Regarding local SEO, citations are key ranking factors in search engines. Citations are commonly referred to as NAP. Local citations mention your business’s name, current address, and phone number on other websites. Search engines like Google’s local algorithm look at your local citations as a signal of proof and relevancy that can lead to improved local search engine rankings.
If you are a startup or small business, taking advantage of local citations can help you attract more attention to your business listings. This article will explain why you need local citations. Are you ready? Let’s get started!
What are local citations?
Before we jump into why you need local citations, let’s define what local citations are. When a third-party website mentions your business, it includes your business name, address, and phone number—known as NAP data.
These third-party websites may also add your website link, email address, service details, and social media handles. The local citation usually occurs on local websites, social media, local business directories, and apps. This online mention on local business directories and websites helps people discover local businesses more efficiently and boost visibility, leading to search engine rankings.
Types of Citations
Several citation websites can be valuable for your local business. The SEO community agrees that Google My Business, Yelp, Facebook, and Bing Maps are must-haves for local SEO.
Why do I need a local citation?
According to research, citations are the fifth most crucial ranking factor for Google’s local pack visibility. Moreover, they are the fourth most significant signal for local organic SERPs. A good spread of local citations on different websites indirectly benefits your SEO efforts. Following are some reasons why you need a local citation.
Improve search engine ranking
Local citations help to improve search engine ranking for local businesses. Google uses your NAP data to show location-based search results to internet searchers looking for a local business. NAP is beneficial if you are a real estate agency or a florist, have a restaurant or hair salon, or another local company with a physical location.
When you list your business on Google My Business, it will increase your chances to rank in the local 3-pack, which increases your visibility among your targeted audience.
Increase traffic to your site:
Better ranking in local search results comes with increased search engine visibility, leading to increased website traffic. More organic website traffic helps in generating new business. Using local SEO services to add the proper citations helps your business in many directories, which routes traffic to search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo, and others.
Another reason you need local citations is that it helps create your brand awareness. Accurate NAP data can inform people about your business, especially if you are a startup or a new entrant in the local market.
Get more third-party reviews:
With local citations, you get more third-party reviews that mean more prominence in Google Map results, especially in local pack 3. Consistent positive reviews and ratings across other local citations help you improve your ranking position. When your customers add positive reviews on these listing, this improves your search engine ranking and boost discoverability.
Users can filter results by specific categories when they browse online directories. These categories include location, business category, and services. When you have citations on the online directories, customers can find businesses in their area.
This way, local businesses get an instant visibility boost. Even when the user chooses your competitor, he may likely consider your business if he sees your business listings.
Suppress Duplicate Listings:
Search engines like Google and Bing will index what is authoritative. A listing on various online directories and updating your NAP data consistently boosts listing up toward the top search results. Moreover, it also pushes duplicate listings (more than one listing on the same platform) with inaccurate and incomplete data down.
Your website becomes easier to find
When your customers find you easily online, your chances of success as a local business are more likely to increase. The citations provide a direct pathway to your business for customers interested in connecting with you. Some users don’t search for a specific company when looking for a local service or product, like a hairstylist or plumber, but these listings make it easier to find.
That’s because many people turn to directories or review sites before searching on Google to find a local business. Having your NAP data available on authentic citation websites puts your business in front of the user searching for a company like yours. For instance, a presence on Yelp would benefit restaurants, beauty salons, and other service businesses.
Earn Referral Traffic
People usually trust different citation websites like Yelp, Angi, and others. For instance, many foodies who want to find the best restaurants in their area go to Yelp for the best local restaurants before turning to Google.
Which citations do you need?
There is no definitive list of business citation websites, as each city has important citation sites. These citation sources can include online directories, local industry-specific businesses, local chambers of commerce, and yellow pages websites.
The most well-known citation websites with high domain scores on the market are Yelp, Google, Facebook, Foursquare and Apple Maps, Bing, Yahoo, yellow pages, MerchantCircle, and map quest for all kinds of businesses. However, it would be best if you researched to identify the best citation websites for your business that will be most visible to your targeted customers.
The Bottom Line:
If you are a local business and local citation optimization is not in your SEO strategy, it can be a business risk and damage your search engine ranking. Having accurate citations on well-known citation sites will have a positive impact not just on online presence but also in terms of customer trust and revenue.