Local Citations: What Are They And How Can They Help Your Business

Local Citations are mentions of your company on the internet, it consists of your business name, address and telephone number, for short we call this NAP. Citations are a crucial part of improving your local search results.

local-citations-for-local-seo

A part local citations only includes parts of your NAP, for example, your name and address or name and telephone number but that’s better than having nothing. However, it is more valuable to have a full citation as it consists of the complete information. Here is an example of a complete citation:

Waqas Media, 140 Gracemere Crescent, Birmingham, West Midlands, B28 0UD (07594580715)

If you want your local citations to help with local SEO strategies, it’s vital it is the same as the NAP on your Google My Business page and your current website. The format you select for your citations is the least of your worries; however, you must ensure you are consistent with information everywhere. You also need to ensure you are specific with your building citation such as name – is it an LTD company? Address – is the business on a particular floor? What’re the numbers? And finally the telephone number? Is there a city code you must include? Any spaces, e.g. +44 121.

Local Citations – Why are they important?

A citation is one factor which Google uses when calculating what order to rank each business in the local search result along with reviews and links. To Google, it’s a method which helps companies that are consistently mentioned online and deserve the higher position rather than the least mentioned ones. Also if your business is discussed systematically on websites due to location and the topics you have, this will also help with your position.

Local Citations are used by Google to verify how accurate details are for local businesses listed, specific information such as company addresses and telephone numbers are monitored for validity or to ensure it is not falsified as this could affect the reliability of the search results. If the NAP is the same on over 50+ sites, then that assures Google it is most likely the correct details and that they can confidently continue to show the NAP search.

A further reason why citations are necessary is, not only does it help better your business rankings in your local search, it also expands the awareness and provides different avenues on how people can reach out to you via online searches. If the recognition of your business NAP is listed in many places, this will also increase the people who can see the information and will give you a more substantial footfall.

Local Citations – Where can you get them?

It’s frequently thought out that citations are only found via directories. However, directories are not the only way to get proper citations. Are you wondering what they may be? Undoubtedly you access social media platforms on a daily basis? Or at some point scroll through blogs and forums right? Well, this is another platform for finding citations and very efficient with how social media is developing in the current digital age. Some of the alternative citation sources are:

Press releases
Article and guest post bylines
Question and answer sites
Image and video descriptions
Profile pages
Forum signatures

The best starting place for citations is directories, with the following ones recommended for local businesses in the UK:

www.yell.com
www.yelp.co.uk
www.foursquare.com
www.facebook.com
www.bingplaces.com
www.192.com
www.scoot.co.uk
www.thomsonlocal.com
www.hotfrog.co.uk
www.opendi.co.uk
www.cylex-uk.co.uk
www.118.com
www.freeindex.co.uk
www.directory.independent.co.uk
www.directory.thesun.co.uk
www.touchlocal.co.uk
www.uksmallbusinessdirectory.co.uk
www.citylocal.co.uk
www.cityvisitor.co.uk
www.infobel.com

With your location and your business type, you will be able to help you list the business in minimum 75% of the directories mentioned above, and This will allow you to free listing, however, will not let you share a link directly to the website.  When and if you sign up to the directories, you must:

Create a new email for initially signing up, on which you should expect to be receiving marketing linked and spam emails.

Ensure you give specific information as possible in regards to your business such as opening hours, the outline of your business with descriptions, photographs etc.

Declare the freehold, and you must verify all listings on all the websites you can do so on.

It’s a good start listing your business in the different directories available but doesn’t stop just yet. Research where your opponent has citations and try to match them. You can start your research by filtering through Google for the competitor by using the businesses NAP. Search for keywords that you wish to position for on Google and search through the ‘Google My Business page’ to see which business is on the first page locally and start to record their NAP.

Local Citations – Search Strings

The next step would be to Google each opponent using the following search enquiry:

“Competitor’s Business Name” AND “Competitor’s Postcode” -site:http://www.competitorswebsite.co.uk

For example, to search where a site is listed, you will need to search on Google for the following:

Waqas Media” AND “B28 0UD” -site:http://www.waqasmedia.co.uk

It Is vital to use the quotation marks, the AND when searching and ensure you eliminate results for the business site (http://www.). And this is to provide results are accurate as they can be. So that you don’t scroll through pages and pages. It’s best for you to search through pages 1-10 to find the top opponents and ensure you take notes of all URLs and the citing if your business is not already on there.

Each opponent you inspect will have citations on many even hundreds of them available, and they will have used the ones I have mentioned previously. You will also find other citations again as I said before on social media platforms, forums, blogs etc. These, of course, will be explicitly linked to your speciality/industry and location.

Once you have gathered the citations and extracted information on each opponent needed, you will be able to find where you can potentially add your business, possibly from 20 to 100 sources. When adding your citation you may be required to signing up, which is the simplest and some will need you to make phone calls and in some cases to write a small article on their website.

Finally, the end will be rewarding, having your citations in directories, information on your opponents citations and the sources you find while searching will potentially give you 50+ citations and in most cases more. And this will be more than your opponent will have because of the process you have been through to help improve your citations. And this is a process that works in a continuous cycle, to ensure it’s a satisfactory way of working you should repeat this process at least every six months.

Mohammad Waqas
Mohammad Waqas is a longtime digital marketing professional. Regarded as an expert in inbound and content marketing, search engine optimisation and link building, Waqas's an innovative growth creator and turnaround specialist. You can also find him on LinkedIn.

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