, so don’t miss out on this channel.
For adding your information to industry-specific directories, ensure all your data is accurate and complete. Users should get all the information they need. It must be easy for search engines to verify and scan your details to match your business to local search results.
Leverage Unstructured Citations
Unstructured citations are much more challenging to use because these aren’t citations you create. Websites and media platforms must find your business valuable enough to provide local citations.
You can use platforms like HARO to secure unstructured local citations. HARO is a platform for readers and journalists. Companies can contact journalists and pay them to cite their businesses in blog posts.
We recommend businesses consider strategies like PR marketing to optimize unstructured local citation building. PR can help you drive positive mentions of your brand, giving you more authority and credibility to secure these citations from websites.
When you build citations that aren’t structured, use the quality over quantity approach. You want mentions of your business where it’s going to count, not loads of citations from poor-ranking directories and websites.
To boost and maintain local SEO through citations in business directories, websites, and apps, be consistent. We can’t stress enough how vital it is to keep your information consistent and updated.
If all your citations have a different address and phone number, search engines can’t verify your business or match you to local search queries.
We make it a priority to optimize existing citations too. If your business information is outdated or incomplete, we can improve and enrich this data.
How Do You Evaluate and Track Local Citations?
Tracking your local business directories will be cumbersome if you do it manually. We suggest using automated software specializing in citation tracking.
This software will help you stay ahead of your local citations and notify you when they need improvement or optimization. Many systems can also recommend citation sites for your business.
When Will My Business Appear in Local Directories?
Citation building doesn’t happen overnight. Once you’ve submitted your details to online directories, it may take a day or two before you appear. Before adding businesses, these directories must verify your information which can take some time.
After publishing your listing, it will take about a month for Google to store your information. It may take several weeks to start noticing the impact of your citations.
Why Should I Outsource My Citation Management and Building Services?
If you and your team don’t know much about citations, you most likely won’t know which are the best sites, apps, and directories for your business. You also don’t have the technology agencies to optimize this process. Outsourcing your citations ensure you have access to the resources you need.
Lacking the expert skills for these citations may result in trial and error without tangible returns. Fortunately, we have decades of industry experience working with citations. We know how to remove and avoid duplicate listings, secure unstructured citations, and use accurate business information.
Mistakes like neglecting to ensure data accuracy for your business listings or missing industry-specific directories will cost you. You won’t get returns for all the time and effort invested in building your citations. We can ensure your business only invests its time, money, and resources where necessary.
IT MAY COST YOU
Agencies may charge a high upfront cost that isn’t feasible for some businesses. However, we deliver high-level services to ensure our clients generate returns in the long run. While agencies may be pricey, you don’t risk wasting money or not making any money from your citations.
LACK OF CONTROL
Outsourcing your citations means putting the agency in the driver’s seat. You won’t have as much control as you would handling it in-house. To ease this, we put our client’s needs and goals at the center of our custom strategies.
LACK OF COMMUNICATION
We’ve heard ample business owners complain about agencies that don’t communicate enough, or at all! This is a realistic downside, as outsourcing your citations must provide efficiency. Our agency takes a hands-on approach to communicating with your clients at every touch point.
Work with Our Local SEO Experts for Results-driven Citations
Local citation building is imperative to get matched for local search queries on search engines like Google. We use custom strategies to help our clients develop local citations that boost their local awareness.
Our process starts with gathering the NAP information we need and finding the best data aggregators, core sites, and industry-specific directories, sites, and apps.
We will ensure your content is optimized and updated for search engines, and provide advice on maintaning healthy citation building.
Serving Businesses in Castro Valley, Concord, Danville, Dublin, Fremont, Hayward, Livermore, Modesto, Oakland, Pleasanton, San Leandro, San Ramon, Stockton, Tracy, Walnut Creek, the East Bay, San Francisco Bay Area, and Nationwide.