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Why Citation Building Is Key For Local SEO

Local citation building is an essential part of any marketers local SEO strategy. In fact, research shows that businesses with high-quality SEO citations are 18 times more visible  than their competitors. Yet, they are often neglected. Local citation building is an easy way to boost your search rankings and make a noticeable impact on your online visibility, fast. 

Let's delve in to discover what citations are all about. 

What Are SEO Citations? 

A business citation refers to any mention of a business online. Typically, it's the information about a business location, such as name, address, phone number and website, that is posted on an online platform - this is a local business citation. Business locations can have these citations on any numbers of online platforms for local listings, such as:

  • Local search engines (Google, Bing)
  • Maps services (Google Maps, Apple Maps)
  • Local business directories (Foursquare)
  • Review sites (Yelp, TrustPilot)
  • Social media channels (Facebook, Instagram)
  • Data aggregators (Factual)

    A search engine optimized citation occurs when a business has accurate and consistent information for a single business location across all of the online platforms that host that information.

    In order to have local search engine optimised citations, a business needs to ensure their information is correct on their owned channels across the internet.

    Infographic: Everything You Need to Know About SEO Citation Building

    Check out this infographic that covers the most important information about SEO citations and citation building.

    Boost Your Online Presence With Citation Building Infographic

    >> Discover how to Boost Your Online Presence With Citation Building

    Why Does Local Citation Building Matter?

    Businesses have traditionally put all their eggs in the brand visibility basket but without local citation building, you might get found when a consumer searches for your business name or brand but your points of sale will be invisible when a consumer conducts a local search. The more often correct and consistent NAP (name, address, phone) information for your brand is listed on platforms, the more positively this influences your position in local searches.

    This is because search engines, such as Google, use consistent data to recognise your business location as one that is genuine and legitimate. Having inconsistent information about your local business across various platforms causes confusion. Google can’t be 100% sure about the credibility of the location and is less inclined to display it in search results. Even if it's a branded search, as a competitor with a similar (and consistent) name may out rank you. 

    Forgotten citations are problematic for both search engines and consumer alike. Outdated and incorrect listings can negatively impact the user experience, causing consumers to lose trust in a brand or worse, post a negative review. 

    Precise and relevant local SEO citations are an important part of your local marketing strategy; essential to build your brand’s online visibility and reputation.

    Why is Local Citation Building Essential for Local Search Visibility? 

    When it comes to local search, the ultimate goal is to secure a spot on Google’s Local 3-Pack. This is a list of the top three results that appear in local searches, ranked by relevance, distance and prominence. 

    In order to provide Google with all the information it requires to rank your location favorably, there are seven key elements that go towards a holistic local SEO strategy. Citations is one of them.

    Citations is one of the top seven elements that Google requires to rank a location

    If you want to find out more about the other Google ranking factors, check out The Most Importance Local Search Ranking Factors You Need to Know Now

    Why Must Citations Be Maintained?

    A citation doesn’t work in isolation. The Local Search Ecosystem shows the information flow between search engines, data aggregators, directories, review sites, social platforms and GPS mapping solutions. 

    Many citations are created from directories partnering with other sources, like data aggregators, so it’s essential that businesses not only claim and submit to directories, but monitor and maintain their listings. 

    A regular audit is important to identify duplicate listings, optimise and update existing citations and highlight any new citations. 

    Time is Too Precious for Manual Local SEO Citation Building

    Managing multiple locations across multiple local SEO citations is incredibly time consuming and prone to human error. 

    Let’s break this down. Say it takes five minutes to update the opening hours of one location in one directory. If your locations are present on 35 directories (30 - 39 directories is the ‘sweet spot’ for the highest search and engagement optimisation), then it would take almost three hours to update one location. If you have 50 locations, it would take 4 weeks

    Automising citations means this task only takes 5 minutes in total. Update the hours centrally and one click of a button magically disperses the information across all channels. 

    Another benefit of automation is that all your updated citations will be less prone to human error. If you have to manually update everything–a boring and time-consuming task–it’s easy to lose focus and make mistakes. 

    Listing management tools can also keep your citation building consistent by sending and updating your business information to different online platforms independently. They can even help identify the relevant platforms for local citations in your market and take into account directory specific requirements, such as the best way to format phone numbers.

    If You’re Going it Alone, Build Your Local SEO Citations Step-by-Step

    If you decide you want to manage your citations manually, where do you start? 

    To make the project more manageable, start your search engine optimized citation building with the platforms that have the widest global reach. This means the Big 4: GMB, Bing, Facebook and Apple Maps, followed by the directories most relevant to your location and industry.

    But before you do any of this, administer a health check for the citations you already have and analyse how well your locations are currently performing online. ‘Near Me’ 360 is a free benchmarking tool to help you do just that.

Laura Hall
Laura Hall

Laura is a proud member of the content and communications team at Uberall. You can find her work in all corners of the website. One of her most recent pieces was a guide for digital agencies on the incredible ROI potential delivered through ’near me’ marketing tactics. Outside of Uberall, she spends most of her days hanging around with a trip of goats, fondly named ‘the bleats’ by her two year old daughter.