A local citation is any online mention of the name, address, and phone number of a local business. Citations can occur on local business directories, on websites and apps, and on social platforms. Citations help Internet users to discover local businesses and can also impact local search engine rankings. Specifically, having the right basic citations can help you rank accurately on Google Maps. Local businesses can actively manage many citations to ensure data accuracy. By Moz.
There are literally 100s of local citation sources you could check. Indeed, when doing a comprehensive manual audit of your citations, you could in theory check all the major citation sites by hand.
In reality, there are only a few major data aggregators that you likely would want to check. These include big players like Facebook and Apple Maps. We’ve included a shortlist of where to get citations here.
To make things easier, Moz offers a local listings tool for your business. You can check your local business listings across the web for both inclusions and accuracy. These listings include the major data aggregators that most influence web results.
Local business owners and marketers can create citations on a variety of important local business data platforms that exist to publish this type of data. Core platforms include Google My Business, Acxiom, Localeze/Neustar, and Infogroup. Key local business listings can also be built on popular social and review-oriented sites like Facebook and Yelp.
In addition to building local business listings on the major local business data platforms that serve all industries, your company can seek to build listings on websites that are specific to its unique industry and geography. Examples of these platforms would include chamber of commerce websites or the websites of professional associations and guilds.
Supplementary citations can either be built or earned on a wide variety of publications, including blogs, news sites, apps, maps, government databases, and more. You can either intentionally develop these citations for your business, or simply earn them based on merit and public interest/sharing of information.
All of the above types of citations can be developed via the use of automated software (like Moz Local), by filling out forms directly on local business platforms manually, or via other methods of PR/marketing to various platforms.
Finally, citations and local business listings frequently appear without any action being taken by the business. Citations can result from automated aggregation and the flow of data from local business data platforms. For example, data on a site like Infogroup can flow down to another site like Superpages. This reality of how the web works makes it especially important for local businesses to take control of the accuracy of their data, so that inaccurate data is discovered and corrected, preventing customer loss, revenue loss, and any negative impact on local search rankings.
The core components of a citation are a company’s name, address, and phone number (NAP) and can also include a reference or link to a designated page of the company’s website. In addition to this, a citation may incorporate some or all of the following elements:
To fully prepare for filling out the common fields of the citations you’ll be creating, please read: The Core Components Of Local Business Listings
Local citations significantly influence two scenarios relating to local businesses:
Businesses at every level of local commerce — from one-person startups to major brands — are deeply concerned about rankings, reputation, and revenue. Local citations are vital, given that they factor into all three of these areas.
Learn more about their importance in this blog post: Reputation, Rankings, and Revenue: Navigating Local for Non-Technical People.
Any local business developing its marketing strategy must understand the risk/benefit scenario of a passive vs. an active approach to citation management.
Neglecting citation development and management risks the following damage to rankings, reputation, and revenue:
Actively managing citations can positively impact rankings, reputation, and revenue via:
Weighing these risks/benefits, you’ll soon determine that active citation management can be neglected. It simply isn’t good business.
Citations are publications of your core business data on the Internet. They influence consumer discovery and local search engine rankings. Accurate citations positively impact rankings, reputation, and revenue, whereas inaccurate citations detract from these assets. Due to the high stakes of these assets, active location data management is a necessity for all local businesses, and you can choose from manual, semi-automated, and automated solutions for your business. You must fully research each potential option or service you consider to discover whether your investment of resources will result in meaningful value.