This article was first published on August 31st, 2021, and was last updated December 27th, 2022.

Have you ever searched “[your industry] in [ your location]” to see where your business appears? If you have a lower ranking in your internet search, unfortunately most users aren’t going to find and click on your local business.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has become vital for brands and businesses that want to increase where they rank on search engines. These days people are searching for local businesses online more than ever. Local citation building will increase your business’ local SEO performance and visibility online.

In this article, you are going to learn how to build citations for your local business whilst improving SEO. Let’s get started!

What is Local Citation Building?

A local citation is an online reference of the name, address, and phone number of a local business (NAP). Citations can be found on local business online directories, websites, apps, and social media platforms.

Local citation building is the process of organizing and creating listings online. These listings include being added to local directories, industry directories, or even business profiles that you create. It gives your business the opportunity to list important information about your business to a variety of individuals who may be interested in your business. 

Local citation building impacts local search engine rankings by directing internet users to lean towards specific local businesses by where they are ranked on the search engine page.

Local search results are based primarily on relevance, distance, and prominence. A mixture of these factors assists users to find the best match for a specific search. They do this by applying the right practices of search engine optimization (SEO).

Why is Local Citation Building Important?

Local citation building helps businesses in several different ways:

  • Increase local search rankings
  • Delivers uniform and accurate business information
  • Improve brand awareness
  • Gets a business in front of targeted customers
  • Increases website traffic and lead generation
  • Builds trust with search engines and people

Brands or businesses must update business listing information to ensure the accuracy of their company. By not doing so, they risk appearing untrustworthy with search engines and people. As a result, this can negatively impact keyword rankings, website traffic, and losing business..

Google partnered with Ipsos MediaCT to conduct a study on consumer behavior. They found that on average, 54 percent of US citizens have substituted the traditional yellow pages with internet searches. 50 percent of those consumers have said they visited a business within 24 hours of their search.

Whether you’re in a new city, or need a specific service in your town, it is highly likely that your customers will do a search on their mobile phone to help narrow down their search. In fact, over 50% of web traffic comes from a mobile device now.

Consumers rely on the internet to research services and products. Inaccurate and inconsistent information will be a downfall to a businesses’ growth.

Understanding Different Types of Local Citations

There are 2 major forms of citations that your business can benefit from:

Structured Citations 

These are references of your business in online directories that hold details of local establishments in your specific geographic area. Most structured citations will have their information presented the same. While the information is different for each business, the format and layout is identical.

Boostability structured citation GBP

Unstructured Citations

These will appear on any website or app where your business name is mentioned. This may be an article, blog, or even a social media post. They often will have a backlink to the business’ official page.

Both types of citations will help improve your local citation building. While it’s important to get your business listed in as many relevant directories online, quality over quantity should be your mindset moving forward with SEO citation building.

Local Citation Building for SEO

There may be some instances where you find that your business doesn’t show up for relevant searches in your area. In these cases, you would need to maximize how frequently users find your business in local search results. 

Three major local search ranking factors include relevance, distance, and prominence:


Relevance refers to how well a local business profile matches what someone is searching for. Updating business profile information with accurate and detailed information will help search engines better understand what your business does. And this will help search engines determine what keywords to rank your website for.


Distance takes into account the location and distance of a business to a potential customer. This could be where they are searching in the moment or location terms that were used in a search. In some cases, users sometimes forget to include and specify a location in their search. The proximity of the business address to the location of the searching user are key to ensuring visibility.


Prominence is how popular a business is online and offline. It goes without saying that some businesses are more prominent than others. Oftentimes search results attempt to reflect this in local search rankings.

Prominence is largely influenced by information that a search engine such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing have about a business. They source these from across the web. Such as links, articles, and directories where a business is mentioned.

The number of positive online reviews directly influences local search rankings. It’s essential to get as many authentic 4 and 5 star reviews as possible to help improve your local SEO performance.

Local Citation Building: 4 Must-Know Elements

1. Pay Close Attention to Local SEO

There are various factors that influence search engine optimization. Such as but not limited to:

  • A secure and accessible website that is mobile-friendly
  • Optimized content with links to your business
  • User experience
  • Technical SEO
  • And more.

Without the presence of these factors, your SEO citation building strategy could fall apart.

Be sure to pay attention to local SEO to see how your competitors are ranking against you and how you can outshine them. Taking on new local citation building can help improve your rankings and online presence.

2. List with Top Aggregators

Aggregators are companies that collect information about businesses and distribute it to hundreds of other websites. They solve the burden of having to get your business information on thousands of available business directories. In America, there are various aggregators

The four main business data aggregators your business could consider:

Alternatively, you can submit to each well-known director site. However, that’s why data aggregators help add convenience to your business for them to do it for you. If you do choose to submit your information by yourself, be sure to always have updated information.

3. Geotargeting

This refers to the art of delivering specific content to consumers based on their location. Therefore the geographical location of your business will provide more citation activity when you specify your exact position. It’s even more important when you submit to popular citation sites within your niche or industry.

When you do so, your business will become recognizable and leaders in your industry. When you don’t do this, you pass over the opportunity to your competitors to let them steal the customers searching for your business. Be sure to utilize geotargeting within your industry especially within your local area.

Learn how SEO location targeting works here! 

4. Creating Unstructured Citation Opportunities

You have to take the business of building citations to improve SEO into your hands. To help ensure organic growth and traffic flow to your business websites. Lucky for you, there are a variety of opportunities for you to go after.

HARO (Help A Reporter Out)

This is a website that links journalists with contacts for upcoming stories. By answering their questions, you will be building a network with local journalists. Therefore you create opportunities to ensure you get high-quality citations and links.

Local Chamber of Commerce

In addition to building local business unstructured citations in the major platforms that serve all industries, it’s good to build on areas that are specific to your location or industry. Depending on where you live, you can get listed in your local Chamber of Commerce. 

Local News Website

Another local opportunity can come from getting a link from a local news station in your area. It would be a useful unstructured citation that helps connect you more in your local area.

Traditional Link Building

Getting genuine and high authority backlinks help with much more than just citation building. Link building helps build on essential ranking factors for SEO. As well as building and developing stronger E-A-T processes. 

Building Your SEO with Boostability

In closing, citations are imperative for local SEO success. If you want to maximize traffic to your business via your website, local citation building is a key foundation.

In addition to that, it’s important to take a holistic approach to local SEO services. There are many other strategies that must be met in addition to business citations. 

Learn more today about what Boostability’s white label SEO partner program can do to help scale your agency and help your clients succeed online!


Ansley is the former Content Marketing Manager at Boostability. Since graduating from Utah State University with two degrees in Communication Studies and Journalism: Public Relations, Ansley specializes in creating engaging and informative SEO content for readers, customers, and partners through different marketing channels. Along with creating new content, Ansley works to keep content organized and creates and executes new content strategies. When she’s not writing, she loves to travel, visit National Parks, and loves all things Disney.