What is a Citation?
Citations are listings, or mentions, of your website on other web pages – they act somewhat like links for “Local” SEO. However, a citation may or may not actually link back to your website, and unlike a link, acquiring them is typically in your control through a registration process.
The more places that your business is “cited”, the easier it is for the Search Engines to find your business, and the more confidence they have in listing it on the search engine results pages.
Rules for Citations
1. List your information exactly the same way every time: determine how you want to display your information (Business name, address, and phone number – NAP), and be sure to write it that way on each listing opportunity, including your website.
Consider whether you’ll use:
- Suite or Ste.
- Idaho or ID
- Company or Co.
- and or &
- Street or St.
2. If possible, include your address on every web page. I’ve found that the footer can be a good place for this.
3. Use a local phone number rather than a toll free number.
4. If you have offices or stores in multiple locations, try to have a separate page for each rather than listing them all on one “Contact Us” page.
5. I don’t usually recommend paying for citations. The only ones that I’ve paid for, and would recommend for most local businesses, are the Chamber of Commerce, and the Better Business Bureau.
8 Citation Sites to Get You Started:
Finding More Citation Opportunities
1. Search: Use industry and location based search queries to find directories or business listings that you could use for citations. Search:
- City + Directory
- City + Business Listings
- Industry + Directory
- Industry + Business Listings
- City + Blog (for possible links)
- Industry + Blog (for possible links)
For example, I could search Boise + Directory, Boise + Business Listings, or SEO + Directory.
2. Look at Your Competitor’s Citations:
Your competitors, especially those that appear higher in the rankings than you, may have found other opportunities for citations. To analyze their citations, type the business name, and either the address or phone number, in quotation marks in the Google search bar. The search engine results page will probably show many listings, including some from citation type websites.
3. Whitespark: Local Citation Finding Tool:
Whitespark (not an affiliate link) offers a web tool that will search for “Local” citation opportunities for your business. They offer a limited “free” service that is worth checking out, but if you’re serious about finding as many citations as possible, you’ll probably want to subscribe.
I’ve only just started looking at their program in the past couple of weeks, but it seems to be very thorough and effective at finding local citation opportunities.
Thanks for reading. As always, your comments and questions are both welcomed and appreciated!
Do you have other citation listings that you’d recommend? I’m hoping to put together a “master” list to be shared in a later blog post.