Local business citations include any mention of the business's Name, Address, and Phone Number (NAP). Many marketers use citations to increase the rank of their company website in search engines, particularly for local search engine optimization.
Local SEO is one of the most important elements of an online marketing campaign. Local SEO focuses on boosting your presence in search results for local queries, like "restaurants near me" or "electricians nearby." Strong local citations can give you a huge advantage over the competition — but it takes time to set up.
In this guide, we’ll walk you through all the steps required to build a local citation for your business and boost your local visibility.
How to Build Citations for a Business
Citations can appear in various places online, such as business directories like Yelp or social networks like Facebook. Citations occur anywhere a potential customer is looking for information about a local business.
The most common type is a NAP citation, which shows your business’s name, address, and phone. These are useful to help your business rank higher in local search, and it helps people find your products and services online right when they are searching nearby.
Search engines can verify your business's trustworthiness, legitimacy, and overall authority just by tracking your citations. If your business details appear consistently across trusted and relevant websites, then Google is more likely to rank your business higher in local searches.
Here’s how to build citations for a business:
Create a NAP (name, address, and phone) String
You can create a NAP string to show your business name, address, and phone number on every page of your website. Many websites start by placing this information in the website's footer or on a contact page. This is important because Google and other search engines use the information in this string to verify that you are who you claim to be.
Note: The easiest way to create a NAP string on your website is using Schema markup.
Create a Google Business Profile (GBP)
A Google Business Profile is a free tool that allows you to add your business information to Google Search and Google Maps. You can add your business name, address, phone number, hours of operation, photos, and website link. Inaccurate listings of your business information on Google and other search engines and directories will negatively affect your search ranking.
You can add a description, categories, and photos to your Google Business Profile. When you add keywords to your listing, your business may also appear when someone searches for a relevant service or product, such as “orthopedic surgeon Orlando.”
Note: You must register for at least one social network with the same email address as the one you use for your GBP listing — this helps ensure that both accounts are linked to the same person or organization.
Claim or Create Your Business Listings on Yelp and Other Directories
This is the place to be if you're running a local business. Yelp is a local search directory that allows users to find and review businesses in their area. On top of being an excellent source for reviews and leads, it's also an invaluable tool for driving traffic and brand awareness.
Claiming your business listing on Yelp is easy—just follow these simple steps:
- Go to www.yelp.com/biz_claim_listing in your browser window.
- You'll be prompted to enter a few pieces of information about your company to verify its validity.
- Once verified, you can add more details about your business and set up advertising campaigns through Yelp Ads Manager.
- When filling out your Yelp business listing, it’s important to match your exact NAP string. This is how Google starts recognizing your business across multiple directories and social platforms.
Create a Facebook Business Page
You must create a Facebook page for your business if you have a brick-and-mortar location. This includes the address, hours of operation, and phone number. You can create this page from the Settings menu on the left side of your personal profile or by going directly to wwww.facebook.com/pages/create/ to get started.
The page should be linked to your website and should also be linked to your Google Business Profile as well as Yelp or other directories related to your niche.
Get Listed with the Top 3 Data Aggregators
There are thousands of directories online where you can list your business. It’s impossible to submit to every single one. However, you can get listed with a data aggregator to solve this issue.
A data aggregator collects information about companies and distributes it to hundreds of other directories and websites. If you submit your information to these aggregators, you will get more citations across the web.
The top three aggregators are Data Axle, Neustar // Localeze, and Foursquare.
Submit Citations to Other Important Sites
You can post your listing to Yellow Pages and other online yellow pages to get started, but there are several core sites to get citations on.
Yellow Pages of the most important tasks for building local citations is getting your business listed on the most authoritative directories and search engines, but here are a few others:
- Apple Maps
- Bing Places
- Angie’s List
- Local Chamber of Commerce
- Many more, depending on your niche, search ‘top director for [name of industry]’ to find the best
You should also submit your listing to as many directories as possible. Hundreds of local search engines allow you to add your information at no charge, so there’s no excuse to get left out of these important SEO opportunities.
Hire an Agency to Build Local Citations for You
Submitting your business information over and over can be difficult, especially if you’re unsure where to look or what to post. Many agencies know hundreds of well-known, reputable directories with a team who can submit and manage your citations from one place.
You can receive reports on how well your citations perform and see what directories bring you the most traffic. It’s a faster and easier way to start building your rank and reputation online.
Use Listing Distribution and Listing Sync
You can use Listing Distribution and Listing Sync to manage all of your business listings and citations in one place. With these tools, you can get your business listed on dozens of websites so that people searching for "Eye Doctor in San Francisco" will find you when they look at Yelp, Google, TripAdvisor, Citysearch, or other local listings.
You can also maintain these listings by ensuring they stay current with changes such as a new phone number or address. And when someone searches for "plumber" on Google or Bing, the first few results may be based on the ranking of these sites -- which means more customers!
Build a Better Future for Your Business with Local Citations
With this in mind, you can now go out into the world and start claiming your business listings and local citations. Claiming is important as you may already be listed in directories or social media due to people reviewing and checking in at your store.
It sounds weird, but it’s easy to find citations about your business. However, with an SEO agency to help, you don’t have to worry about managing multiple accounts or paying fees for each citation. This means that whenever a potential customer searches for your business or services that you offer, they’ll see your business listings in search.
Learning how to build citations for a business is a huge step forward for your SEO. Citations are incredibly important for local SEO, but that’s not all you need. Your business could dominate the competition with keyword research, on-page search engine optimization, and the right content.
The fastest and easiest way to manage your business listings and citations is with Listing Distribution and Listing Sync software from E-Marketing Associates. Contact us today for more information on how we can help your small business grow!