Even with all of the algorithm updates that Google has made, local citations remain to be a key factor in optimizing your business for local search. This is why having quality citations is always a must for a local SEO strategy to be successful. A correctly set up local citation can be easy to manage and can bring improvement on local rankings. But if it's not done right, it could mean the difference between your business's success and failure on local search rankings.
In this blog post, we will be discussing what local SEO citations are, why they are important to your business's ranking on Google, and how you can build these citations for better results.
What is a Local Citation?
A citation is any mention of a business name, address, and phone number (NAP) on the internet. It can be found on business directories, review sites, social media profiles, and some other platforms. These citations are being utilized to positively influence your local rankings since Google and other search engines have become much better at understanding your business information and authenticity online.
For local businesses, building citations is usually one of the first steps when it comes to optimizing their digital presence. Having business listings with accurate information on sites that are relevant to your industry and location can have a positive impact on your site's search engine rankings.
Two Types of Local Citations
There are two main types of local citations: structured and unstructured citations.
A structured citation is your NAP information that's being displayed on business listing directories. This type of citation is usually used as a reference for search engines when they crawl the web. If your NAP information has been stripped out from these directories, it can be difficult for search engines to verify your business' legitimacy online.
You can easily find this type of citation on major local business directories like:
An unstructured citation is your NAP information that's being placed anywhere else online except in business listing directories. This involves creating local citations in a variety of locations, like:
- Blog posts
- Forums posts
Importance of Citations for Local Search Results
A great amount of importance has been placed on citations in recent years, especially when it comes to the local SEO landscape. There are several reasons why these citations have become a crucial part of building a successful local presence in search engines:
Having consistent mentions of your NAP details on the internet will show a level of trustworthiness and consistency to Google. It's what you want to portray since people always look for local business information from a third party, not from the company itself.
Local citations can be a key factor to improved rankings in local search. Over the past, Google stated that they have been using NAP information from third-party sources as a ranking signal for local results. This means that when it comes to local searches, having quality citations with your correct NAP information can put you in front of the competition.
Driving Local Traffic
Because of the local search behavior of people throughout the years, most users tend to seek information through a third-party website. By having a consistent presence on these sites, you can drive more traffic towards your local business and generate leads that will turn into customers.
Building Brand Authority
As with all SEO strategies, consistency is the key. By consistently building citations on several third-party sites relevant to your industry and location, you can give off a feeling of trustworthiness and authority, which will benefit your brand's online presence in the long run.