In the world of SEO you hear the term citations when it comes to local seo but what are citations? Why do they matter to search engine optimization experts and why should they matter to you as a business owner?

That is what we will seek to answer for right here right now!

A citation also called a local citation is the mention of the name, address, and phone number for a local business online. These citations can appear on local online directories, social platforms, and even mobile applications. Not only do local citations and their consistency affect your local rankings especially when it comes to Google maps but they also help potential clients looking online to find your business or to contact you in an attempt to do business with your company.

What Are Local Citations

What Does A Citation Consist Of?

Now that we covered what a citation is let us talk about what a citation generally looks like and what sort of information you will find in one. You as a business owner will need to make sure that you are prepared to have this information handy when either building your own citations or hiring a local seo expert to build local citations for you.

Here is the information that your will generally find in most local citations for a business.

  1. Industry Category
  2. Business Name
  3. Business Address
  4. Business Phone Number
  5. Alternate Business Phone Number Like A Fax
  6. Business Email
  7. Hours Of Operation
  8. Images
  9. A Short Description Of The Business Or Tag Line
  10. Payment Forms Accepted
  11. Links To Any Social Media Accounts

You will also find a place for reviews and owner responses in a lot of local citation sources while that is not important in the setup process it is something to monitor as a business owner.

How Do Citations Effect Local SEO?

This is the part where we talk about why local citations matter when it comes to local search engine optimization.

Local citations are but one of the factors when it comes to feeding search engines the information that they want to get you ranking locally. The amount of citations is an important factor as is consistency and duplication.

  • Citation Consistency – Consistent local citations are a factor in local rankings. It’s not just important to have citations but that they all contain the same business information. Most importantly business name, address, and phone number as well as hours of operation. The more consistent they are the more positive of an effect they will have on getting you ranked locally.
  • Citation Volume – The amount of citations that you have is also a factor. The more high authority citations you have that are consistent the better. Another factor here are your competitor citations. You will want to be in the same places your competitors that are ranking on your keywords are.
  • Duplicate Citations – You want to avoid duplicate citations when it comes to optimization duplicates can hurt you so you will want to clean up any duplicates.

How Do The Biggest NAP Aggregators Play Into Citations?

Submitting your business information to the big 4 data aggregators for the USA is a great way to build citations that build themselves! You are probably wondering what are these aggregators and what are they for?

These are 4 major collectors of business data also called NAP which stands for Name, Address and Phone Number. These databases seek to collect NAP for all businesses in the USA. Having your business submitted to them helps you in two ways. One is Google uses them to check business information and two they also feed their information to local directories and therefore can help you get more citations without even building them!

Keep It Consistent

When it comes to submitting to them again consistency is the key. You want to make sure that the information you give them is exactly the same as your Google My Business information and any other citations out there.

The 4 Main Data Aggregators in the USA Are:

  • Acxiom
  • Infogroup Express Update
  • Factual
  • Neustar Localeze

While local citations are not the only ranking variable when it comes to local SEO it is still a big part of getting your business local visibility. When done right it can give you a boost in ranking but done wrong and inconsistently it can have the opposite effect.

We hope this puts the question of “What Are Citations & Why Do They Matter?” to rest.

Dominik Hussl

Dominik Hussl has been working in search engine optimization since the mid '90s. He has over 20 years of experience working in SEO in many different industries from local to national campaigns. He has worked with energy companies, lawyers, real estate companies, dentists, medical clinics, car mechanics, Cigar shops, IT experts, staffing, corporate housing, CBD, Smoke Shops Cannabis businesses, and many more. He has also been on expert panels and a regular guest speaker at trade shows.