Your Complete Guide to Local SEO Citations

by Garry Viner on 
April 30, 2023 | 
Digital Marketing Tactics, SEO
Garry Viner

If you're running a local business, you know that appearing in search results for relevant queries can make a big difference in attracting new customers.

Local SEO helps you optimise your online presence for local searches, and one of the tools in your armoury when it comes to local SEO is the acquisition of Google Maps citations.

What are Local SEO Citations?

You might not be familiar with this term, but citations are basically online references to your business, and the more high-quality citations you have, the better your chances of ranking higher in search results on search engines like Google.

Rocket Agency has experience in delivering results-focused SEO services for local businesses. In this article, we'll talk about what citations are, why they matter for local SEO, and how to get more of them.

Examples of local SEO citation building tactics

There are many places online where you might be able to get your business listed.

1. Business directories: These are online directories that list businesses in a particular location or industry. Examples include Yelp, Yellow Pages, and Foursquare.

General Business Directory - True Local

2. Industry-specific websites: Depending on your business type, there may be industry-specific websites or directories that list businesses in your field. Examples include Lawpath for lawyers, Australian Health Directory for doctors, and Fix-A-Tap for plumbers.

Industry Specific Directory - Hubspot

3. Local news sites: Articles or mentions of your business in local newspapers or news websites can also serve as citations.

Rocket - Local news sites

4. Social media profiles: Your business's profiles on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn can serve as citations, as they include your business's name, address, and phone number.

Rocket LinkedIn profile - social media platform

5. Customer review sites: Customer reviews on sites like Google My Business, TripAdvisor, Clutch and Yelp count as citations, as they typically include your business's name, address, and phone number.

Customer Review Sites - Rocket Agency on Clutch

The first two options above provide structured citations, which, as you might expect, is a citation that appears in a structured format, and generally includes your business's name, address, phone number, website, and other details. Conversely, an unstructured citation might just mention your business by name and location, as in the following three examples above.

Both types of citations can be important for improving your business's online visibility and local search rankings, and it's important to have a mix of both in your citation portfolio.

The importance of business listings for local SEO

Search engines like Google use citations as a way to determine the accuracy and relevance of a business's information. These searches in turn influence its local search rankings, which is why local SEO matters. Here's how it works:

  • Firstly, search engines look for consistent and accurate information about your business across multiple sources. If your business's name, address, and phone number (also known as NAP information) is listed the same way across all citations, it signals to search engines that your business is legitimate and trustworthy.
  • Search engines also take into account the quantity and quality of your business's citations. The more high-quality citations your business has, the more likely it is to rank higher in local search results.
  • Next, search engines consider the relevance of your business's citations to the search query. For example, if someone searches for "coffee shops in Sydney," a citation for a coffee shop in Melbourne won't be as relevant as a citation for a coffee shop in Sydney.
  • Finally, search engines value diversity in your business's citations. Having a mix of structured and unstructured citations (such as business directories, social media profiles, and news sites) signals to search engines that your business is popular and influential in your local community.

So how do I acquire citations?

Local SEO citation building for your business involves a few key steps, including the submission process, ensuring accuracy, and ongoing monitoring. Here's a breakdown of how to get (and make the most of) these citations:

  • Identify citation opportunities: Start by identifying relevant business directories, local listings, and other citation sources in your industry or location. Some examples of popular citation sources are listed above, but it should be easy to find more simply by using a search engine to find examples of directories within your niche.
  • Submit your business information: Once you've identified citation sources, you'll need to submit your business information, including your business name, address, phone number, website, and other details. Given that each citation source is different, you might find that some are easier to submit to than others. Some might be free while others require a payment. Some might be a simple case of filling out a form on a website, while others might require you to locate the contact details for the site owner and reach out to them directly.
  • Ensure accuracy and consistency: Accuracy and consistency are key when it comes to citations. Make sure your business information is accurate and consistent across all citation sources, as this can impact your business's local search rankings.
  • Monitor and manage your citations: Ongoing monitoring and management of your citations is important to ensure accuracy and consistency over time. There are citation management tools that you can use to monitor your citations and update them as needed, particularly if your business information changes (e.g. if you move to a new location or change your phone number).
  • Optimise your citations for local SEO: In addition to accuracy and consistency, optimising your citations for local SEO can also help improve your business's local search rankings. This includes using relevant local keywords in your citations and adding photos and reviews to your citations to increase engagement and visibility.

Google Maps citations are a crucial factor in improving a business's local SEO rankings. Accurate and consistent citations on business listings, directories, and Google Maps can help improve a business's online visibility, increase website traffic, and drive more foot traffic to physical locations. By following best practices for citation management, businesses can ensure their information is up-to-date and consistent across all citation sources, increasing their chances of ranking well in local search results.

Of course, citations are just one piece of the puzzle when it comes to local SEO - other factors include how you implemented GMB ranking factors, on-page SEO, online reviews, and user experience. At Rocket we have a track record of success with local SEO so if you’d like some help with this for your business, get in touch or call 1300 059 620.

Garry
Garry Viner
Co-Founder and Senior SEO Strategist | Rocket Agency

As the Co-Founder and Senior SEO Strategist at Rocket Agency, Garry has worked to launch and improve marketing campaigns for leading Australian and international brands including Meriton Suites, Luna Park and Medecins Sans Frontieres.

Garry combines his solid mathematical background with a grounding in actuarial studies with business insight and empathy to create cutting-edge marketing campaigns. As a lifelong learner, he stays up-to-date with martech trends in this fast-moving digital space. At Rocket, he has led a team of PPC and SEO specialists that have run award-winning ad campaigns.

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