If you want to be seen in local searches online, you need to maximize your Local SEO with business citations.

Business citations will increase your authority in search engines; boosting your rankings and providing you with the foundation necessary to appear in the Local Pack:

A screenshot of the Local Pack in a Google Search.

What Is a Business Citation?

Business citations are another tool in SEO and the foundation for ranking your business in the Local Pack, Google Maps, or Apple Maps searches.

A business citation is really just a business listing, like when the Yellow Pages book was the place to be. Your business needs to have citations accurately placed in the top local directories online in order to be considered for local searches and to help Internet users discover your business.

The Components of a Business Citation

The main component of a citation is the business name, address, and phone number, commonly referred to as NAP. In addition to this, citations can also include the following elements to increase their value:

  • Website link
  • Photos
  • Hours
  • Business description
  • Videos
  • Forms of payment
  • Social links
  • Email addresses
  • Fax information
  • Alternate forms of contact
  • Reviews

What Types of Citations Are There?

There are two types of SEO citations, structured or unstructured.

Structured Citations

Having your business information (NAP) listed on an online business directory is considered a structured citation. This is the most common form of business citations that are created with our Local SEO Campaigns.

Common structured citations include:

  • Yelp
  • Google My Business
  • Infogroup
  • Acxiom
  • Localeze
  • Nuestar
  • MapQuest
  • Facebook
  • And many, many more.

Unstructured Citations

An unstructured citation is when your business information is listed in an unstructured manner on websites other than a business directory (blogs, newspaper websites, etc).

Here’s an example:

An example of an unstructured business citation.

As you can see, there is relevant business information being listed. These types of citations are less common but no less valuable.

Why Citations Are Important for Your Business

Boost Organic Rankings and Local Pack Visibility

Business citations are a proven ranking factor in SEO as search engines use business directories and listings to verify accurate business information. If your business information is consistent throughout the web, search engines will trust your business and website even more – allowing you to achieve higher online visibility in searches.

If your citation network includes industry specific or local business citations your local rankings will be even stronger. Local SEO citations include websites like chambers, local community websites, blog posts on local sites, etc.

They Get Your Information in Front of Customers

While citations are good for your local SEO strategy, in a more practical sense they give you the opportunity to be seen by potential customers online.

Think of how many millions of people use popular platforms like Facebook, Yelp, or Google Maps every single day. Wouldn’t you want your business to be included?

Here’s a scenario:

A person uses Google Maps to search for a particular service in their area. Let’s say they search “plumber near me”. If you aren’t being powered by a solid network of citations your competitors will be listed above you, if you’re even listed at all.

More Trusted Links to Your Website

Backlinks are an integral part of SEO and business citations are a trusted way to build links. While the power of these links, referred to ask link equity, isn’t as valuable as links from other sources, it can still be enough to overtake or keep pace with competitors in your industry.

It’s Important to Keep Your Citations up to Date

New phone number? Moved to a new location? Every citation needs to be updated accordingly.

Search engines use citations to build a profile of your business. If there are discrepancies in the information listed from one citation to another, your local ranking efforts will suffer; leaving the top spots for businesses with accurate and consistent citations.

Sound like a lot of tedious work? That’s because it is.

Have Your Business Citations Managed by JD Digital Marketing

The amount of time and effort it takes to manage a citation network is a tremendous undertaking for any business owner.

As part of our local SEO services, we make sure your information is accurate and consistent on all business listings.

We know where it’s important to “claim” your business page for your industry and we have a database full of quality citation sources to submit your business information, which will continue to help increase your ranking and your chance of appearing in the Local Pack.