A ‘local citation’ is any mention of the name, address, and phone number of a local business online. Citations can involve local business directories, websites, apps, social networks and more. They’re useful because they help Google search users find local businesses, but they also positively impact the local search engine results. The more times you’re mentioned, the better the Google algorithm responds to your website, this is because Google can see that your business is listed and favoured locally and indicates that your website is active, productive, and sought after. 

Here’s some more information about local seo and why local citations matter.  

Why local citations matter

Local citations can impact your search positions either positively or negatively, depending on the number and quality of citations, their accuracy, the data included and the quality of the sites they’re sitting on. Get it wrong or do a poor job and local citations can damage your search visibility. Nobody, after all, trusts a business that can’t get its phone number, working hours or address right, and search engine algorithms take trust into account. 

Because people dislike bad data as much as algorithms, local citations can positively or negatively impact the way consumers feel about your brand. When you help people discover a local business you get more web, phone, and foot traffic, more sales, better conversion levels, and an improved reputation. But things like inaccurate or incomplete data and badly written citations only result in a loss of reputation and reduced revenue.

Different types of local citation 

Core platforms like Google My Business, Bing’s Places for Business, and Yell offer great opportunities for local citation. Local business listings are an excellent source of citations. You can even build them out into social networks like Facebook and review sites like Trip Advisor or Trust Pilot. 

Another good source of local listings is sites that are specific to your sector or industry, for example, commercial networks, Chambers of Commerce, professional associations and guilds. And local blogs, news websites, maps, and government databases offer even more opportunities to get your business details out there. 

There’s more. Sometimes local citations just turn up without you having to do a thing. If you’ve ever seen a directory page with ‘claim this business’ next to basic company details, that’s the kind of thing we mean. It’s usually down to some kind of automated aggregation, where data from local business data platforms flows from one site to another. The good ones are well worth claiming.  

What data does a local citation consist of?  

It’s your job to take control of the accuracy of your data and make changes where you need to. Otherwise, you could fall foul of problems around lost customers, lost trust in your business, and of course a negative impact on your business’ search visibility. 

The key components are the business’ name, address, and phone number. Now and again you’re allowed to include a link, which is great for SEO. You can sometimes add more granular detail, things like the category your business belongs to, your opening hours, driving directions and public transport, a description of the business and images of it, you and your products. Some platforms let you add video content, the types of payment you accept and the actual geo-coordinates. You may be able to include customer reviews, social media links, and multiple email addresses.

The three Rs – Ranking, reputation, and revenue 

Rankings, reputation, and revenue sit at the core of every great local citation. So it makes a lot of sense to approach things actively rather than be passive and let local citations look after themselves. More citations tend to be better than fewer, but they must be 100% accurate. Duplicated local business listings are less powerful than unique ones, so make the effort to create a fresh one each time, for example varying the business description. 

Stay passive and you won’t be able to see or control any edits your competitors may have made to your citations. You won’t be able to make changes based on mergers and acquisitions, rebrands, address changes or anything else. And you’ll have little or no say in how your business is represented online. 

An active approach puts you in a position of power, and that’s marketing gold dust. You create a robust, attractive, brand-led citation on every platform, major and otherwise. You can spot and deal with inaccuracies and shut down any duplicates. You know where you’re mentioned so you can make essential changes smoothly and easily. You’re in full control of the way you business is represented online. 

Don’t neglect local citations  

Local citations influence customer discovery and impact local search engine rankings. If you haven’t done it already, it’s time to take location data management seriously and potentially score a handy competitive advantage in your local area.

Local SEO and Citations

Search engine optimisation is all about positioning your website so that it is more visible in the search engines. This usually means trying to rank higher than your competitors. 

Local citations can help improve your search engine rankings, particularly when it comes to local SEO. For example, if you are running a Physiotherapy service in Shoreditch you want to ensure your business is visible in Google Maps and other local directories. Your website can gain more authority by gaining natural links from other local blogs and websites. An example of this might be a local yoga studio who recommends your physiotherapy service on their website. 

Learn how long SEO takes before you see results – improved traffic and new leads. 

Qwikseo.com provides a fully managed local citation service and full-fledged local SEO for small businesses. Visit the links above to learn more about these services or contact us directly on 0208 064 0115.