What Are Local Citations?
A citation is defined as being any mention of your business address or name on another website, even if there is no actual link leading to your website.
Citations can be in a number of forms, which include:
- Business name
- Business name and the phone number
- Business name, phone number and the address
- Business name, phone number, address and the link
Even the number alone can be used as a citation.
There are two basic types of citations:
Structured citations: This is what is commonly seen on business listing websites.
Unstructured citations: Found on newspaper websites, blogs, job websites, event listing sites, government websites, etc.
One example of a citation may be in a yellow pages directory where your business has been listed – but no link has been created. Citations are also typically found on the chamber of commerce pages for the local area, business association pages and other similar organizations, even when there is no link present.
It is important to take note that local citations are considered an essential component in the actual ranking algorithms for both Bing and Google – especially for local SEO. With all other factors for ranking being equal, businesses that have a higher number of citations will likely rank higher than businesses that have fewer citations.
Citations that are present on well-indexed and well-established portals – such as Superpages.com – can help to increase the certainty that the various search engines are going to have about the content information for your business and how it should be categorized.
To put it simply – the citations you are able to receive will help to prove that your business is who you claim to be.
Citations become even more important in niches that are less-competitive, such as electrical or plumbing, where there are a number of service providers who may not have their own websites. Without other information to pull from, the search engines will rely on whatever they are able to find.
The citations you are able to acquire for your business will also help to validate that a business is a part of the local community. It can be difficult for someone to fake a membership to the local chamber of commerce, or a county or city business index. Also, receiving citations in the local newspaper or on a local blog is not something that will happen if the business is not actually located locally.
It is important to remember that not all citations are created equally. There is a significant variation in the value of the various citations that are available. Mentions of your phone number, address and business name on a site such as whitehouse.gov is going to be worth much more than the mention of your website or business on a web directly that is somewhat ‘spammy’ and built strictly for low quality backlinks.
Helpful Tip: Try to fill out all your business information on local business directories, which will provide you with more citations and aid your SEO ranking.
Citations and other links from these types of websites will help to improve the search engine rankings for your website significantly.
Looking for more tips and advice on search engine optimization? Get our free Local SEO eBook.