Whenever your business’s name pops up on the internet alongside crucial information such as your address and phone number, it helps local business. This information is a citation. This blog will explore what a citation is, why they’re important, what makes a great citation and where you can find them. 

What is a local citation? 

A local citation is any mention of your company online; usually a reference of your business’s Name, Address and Phone number. These 3 pieces of information are known as NAP and are crucial for improving your local search engine results. Citations can be found on local directories, websites, apps, and social media platforms. They are able to help people discover local businesses as well as influence local search engine rankings. For a citation to help your local SEO, its necessary that it matches your NAP on your website exactly, otherwise, your reputation from both Google and people browsing the internet will decrease and therefore decrease revenue enquiries. 

Some examples of local citations would be:

  • Local business platforms 
  • Industry specific platforms 
  • The wider web
  • Social Media websites
  • Newspaper or press websites 

Why are citations important?

When deciding which order to rank a business in a local search engine, one of the main factors Google uses is citations. They are used to check the authority of your business and the accuracy of the contact details in their local business listings.

Not only are they important for improving your rankings in local search engines but they also increase overall awareness of your business by providing more ways people are able to find you online. The more places your business’s NAP is listed, the more likely people will see it, and the more people who see it, the higher the number of people who will contact you. 

Any accurate citation will help in the discovery of your business, leading to organic traffic by web, phone and foot. They also help search engines, like Google, verify that your business exists. 

At any level of business, be it start ups or major brands, reputation, rankings and revenue are very important. Local citations are essential for all three of these. 

What makes a great citation? 

In order for a citation to be effective, it needs to be seen as credible and trustworthy by both the people browsing the internet and Google itself. 

The number of citations, the accuracy of data, and the quality of the platforms they exist on, all influence rankings. Accuracy is key for the search engines to trust you. If the search engines find any inconsistent data then this trust is weakened and therefore will decrease your ranking.

Some components to a local citation: 

  • Email addresses
  • Phone numbers
  • Business categories
  • Hours
  • Driving directions
  • Business description
  • Images
  • Videos
  • Accepted payment methods
  • Reviews
  • Links to social media platforms

It’s important to know that a citation doesn’t have to link back to your website to be valuable. 

Where can you find citations? 

There are two types of citations, structured and unstructured. It is a common mistake that citations can only be found in directories, this would be a structured citation. However, this isn’t true. Although directories are a good place to get citations, blogs, social media sites and forums also play a big role. These other platforms come under unstructured citations. So it is important not to restrict yourself to using directories only. Nevertheless, the best place to start when it comes to citations would be directories. 

The following directories are recommended for local businesses in the UK and provide a free listing option. 

www.yell.com

www.yelp.co.uk

www.facebook.com

www.bingplaces.com

www.foursquare.com

Our final thoughts

Having a strong citation profile is one of the simplest ways to enhance local SEO. Citations are seen as part of the basic foundations when it comes to local search and are sure to help your business. Be sure to keep your Name, Address and Phone number consistent across each platform. 

If you have any questions or are looking for help, we are a leading digital marketing agency based in Hersham, drop us an email on info@ellis.digital, or give us a call at 01932301300.