Citations are inevitably part of any local seo conversation because they’re a fundamental part of the strategy to maximize local business visibility. Despite their importance I’m usually met with looks of confusion and disinterest when I bring them up with clients. I know what you’re thinking.. “What is this internet geek even talking about? I just want to get more customers and sales”.. or something to that effect. Am I close?
Admittedly, local citations are incredibly uninteresting and are usually considered a chore by most of the aforementioned “internet geeks”. I might not have the writing chops to make this topic interesting but I can at least explain what citations are and how they can get you more customers.
What Are Local Citations?
I don’t think there’s any creative new way for me to summarize this so I’ll just borrow the rundown from the Moz post on local citations.
“A local citation is any online mention of the name, address, and phone number for a local business. Citations can occur on local business directories, on websites and apps, and on social platforms. Citations help Internet users to discover local businesses and can also impact local search engine rankings. Local businesses can actively manage many citations to ensure data accuracy.”
Types Of Citations
Out in the wild there’s basically two types of local citations that you’ll come across.
A structured citation will consist of your business name, address, phone number ( NAP ) on a business listing directory. Here’s some example of popular directories you’d want to submit your business to in Canada
- Profile Canada
These types of citations are essentially any other mention of your business details ( NAP ) across the web that isn’t specifically a directory. It could be appear in a blog post, news site, or a profile/bio to name a few.
A local citation is characterized by the presence of your NAP info but the listing may or may not include a link to your website. There’s occasionally some confusion about the line between citations and link-building. While many directories will add a no follow tag to your link, some do provide a followed link which will technically pass some authority to your site and help you rank.
Why Do Local Citations Matter?
Here’s the part you were waiting for. Local citations help you get more customers in a couple of key ways.
1. THEY IMPACT LOCAL SEARCH RANKINGS
Take a look at Moz’s local search ranking factors and you’ll see that citation signals are a significant factor in the algorithm for both local pack as well as local organic rankings. The volume, accuracy, and quality of your citations will either positively or negatively impact your trust signals with search engines which consequently affects your rankings.
2. THEY IMPACT LOCAL SHOPPERS
Accurate citations provide an avenue for potential customers to find your business and translate into leads or foot traffic. Inaccurate citations can misdirect your customers and potentially damage your revenue.
Not all citations are created equal and I recommend checking out Whitespark’s list of the top 30 citations for Canada. That’s a great place to start if you want to make sure you have consistent and accurate NAP info across the most prominent citation sources. As you’ve learned, inaccurate listings can have serious implications for consumer discovery as well as your local search rankings. If you need a hand with it you can always reach out to me for help to audit your local citation profile.