Have you ever searched “[your industry] in [ your location]” to see where your business appears? If you are ranked fourth and below 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’s online presence and visibility by appearing at the top of the search results.

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 directories, websites, apps, and social media platforms. Local citation building is the process of organizing and creating listings online. This impacts local search engine rankings by directing internet users to lean into specific local businesses by where they rank on the search engine page.

Local search results are based primarily on relevance, distance, and prominence. An amalgamation 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). In an instance where you find that your business doesn’t show up for relevant searches in your area, you would need to maximize how frequently users find your business in local search results. Which are all based mainly on relevance, distance, and prominence.

Relevance

Relevance refers to how well a local business profile matches what someone is searching for. By making sure your business profile information is updated, complete, and appealing, you will attract engagement. This will help search engines understand your business and match your profile to relevant users searching for businesses that fit their search.

Distance

Distance takes into account the location and distance a potential customer is. This could be where they are searching in the moment or location terms that were used in a search. Should users not specify a location in their search, the proximity of the business address to the location of the searching user and superior local citations are key to ensuring visibility.

Prominence

Prominence is how popular a business is online and or offline. It goes without saying that some businesses are more prominent than others, and 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 review count, as well as the review score, influence local search rankings. Thus positive ratings and reviews positively influence your position in web results and the business’s local ranking.

Why is SEO citation building important?

SEO citation building helps do what every business wants. It helps to continue rising in search rankings, build consistent traffic, and improve your online presence for others to discover you. When brands or businesses do not update or ensure the accuracy of their company information, they risk not attracting new customers and might jeopardize losing their existing clientele.

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 are 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. These changes transition using tangible information individuals used to find in books, to now finding their information online instead. 

Should any percentage of those that visited your business write about it on the internet, and link back to your website, this can form a part of your citation. This means there is a chance of your business being listed in various directories with incorrect information that you may not be aware of. If your business name, address, or phone number have changed, new or existing customers may not be able to locate it and end up going with a competitor. This is why it’s important to always have your SEO citation building and information up-to-date online for people to find your business information.

Within SEO, there is a link-building process that acquires links that direct traffic back to your business website from other websites. Search engines can use these links to verify your business’s credibility. In the event that a blogger or journalist writes about your business and provides hyperlinks to your website, that link forms part of your link-building process. So, it is important to ensure when customers search online, they find your current business information with no contradicting or outdated information.

Understanding Citations

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

  • Structured citations are references of your business in directories that hold details of businesses 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.
  • Unstructured citations 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 SEO citation building. While it’s important to build lots of citations, quality over quantity should be your mindset moving forward with SEO citation building.

Citation Building For Local SEO

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, and technical SEO. Without the presence of these factors, your local citation SEO 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.

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, however here are three main 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.

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 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.

Creating Unstructured Citation Opportunities

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

You could use resources such as HARO (Help A Reporter Out) which 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.

You could also use Google to use supplier pages. Lots of businesses have these and list and link out the companies they supply or that supply them. You can also look through their sites. It’s not usually that difficult to find these pages if they have them. Overall, there are opportunities for your business to create local citation building opportunities specifically through unstructured citations.

Start SEO Citation Building with Boostability

In closing, citations are imperative for local SEO success. If you want to maximize traffic to your business via your website, it all starts when you build local citations to improve SEO.

Along with building local SEO citations, it’s important to optimize and update your Google My Business profile, conduct proper keyword research, improve your on-page SEO, and update so much more. If you find yourself lost or in need of assistance, Boostability is here to help! We offer a variety of local SEO services to help improve your SEO in your area. Learn more today about what Boostability can do to help grow your business to the next level.

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Ansley is a Content Marketing Specialist 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 repurposed on the Boost Blog to remain relevant and up-to-date with accurate information. When she’s not writing, she loves to travel, visit National Parks, and loves all things Disney.