If you visit my blog often enough, you’ll be clear on one thing: there are plenty of ways you can approach SEO.
When you want fresh leads, conversions, and new customers, SEO citation building could drive a healthy number of visitors to your website and boost your local search marketing.
In this post, I’ll explain what local citation building is, why it matters, and how to use it for your local SEO.
Want to learn more? Then let’s take a deeper look at local citations and how they can help get your name out there.
What Are Local Citations?
Local citations list your business’s name, address, and phone number (NAP) with online platforms, like directories (think Yelp).
Aside from using established directories, you can also use review sites and social media platforms, and join your local Chamber of Commerce to get your site listed.
Once listed, remember to keep your local business details updated for accuracy and consistency.
Local Citation Types
You’re spoilt for choice when it comes to local SEO citation building! There are so many of them. Here are just a few, using the Jolly Goat Coffee Bar as an example:
- Google Business Profile (GBP): This is probably one of the most important platforms for citation building. Flesh out your profile as much as possible and add information such as business hours, reviews, and a map.
- Yelp: If you’ve ever looked for a local business online, you’ll know this directory pretty well by now, as it’s one of the first local citation-building sites that comes up. As with GBP, you’ll want to create or claim your Yelp Listing and include all the essential details, your NAP, product information or descriptions, reviews, and opening hours.
- Bing Places for Business: This is Bing’s alternative to GBP. With millions of daily visitors, claiming, filling out your listing, and optimizing your Bing profile to appear in search results is worthwhile.
- Facebook business page: Facebook lets businesses set up a free business page to engage with customers. You can use it for updates, publishing and promoting content, and customer service. Click on the “Create a Page” link to get started.
- Apple Business Connect: This resource enables searchers to find you across Apple properties. Click on “Get Started.” You’ll need an Apple ID.
You could also create local citations with:
- Local Chambers of Commerce
- Niche directories such as Open Table or TripAdvisor
- Local events groups or sites like Nextdoor
- Review sites, including Angi or Trustpilot
- Local Government websites
How Local Citations Help SEO
76 percent of people who conduct a local search on their smartphone will visit a physical place within 24 hours, and 28 percent of those searchers will lead to a sale, according to Google:
Citation building is critical to local SEO, enabling businesses to gain better visibility and authority.
Why? Because it all comes down to trust.
A consistent, accurate online presence gives search engines the impression that your site is trustworthy. It builds confidence among local searchers, too.
Along with all this citation building comes local visibility, helping local customers discover your website when they search online.
Additionally, when your website appears on authority sources like Yelp, for example, you gain trusted backlinks that can further boost your site in the SERPs.
What Is Local Citation Building?
Local citation building for SEO works similarly to building backlinks.
However, rather than finding online blogs or authority sites and trying to establish a backlink with them, you focus on adding links to local listing directories.
Like any other type of link-building exercise, you’d make a consistent effort to add your website link to listing directories and you’d also work on maintaining any directory listings. The effort you put into your link building for local SEO makes it easier for local searchers to find you and gives you authority in the “eyes” of the search engines.
As detailed earlier, you can use a mix of platforms, like social media, business directories, niche directories, and your local Chamber of Commerce to build local citations.
Local Citation Building Platforms
Looking for some local citation-building tools to make your job easier? Here are three local citation tools to bolster your local SEO.
BrightLocal is an all-in-one local software platform with a free citation builder.
You can submit listings to over 100 listing sites and on specialist sites. BrightLocal also allows you to clear up existing citations and take down duplicate listings.
Listing costs from $2 a site, and you can sign up for a free seven-day trial.
Whitespark is a local citation-finding tool. It lets you find new citation opportunities, track citations, and discover new citation sites.
You can also complete competitor citation analysis and create campaigns to track all your citations online.
A free trial gives you a taster of the software and provides data on one campaign and three daily searches. Paid subscriptions start at $33 monthly, billed annually.
Semrush Local Citation Builder
Semrush’s citation builder has some awesome tools for local citation building. You can start with a free citation audit. Just run a scan and analyze the report to see where you are and where you need to improve.
The listing management tool enables you to find sites you haven’t signed up with and flags up any issues, like address errors.
You can also use the management tool to send your details to the top directories.
The local citation scan tool is free for up to five locations daily; paid subscriptions start at $20 monthly.
Best Practices for Local Citation Building
Using some best practices, you can get the most from your local citation building for SEO.
When you start your citation building, keep these tips in mind:
- Begin by auditing platforms: Check your online profiles for any missing information or inconsistencies. Moz has a free local listing score tool that looks for issues to save you time.
- Find the most popular sites: Every business can benefit from listing on sites like Google My Business, Yelp, Bing Places, and Facebook’s Business Page, as these are the most popular.
- Claim your profiles: If there are any high-profile local directories you’re not registered with, claim your local listing. Each site has a different process, but you can automate this task with Moz, BrightLocal, or similar tools.
- Provide enough details: The more information you give, the easier it is for a searcher to find your business. Aside from your NAP, include your website URL, business hours, and a detailed description of the products/services you provide. Add images, opening times, and contact details to your profile.
- Include regular and long tail keywords: You need to add local keywords to appeal to a local audience and ensure your keywords are precise if you want leads to find you. To do this, use regular and long tail keywords. For instance, there’s a world of difference between “Building Contractor California” and “Emergency Roofing Contractor California.”
- Keep a keen eye on your competition: If your competitors are on a specific platform, then it makes sense for you to be there, too. Just ensure the platform is relevant to your niche and well-established. For example, if you’re a local restaurant owner, you’ll want to be on TripAdvisor, OpenTable, and GrubHub.
- Optimize where you can: Include keywords in titles, blogs, and product descriptions. Build reviews, add your website URL, and check regularly to ensure your NAP is consistent and up to date across all your local profiles.
By implementing these tips, you’ll create a robust local citation profile that attracts nearby consumers.
Local citation building means creating profiles on third-party directories and websites. Creating a consistent, accurate profile across multiple platforms can enhance your business visibility and attract more local leads while building trust among searchers.
SEO citation building gives you greater visibility on search engines. These citations build credibility with the search engines, improving your local rankings, and enhancing your SEO.
The more mentions your site has online, the easier it is for searchers to find you. A business listing on several high-profile platforms makes you more likely to appear in local SERPs and drive more visitors to your website.
Unstructured citations refer to mentions in blog posts, online forums, and other mentions. However, the information is incomplete and doesn’t include your full details. For instance, an article on a local news site might reference your business name but won’t provide contact details or an exact location.
Structured citations are the type you’ll find in citation-building directories like Google Business Profile and Yelp. These standardized citations have a specific structure, making it easier for search engines to understand them and include NAP, maps, images, and details of special offers.
The most high-profile directories are Google Business Profile, Facebook Business Page, Yelp, and Bing Places for Business.
For local services, Angi is among the most popular, and Trip Advisor is a great option for businesses in the tourist or restaurant trade.
Fill out your local citations as fully as possible and ensure your details are consistent across all directories. It’s a good idea to keep your details updated, too.
Add high-quality images to enhance your descriptions and optimize your content throughout with regular and long-tail keywords.
Also, don’t feel the need to list on every directory. Citation building works best when you create a business profile on well-established, relevant, niche sites.
Consistency builds trust with potential customers, and from search engines, consistent, accurate results can help your visibility, according to research.
BrightLocal SEO Ranking Factors Survey shows outdated and inaccurate citations can negatively affect your search visibility, and inconsistent NAP details can impact voice search visibility.
Citation building is one element of SEO you can use to get your website in front of nearby customers.
It’s a proven strategy that builds visibility, increases credibility, and enhances local SEO.
You could choose from many directories but don’t feel you must be on every site. After all, quality is always better than quality.
Select sites you know you can trust and choose niche directories your potential customers will most likely visit.
If you need assistance in putting a cohesive citation-building plan together, see my list of local SEO agencies.
Do you use citation building for local SEO? Tell us how it works for you.
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