A local citation is any mention of your small business on the web; it is any combination of your business name, phone number, address, zip or postal code, and website address. Citations in SEO are a key factor in boosting your local search engine results.
Local citations are available in many forms, for instance:
* Company name.
* Company name & phone number.
* Company name, contact number, & address.
* Company name, contact number, address, & website.
* Company name, & website.
* Company phone number.
And so forth. The term “citation” was coined by David Mihm in 2008 in the pivotal post, Local vs Traditional SEO: Why Citation Is the New Link. An entire local citation needs to include the organization name, address, and phone number, which is known as your “NAP”. A citation that fails to include all three of those may also be known as partial citation.
You’ll sometimes also hear people talk about a NAPW or even a UNAP citation too. The W refers to Website, and the U describes URL. The web site link you get from the citation gives you additional value, as it provides an extra data point that helps search engines like google connect the citation to your business, so some people like to include it within the acronym.
Important note about links: A citation will not need to link back to your site to get valuable. The value in a citation is definitely the mention of your small business. Google identifies that your business was mentioned through the presence of your NAP info, and you get credit for this mention. The greater mentions of the business out on the web, the better prominent your business generally seems to Google, which will assist with your local rankings. The actual links from most business directories are often nofollowed anyway. This may not be to express that links aren’t valuable. Links are valuable, and citations that include links are even better than citations which do not include links. The purpose to keep in mind is that a citation fails to have to have a link to become valuable in your local search efforts.
Types of Citations – Citations may be separated into two categories, structured or unstructured.
Structured Citations – A structured citation is your business information (NAP) on a business listing directory. When you see lists of citation sites, these are generally basically always business listing directories where you could submit your small business and obtain a citation. Example sites for structured citations include:
Unstructured Citations – In most cases, an unstructured citation is your business information (NAP) on every other site that’s not specifically a business listing directory. Common examples where you’ll find unstructured citations are blogs, magazine/newspaper sites, wikis, and so on.
Why Citations Are Essential for Local Search Rankings – Verification & Trust.
Citations help search engine listings, like Google and Bing, verify that the business exists. When multiple credible sources have the identical accurate information regarding your small business, it signals to search engines that your enterprise is legitimate.
Listing your small business on the prominent national and local sites helps your small business create authority, establish trust, and will boost your business’ ability to rank in local search results.
Prominence – Local ranking algorithms employed by both Google and Bing factor in citations with regards to local search rankings. Inside the latest Local Search Ranking Factors survey, local search experts rated citation related factors as making up approximately 13.31% from the Top 50 factors.
Local search ranking factors, 2019 – The greater places your company information appears online, the more prominent your company appears to Google. It seems sensible. If the search engine algorithms notice that your business is mentioned on countless websites, in comparison to competition which is only listed on the few dozen, this can make you seem like a more popular business, and provide a lift in the rankings.
Not Every Citations Are The Same – So what creates a citation ideal for a local business? There is huge variation in the need for different citations. A reference to your business’ name, address, and telephone number on whitehouse.gov is worth way over a mention of your small business on some spammy web directory that was created solely for poor quality link building.
Do you know the varieties of local citations?
Major Local Company Data Platforms- Small business owners and marketers can make citations on a variety of important local business data platforms which exist to publish this sort of data. Core platforms include Google My Business, Acxiom, Localeze/Neustar, and Infogroup. Key local company listings can also be built on popular social and review-oriented sites like Facebook and Yelp.
Geo/Industry-Specific Platforms- In addition to building local business listings on the major local business data platforms that serve all industries, your organization can aim to build listings on websites that are specific to the unique industry and geography. Examples of these platforms would come with chamber of commerce websites or even the websites of professional ldtmuz and guilds.
The Wider Web- Supplementary citations may either be built or earned on numerous publications, including blogs, news sites, apps, maps, government databases, and more. You can intentionally develop these citations to your business, or simply earn them according to merit and public interest/sharing of information.
The above varieties of citations may be developed via the usage of automated software (like Moz Local), by filling out forms right on small business platforms manually, or via other ways of PR/marketing to varied platforms.
Finally, citations and native business listings frequently appear without any action being taken by the business. Citations might result from automated aggregation and the flow of data from small business data platforms. For example, data over a site like Infogroup can flow down to another site like Superpages. This reality of methods the web works causes it to be especially important for local business owners to manage the accuracy with their data, to ensure that inaccurate data is discovered and corrected, preventing customer loss, revenue loss, as well as any negative effect on local search rankings.