How Business Citations Boost Your Rankings and Revenue

The Most Important Facts About Business Citations

business citation searchDo you own a local business, but your website doesn’t have visitors? Your business might not be visible online. What you need are business citations.

You need to start paying attention to local search engine optimization (SEO). And part of local SEO is Business Citations, which experts refer to as the foundational factor for local search.

In this article, you will learn everything you need to know about business citations as well as the proper ways to build them.

What is a local business citation and how it can help your small business

What is business citation?

A business citation, also known as a “local citation”, is an online mention of your business profile. In other words, it is an online reference for important information about your business. Other names for a local citation are “online directory listing”, “business listing” and Google Maps citations.

Your business profile should consist of your business:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Contact details
  • Link your website

Where do citations go on websites?

You can find business citations on business directories or business directory websites. You can also find them on blogs, wikis, news sites, and supplier sites. However, you shouldn’t just submit your business information to any directories. Make sure you are submitting your NAP and other information to established business directory websites that are an authority in your industry.

What should all citations include?

Citation managementThe NAP or name, address, and phone number is an important part of local citations. And whenever you set up your local business listing, whether at Google, Yelp, Facebook, or elsewhere, you’ll need to fill out forms with a set of fields such as:

  • Business name/title
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Alternate phone numbers
  • Fax number
  • Brands carried
  • Certifications
  • Description
  • Categories
  • Tagline
  • Images
  • Additional media
  • Social profiles
  • Payment forms accepted
  • Attributes
  • Website URL

What are business citation styles?

There are two (2) types of business citation styles. They can be structured or unstructured.

Structured Citation

Structured CitationThis is a standardized local citation commonly found on review sites and directories such as:

  • Google My Business
  • Yellow Pages
  • Yelp
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook

Make sure to provide accurate information since these directories show the complete NAP of listed businesses.

Unstructured Citation

This is a local citation that is not on a standardized directory. The NAP information presented is only basic. You seldom see complete company information in unstructured citations.

This type of local citation can be found on places such as:

  • Newspaper articles
  • Blogs
  • Wikis

Where do I find citations?

Search engines can easily find your business when the NAP is consistently listed at online directory listings. As a result, your business will get better rankings on local searches. So where do you find citations?

Top aggregators

When people search for local products and services, they don’t only use search engines but also local directories as well. And this is why you should have a page set up for each of these local directories.

Having a page for each of the top business listings not only helps boost your local SEO, but it can also help people find your business a lot easier.

Every industry has its own set of aggregators. To find your options, just type in “City+industry” in a search engine search bar.

Below is a list of the top aggregators your business needs to be listed in:

  • Yellow Bot
  • Judy’s Book
  • Shop City
  • Localeze
  • Insider Pages
  • Dex Knows
  • Merchant Circle
  • Trip Advisor
  • Yahoo Local
  • Express Update USA (formally infoUSA)
  • Angie’s List
  • Yellow Pages
  • OpenTable and Urban Spoon (for restaurants)
  • City Search
  • Superpages
  • Yelp
  • Factual
  • Foursquare
  • Infogroup

Spy on your competitors

Check what your competitors are doing. To be specific, check all the directories they are listed in. This is a great way to add more directories where you can provide your business details. Just type in “business name+phone” in the Google search bar. To get results with more localized places, search without including the area code. Moreover, you can search for the business name, address, and city name.  You might want to click through on the following pages as the first page will be more about that specific business.

Newspapers & Local Directories

Do citations matter for SEOAs mentioned earlier, people don’t always use search engines to find a local business. As with the top aggregators listed above, many people also use local newspapers & directories to look for local products or services. Because these directories are focused on a small area, they tend to have a higher value compared to other types of directories. Also, some local newspapers even have a local directory database where you can submit your business profile. To get more results when you want to search for local newspapers & directories, type in “city name + directory” and “city name + business listings” in the search bar.  And again, if you want to narrow down the results, just add the industry you’re in.

Local Blogs & Social Media

Social signals are also a major factor when it comes to search engine rankings. So don’t miss the opportunity to provide your business information on each of your networks such as:

  • LinkedIn
  • Foursquare
  • Facebook, etc.

Moreover, some local bloggers have a local business page in their area. It should be your starting point to search for your “city name+blog”. Again, to narrow results, include the industry as well.

How do you create a local business citation?

Creating a local business citation takes time. Thus, you must find the right moment to do it correctly. Creating your listing is another trust signal and this is very important for your local business.


Step 1: Create a dedicated business email address

Creating a business listing requires a dedicated email address. Experts recommend an email that is connected to your business domain. Avoid using generic ones such as Gmail and Yahoo Mail.
Using a domain-based email address helps you get the trust for your website and will be more likely to go live after you submit your listing.

Step 2: Submit your NAP for each directory

You need to be consistent when providing accurate NAP. The NAP you submitted to a directory site should match to the NAP and other information you submitted to other online directory sites.

Step 3: Select your category

When selecting a category, it should be something that best describes your products or services. As with submitting NAP to each directories sites, you should also be consistent when submitting your category.

Step 4: Add more details about your business

When providing your business information, you must give all the details about your business as much as you can.  This means submitting your:

  • full business description
  • operating hours
  • your logo
  • photos
  • videos
  • links to your social accounts, etc.

Step 5: Claim your listings

Finally, you need to claim your listings. On most business citation sites, you will need to verify your listing using your email address.  For bigger sites such as Apple Maps, Bing, and Google My Business, verification will be done through your phone. In most cases, you will be asked to enter a PIN to claim your listing.

What is a NAP citation?

NAP stands for business or company Name, Address, and Phone number. It is an important factor in local SEO. NAP influences Google on which sites are presented to users for local intent searches.

Many people usually refer to the presence of NAP data all over the internet as citations. Examples of citations are your NAP data showing up on online directory sites such as:

  • blogs posts
  • newspaper articles
  • Angie’s List
  • Yelp

Do citations matter for SEO?

The Most Important Facts About Business CitationsAbout a couple of years ago, local citations used to be the key ranking factor for local SEO. It used to be the major tactic used if a business wants to gain more visibility in local searches.

But the local SEO landscape has changed and many SEO experts now argue if citations still matter at all.  Today, people see business citations as a foundational factor of local search engine optimization. It is no longer the competitive difference-maker as it once was.  And to answer the question, do citations matter for SEO? Yes, they still do.

However, citation alone can’t help you to rank number one on Google, but you still need local citations to, at least, be visible in the local search results.

survey conducted by Bright Local showed that business citations still give value to businesses and agencies alike. Citation management is still one of the most common services offered by digital marketing agencies.

While the strong effect of citations to local SEO performance is no longer as powerful as it was a decade ago, the value to local businesses and agencies remains intact.

What is a citation link building?

Citation link building is the process of building links through online business directories. Remember, a business citation is about providing information about your business to directory sites. The purpose is for potential customers to get a clearer picture of what a local business is all about.

It is a good practice to provide the directory sites all the information about a business. And so, this is a good opportunity to also provide your business URL. Citation link building can help bring potential customers to your business. Keep in mind that this is what we hope to achieve with link building. Still, any type of link building process can be time-consuming and tedious. And so you’ll need a system that helps you to keep track of your link building activities.

Here are citation link building best practices:

  1. Use a Spreadsheet to record all the important data in one place. This helps you organize things such as login credentials, completed and pending work, etc.


  1. To keep yourself consistent with your NAP, you can note the information down somewhere at the top of your spreadsheet. Make sure the notes are organized. This will help you become consistent as you begin building links.


  1. Make sure your anchor text is your business name. Although it may be tempting to use your keywords as anchor text, it is not necessary for citation link building.

What are industry citations?

Citations by category or industry-specific citations are important for businesses in improving their level of relevancy to the niche or category they belong to.  When a business ranks well for the search phrase or term within a specific industry, that business is considered authoritative and relevant for that search phrase. Your business should be on business citation directories intended for your industry if you provide professional services.

Business Citation Summary

Business citations influence how your prospects find your business. Being consistent in providing accurate NAP and other details of your business to online business directories can have a positive impact on your reputation, local search rankings, and revenue.