What is Local Citation Building and Why it is Important for Your Business

Anyone involved in Search Engine Optimization (SEO), must have heard about a digital marketing technique called ‘Local Citation Building.’ Whether you’re familiar about this term or not, it is crucial to understand what exactly it is and why it is important for your business search rankings. In the simplest words, an online marketing strategy used by businesses to list their services or products in a specific website listing is known as local citation building. Local citations can be found on websites, applications, social media, and local business directories to help online users discover a local business. As such, when a listing or a website mentions information about your company or business venture, it is called as the local citation.

Do you remember those printed Yellow Page phone books that were found in every house? These citation sites/online directories are actually the modern online version of Yellow Page directory. With the help of the citation sites, users are able to search and sort business by city, state, company name or business type. It is, in fact, online business directories that list a company’s Name, Address, and Phone Number. The information can be stored in different formats and can also provide more detailed information, such as business description, hours of operation, types of payments accepted, etc. Thus, the three commonly found formats include:

  • NAP: Name, Address and Phone Number
  • WNAP: Website, Name, Address, and Phone Number
  • UNAP: URL, Name, Address, and Phone Number

 

What is the citation building?

Today, more and more people search for local businesses online. According to reports, around 88 % of consumers search for local information on mobile devices. In such a scenario, citation building helps in giving out consistent, accurate and relevant information about your business to listing directories so that search engines and consumers know when, how and where to find your local business.

When a business wants to be found in local searches, search engines like Google and Bing use the information they find in citations to list your business in search results. The listing sites contain pages that search engines use to better index your business for local searches. The process of local citation building is similar to link building where the web crawlers find links back to your business’s website to know if it is trustworthy. As such, citation building has become necessary for local businesses to tell search engines that they can trust your business.

What are the types of Citations?

There are basically two types of citations, structured and unstructured.

  • Structured Citations: Here your business information (NAP) is stored in a business listing directory, such as Yelp, Yellowpages.com, Facebook, Superpages, MapQuest, etc.
  • Unstructured Citations: Here unlike a business listing directory, the business information (NAP) is available on site like blogs, magazine/newspaper sites, wikis, etc.

Why Citations are important for Local Search Rankings?

Citation building plays a vital role in Search Engine Optimization. The accuracy of information, quality of platforms, and the number of citations has a direct influence on the ranking of a local business. When search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo discover that a citation is accurate and the data is validated, it results in improving the SEO ranking of a local business. Thus, citation building helps in enhancing the overall reputation of the business and improves the local search engine rankings due to the following reasons.

  1. Verification & Trust

Accurate and consistent business information ensures search engines that your business exists and is legitimate. Higher the number of credible sources, better the chances of search engines considering you as a reliable source. Moreover, it also gives a positive signal to your potential customers who will see you as a trustworthy company. It is found in researches that internet users are 94% more likely to click on organic results on search engines like Google and Bing than to click on the paid advertisements appearing on top of the page.

  1. Stay ahead of competitors

Most businesses have realized the need and importance of search engine optimization. The ranking algorithms used by both Google and Bing consider citations when it comes to local search rankings. As such more and more companies are getting involved in citation building to become more accessible and exposed. If compared to your competitor, your business is listed on more websites and online directories, the search engine algorithms see your business as more popular and give you a boost in the rankings.

  1. Creates brand awareness

It is seen that the business engaged in citation building gets more of the benefit of brand awareness advertising. Building citations for local search help in generating brand awareness by exposing your business to potential customers. It actually works to advertise your business to new clients by creating word-of-mouth and brand familiarity.

  1. Cost-effective method

It is a more cost-effective way of increasing your business’s online presence as compared to other digital marketing techniques out there. Unlike Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising, listings are the more efficient and affordable way to advertise a business.

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“If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything.” ― Mark Twain