Local Citation building is the process of obtaining mentions of your business’ vital stats (name, address, phone number, and website; otherwise known as NAP+W) on the web. Google recognizes these mentions and, in turn, attributes them to your business.
The more recognition your business acquires through high-quality links, the higher you’ll rank on search results pages for local queries. To make your life a lot easier, our experts are here to break down all of the components of a proper citation building strategy!
What Is A Citation
Before you begin building citations, it’s important to know the steps for a proper submission. Have an email address you don’t mind receiving verification and promotional emails at. Your submission is likely to be accepted if you provide an email with your company domain. Create a list of categories that fit the services your business provides, as many of the directories have a variety of categories and they will not all be applicable to your business.
Add all necessary information to your listings such as your logo, photos, address, and business description. If your business does not have a physical address, that's no problem. You can still build citations, just check each directories specifications before submitting. A few websites may request you verify your business with a phone call, so have access to the phone number you’re using for citation building.
Also, when building citations, keep in mind that they don’t have to link back to your website to add value. And while it is important to make sure your information is consistent, Google and other search engines are smart enough to recognize small inconsistencies, such as different variations of a name or abbreviations. Furthermore, always do a quick search before submitting to prevent duplicate business listings.
Citation inconsistencies shouldn’t be overlooked, but minor irregularities do not need to immediately be addressed.
Types of Citations
There are two different types of citations, structured citations and unstructured citations. A structured citation is your business information on a business listing directory. Sites that allow you to submit your business information will typically get you a citation. Some of these directories may request payment to list your business, or a reciprocal link ( a link back from your site).
The second type of citation is an unstructured citation. An unstructured citation, is any site other than a business directory. These would be sites such as forums, blogs, wikis, or newspaper sites. Unstructured citations are likely to not include links back to your website, but, as previously stated, a mention without a link is still valuable.
Determining Citation Quality
Citations can vary in quality, which is why it’s important to check the quality of the site you’re submitting to beforehand. Primary data sources (InfoGroup, Factual, Axciom), distribute your data to hundreds of sites, and are one of the most valuable places to list your business. Generic sites (Yelp, Facebook, Yellowpages), and hyper-local sites (Yellowbook, Nextdoor, Lawyers.com), have a high PageRank, and high search traffic so a listing will not only give you a link, but exposure as well.
Using a tools such as MozBar, Whitespark, or MajesticSEO, can expedite the process of determining citation quality by providing an on-page analysis of the site. This analysis will give you access to the sites link metrics (Root Domains, Anchor Text, Link Position, etc.), which you will then be able to use to determine if the site is worth a submission.