What Are Citations in SEO? A Beginner’s Guide in 2024

Have you ever wondered why some local businesses magically appear at the top of Google while others struggle?

It can be frustrating NOT to find your local business in Google search or Google Maps, right? 

What if we told you there’s ONE factor that impacts visibility for your online or local business? It is called “citations.”

Citations are references or mentions of your business. If you want more customers for your local business, you need citations from QUALITY platforms.

In this post, you’ll discover SEO citations and how to build those local search citations to improve your visibility. Are you ready? Let’s get started.

What are Local Search Citations? How to Build Them in 2024?

local seo citations

What are Citations in SEO?

A citation is any mention of your business on the Internet. Usually, a local citation includes;

  • Your business’s name
  • Physical address and 
  • Phone number 

Here’s an example of a citation of a business;

business citation in google

As you can see above, the above citation is from Google Business. Similarly, there are many platforms, like Yelp, Facebook, etc, that allow you to build citations for your business. These citations are also known as NAP citations because they show the business’s name, address, and phone number.

Benefits of Local SEO Citations

So, why do you need to get business citations for SEO?

local seo citation benefits

The PRIMARY purpose of a citation is to build a business’s local relevance and authority. Here are some of the benefits of local search citations;

  • They help your customers and search engines be properly informed about your business’s details, including precise location.
  • Anyone can easily connect with your business over the phone and enquire about the details.
  • Citations play a KEY role in local SEO. So if you want your local business to get discovered in local searches, NAP details (Name, Address, Phone) are a MUST.
  • You’ll attract potential customers when your business is present on relevant local listings. People searching for “best plumber near me” or “coffee shop in [your area]” are excellent leads for your business.
  • Most citations often include links back to your website, driving TARGETED organic traffic for free.

Check out these local SEO tips to learn how to optimize your local business for better organic visibility. 

Where To Get Local Citations for Your Business?

There are THREE primary approaches to building local citations for your business which are:

  • Search engines
  • Business listing sites
  • Unstructured citations

Let’s briefly discuss the various listing options available from these two approaches. 

how to build local citations

1. Search engines: You can get citations for your business from major search engines players like Google, Bing, and Apple. You just need to create a free account, and you’ll be able to submit your business information.

When it comes to search engines, Google is the #1 player. Don’t ignore the Google Business Profile listing, as Google dominates the local search.

2. Major business listing directories: Local business listings can also be built on popular social and review platforms like Facebook and Yelp. Here are a few BIG players in this category;

  • Yelp
  • Facebook
  • Yellow Pages
  • Instagram
  • Superpages
  • BrownBook
  • Foursquare
  • Nextdoor
  • CitySquares
  • ShowMe Local
  • TomTom

Here’s what the Yelp citation looks like;

yelp listing

The best part about using business listing sites like Yelp is that you can respond to customer reviews, add or update photos of your business, and provide accurate information about your business.

Also, a few platforms allow you to remove spam or hatred comments made by spammers.

3. Unstructured citations online: Apart from the above two approaches, you can also try to get unstructured citations for your business.

These aren’t your typical listings on Yelp or Foursquare but somewhat organic mentions of your business online. Usually, most businesses try to get such mentions in blog posts, news articles, online communities, etc.

Try to get such online mentions through a link to your website. Even if you don’t get a link, they are STILL valuable. The best way to get such citations is to build relationships with other website owners, bloggers and influencers. Offer them something in return.

Here’s ONE thing to remember: no matter which business listing or platform you use, make sure to provide ACCURATE and SAME information everywhere. Make sure NOT to build any duplicate or inaccurate listings.

Best Practices for Local SEO Citations in 2024

Here are some best practices to get local search citations in 2024.

best practices for local SEO citations

Use data aggregator tools: One of the best ways to get citations for your local business is to use data aggregator tools. In case you don’t know, these platforms simultaneously submit your business data to many listing sites.

Here are a few options for you;

  • Localeze
  • BrightLocal
  • Foursquare
  • Whitespark
  • Advice Local
  • Data Axle
  • Moz Local
  • Synup
  • Yext

Encourage Customer Reviews: Search engines and all the citation platforms like Google My Business, Yelp, and Facebook thrive on customer reviews.

So, make sure to encourage people to leave positive reviews. Not only do these reviews build trust and credibility, but they also act as valuable citations, ultimately improving your local search ranking.

Get listed in Google Business: If you’re running a local business, you must claim a Google Business listing. Make sure to add accurate information like NAP (Name, Address, Phone number), website URL, operating hours, and high-quality photos of your business. 

Start a website: One of the best ways to improve your local SEO and get more citations for your business online is to start a website.

If you have a website, you can optimize your homepage and other important pages by adding relevant keywords and descriptions. You can also add social proof, such as customer reviews. 

Track your competitors: One of the best ways to find new opportunities and platforms to build more citations for your business is to track your competitors’ businesses.

The key here is to identify all of your competitors’ business’s existing citations across the web. If you don’t have mentions from any of those platforms, get them.

Leverage social media: If you want to get local citations for your business, don’t ignore social media. You should pick at least one platform, such as Instagram, Facebook or Twitter, and actively engage with other people. 

Talk about your business, mention your products, respond to comments, and participate in relevant conversations. This can ultimately lead to organic mentions of your business.

Brand monitoring tools: Above all, track mentions of your business online. That’s how you can easily identify potential citation opportunities. You can use Google Alerts or tools like Semrush to monitor your brand mentions. 

Here are some of the best local SEO tools you can use to improve your business’s visibility in search engines. 

FAQs on Local Citations SEO

Here are some frequently asked questions on citations in search engine optimization.

What information do local citations contain?

Local citations contain online mentions of your business, including its name, address, and phone number. It is also called NAP details, which reveal your local business identity.

How can I build local citations in 2024?

There are two main approaches to building local citations in 2024:
– Manual building, where you can claim your listings on the major directories like Google My Business, Yelp, Angie’s List, etc.
– Data aggregators, where you can go for paid services like Moz Local or Yext, which can submit your NAP information to a wide range of directories, saving you time.

What if my business information changes?

If you move to another city or place, update your NAP information promptly across all your listings.

How many citations do I need?

There’s no rule of thumb. Focus on QUALITY. The quality of citations is more important than the quantity. Try to build high-quality citations from authoritative websites.

What are the best tools to manage local citations?

Here are some of the best tools that can help you manage your local citations;
– Moz Local
– Yext
– Whitespark
– BrightLocal

You can use these tools to track your citations, find inaccurate listings, and update your information accordingly.

Recommended Reading:

Final thoughts 

Local SEO citations are extremely important, especially if you want to rank for local searches related to your business.

Remember, quality > quantity. It’s better to have a few high-quality citations from relevant and authoritative websites than a bunch of listings on spammy directories.

Local citations are an ongoing process. Keep an eye on your listings and make changes whenever needed. Have any questions? Let us know in the comments.

About Author
Anil Agarwal is the Founder of Bloggerspassion. He is a full-time blogger and SEO expert who has been helping people build profitable blogs for over a decade Now. He has been featured in Over 100 Publications including Forbes, The HuffPost, HubSpot, Shopify, Semrush, Kinsta, Bluehost, Hostinger and G2.com etc. Know more about Anil Agarwal from here.

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