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HomeBlogMarketingHow to Build Local Citations for Small Businesses: Benefits, Types & Steps

How to Build Local Citations for Small Businesses: Benefits, Types & Steps

Are you a small business owner looking to improve your local SEO? Building local citations is essential to any successful search engine optimization strategy. Local citations are online mentions or references of your company name, address, and phone number (NAP). 

These links can be found on directories, social media sites, blogs, and more. The benefits of building these citations include increased visibility in the SERPs and improved trustworthiness among potential customers. 

In this blog post, we’ll discuss the types of local citations, structured versus unstructured ones; and how to build them in four steps for optimal SEO results. So if you’re ready to optimize your website’s ranking by building up quality backlinks, read on!

Build Local Citations for Small Businesses

What Are Local Citations?

A local citation mentions a business’s NAP (name, address, phone number) on another website or directory. This includes listings in directories such as Yelp or Yellow Pages but mentions anywhere else online where the NAP appears without being linked to the website.

Citations are an important part of local SEO because they help search engines understand where you’re located and what services you offer. The more consistent citations you have across the web, the better your chance of ranking higher in local search results.

Benefits of Local Citations

Local citations are an important part of any small business’s local SEO strategy. They help increase visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs) and can lead to more website visitors, potentially converting customers or clients.

Improved Search Visibility

When businesses create listings on directories like Yelp, Yellow Pages, and Google My Business, they become easier for customers to find online. This increased visibility helps businesses stand out from their competitors and attract more attention from potential customers who may have yet to find them.

Increased Web Traffic

By appearing in multiple places online, businesses can reach a wider audience than if they were only listed on one directory or platform. This leads to more people visiting their websites and potentially becoming paying customers or clients.

Higher Conversion Rates

Local citations can lead to higher conversion rates and better customer loyalty. Customers who find a business through a citation are likely already interested in what it offers since they searched for it specifically rather than finding it by chance elsewhere online. 

As such, these visitors are more likely to take action once they arrive at the website – whether that means signing up for an email list or making a purchase right away – and stay loyal long-term due to their positive first impression of the company’s services or products.

Statistics on Local SEO Citations

As local SEO continues to evolve, so do the strategies and tactics that local businesses need to use to rise to the top of the search results.

One area that has seen a lot of change in recent years is local SEO citations since they can help improve your business’ click-through rate (CTR) and overall visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs).

If you’re looking to improve your local SEO, here are some statistics you need to know about citations:

Checking Your Local Citations

  • Manually

There are 100s of local citation sources to check. In theory, you could manually check all the major citation sites when performing a thorough manual audit of your citations.

In reality, there are only a few major data aggregators worth investigating. These include major players such as Facebook and Apple Maps. 

  • Automated Local Listing Checks

Moz provides a local listing tool for your business to make things easier. You can check your local business listings across the web using Moz Local’s Check Listing tool for inclusions and accuracy. These major data aggregators have the most influence over web results.

Types of Local Citations

They refer to mentions of your business name, address, and phone number (NAP) on other websites or directories. There are two types of local citations:

Structured Citations

Structured citations are an important part of local SEO. They help search engines understand your business’s location and contact information, which can lead to improved visibility in local searches. Structured citations include your name, address, and phone number (NAP) on directories, review sites, social networks, and other websites.

When creating structured citations for your business, ensuring the NAP is consistent across all platforms is important. Inconsistent or incorrect information can confuse search engine algorithms and hurt rankings in local searches. It is also a good idea to link back to your website whenever possible as this will help improve the overall domain authority.

Examples of structured citations include online directories such as Yelp or Yellow Pages; review sites like TripAdvisor; industry-specific directories like Healthgrades; social media profiles like Facebook or Twitter; and even press releases that mention your business’s NAP details. 

Structured citations are essential to local SEO and can help boost your business’s visibility in search engine results.

Unstructured Citations

Unstructured citations are mentions of your business on the web that don’t include a link to your website. These can be found in forums, blog posts, social media posts, and more. While they don’t directly improve SEO efforts like structured citations do, unstructured citations still have their benefits.

Unstructured citations help increase brand awareness and build trust with potential customers. When someone sees your business name mentioned in an article or post from a trusted source, it helps them form a positive opinion about you before they even visit your website. This is especially important for small businesses with less online visibility than larger companies.

Many unstructured citation sources make it easier for search engines to find information about your business when indexing pages for relevant searches related to local SEO efforts. 

Overall, structured citations provide more direct SEO benefits than their unstructured counterparts; however, the latter should be considered as they offer some unique advantages.

Building Local Citations on Google Business Profile

Google My Business (GMB) is a great way to build local citations.

When you show up on Google’s local 3-pack, you can get a whopping 700% boost in clicks over businesses that don’t; And you can only show up there when you have a great Google Business Profile with accurate citations.

GMB allows businesses to create their profile page on Google, which can be used for listing contact information, hours of operation, services offered, and more.

By creating a GMB profile for your business and optimizing it with accurate details about your business, you can start building up valuable local citations that will help boost your rankings in search engine results pages (SERPs).

When setting up your GMB profile page, ensure all the information is accurate and consistent across other platforms like Yelp or Yellow Pages. This helps build credibility with customers searching for businesses like yours online.

Additionally, adding images or videos related to your business on the GMB page will enhance its appeal by providing visual cues that attract viewers’ attention.

Once you have set up your GMB profile page correctly, it’s time to start building local citations from other sources, such as industry-specific directories or review sites like TripAdvisor or Angie’s List.

Finally, once these external sources begin linking back to your website via citation links—which include the name of the company along with its address—it will signal trustworthiness among search engines because multiple reputable websites are vouching for it being a legitimate source of service product offerings in its arearegioncountry etc.

How to Build Local Citation for SEO in 4 Steps? 

They help search engines understand where your business is located and what services you offer and provide additional visibility for potential customers in the area. Building local citations can be time-consuming, but it’s worth the effort if you want to rank higher in local search results. Here are four steps to help get started:

For further differentiation from other businesses in the same industry, take advantage of additional features offered by some directories such as images or video uploads and special offers or discounts available only through certain sites. Additionally, link back from each directory listing page directly to relevant pages on your website; this will improve user experience and SEO performance over time, without a doubt.

Step 1: Research Your Competitors’ Citation Profiles 

Researching your competitors’ citation profiles is critical in building local citations for your business. It helps you identify which sites they are listed on and how their listings look compared to yours.

This can give you valuable insight into what works best when creating an effective local SEO strategy.

Tools like Moz Local or Whitespark Local Citation Finder make it easy to find out which sites your competitors are listed on and compare them with your profile.

These tools provide detailed information about each listing, including the name of the site, its domain authority, the number of backlinks, etc., so you can quickly assess whether or not a particular citation is worth pursuing.

For example, suppose one of your competitors has more backlinks than you do from a particular website. In that case, this could indicate that this website may be beneficial for getting more exposure for your business online.

Similarly, if another competitor has better reviews than yours, this could suggest that there’s room for improvement in customer service or product quality at your end.

It’s also important to consider other factors, such as the relevance of the websites where both yourself and your competitors have been cited; having citations from relevant websites will help boost visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs).

Finally, remember that while researching competitor profiles can provide useful insights into what works well for local SEO strategies, success ultimately depends on providing high-quality content and services tailored specifically towards meeting customer needs – after all, ‘the proof is in the pudding’!

Step 2: Create a List of Relevant Citation Sources for Your Business

Creating a list of relevant citation sources for your business is an important step in local SEO. It’s essential to make sure the sites you use meet Google’s guidelines so that they count towards improving your rankings in local searches.

National directories like Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Angie’s List are all good places to start when creating a list of relevant citation sources. These websites have large user bases and can help drive more traffic to your website or storefront.

In addition to national directories, it’s important to consider regional ones, such as Yellow Pages or CitySearch, depending on your location.

Local businesses should also look into industry-specific websites such as HomeAdvisor for contractors or OpenTable for restaurants offering online reservations


Including social media profiles in your citation list sources are beneficial since many people search for businesses through Facebook or Twitter before looking them up elsewhere online.

Finally, remember niche directories like health care providers (HealthGrades) or lawyers (Avvo).

Step 3: Claim and Optimize Existing Listings 

Regarding local SEO, claiming and optimizing existing listings is an important step. It’s a great way to save time since the information about your business should be filled out correctly on those websites.

However, you still need to ensure everything is up-to-date before submitting them again in case any changes were made, such as address or phone number updates.

Once claimed, you can optimize each listing by adding photos, videos, or other content related to your business, such as customer reviews or testimonials.

This will help improve user engagement with each listing and increase its chances of appearing higher in search engine results pages (SERPs).

For example, if you have a restaurant, adding images of some of your most popular dishes could entice customers to visit your establishment.

Step 4: Start Submitting New Listings

After claiming existing listings, start submitting new ones based on the list created earlier. Ensure all details match across all platforms, including name, address, phone number, website URL, etc. 

Additionally, depending on each platform’s availability, include extra information such as opening hours description, category tags, keywords, images, video links, social media accounts reviews/testimonials, etc. 

This will give users more insight into what makes up a complete profile when searching online for businesses similar to yours and thus increase chances of being found easily online through organic searches instead of relying solely on paid ads campaigns only.

How to Optimize Your Local Citations? 

Local citations are an important part of local SEO and can help your business reach a wider audience. They are references to your business name, address, and phone number (NAP) on other websites or directories.

Optimizing these citations can greatly impact how visible your business is in local searches. Here’s how:

  • Accuracy

The most important thing in optimizing local citations is accuracy – ensure all of the details about your business are correct across all platforms.

This includes spelling out words like “street” instead of abbreviating them, using consistent formatting for addresses and phone numbers, etc. A single typo could lead potential customers astray!

  • Consistency

Consistency between different citation sources also helps search engines recognize that you’re a legitimate business – discrepancies between listings could hurt both visibility and credibility.

Make sure all the details match perfectly across every platform so that everything looks professional and trustworthy.

  • Relevance

Relevant citations from trusted sites will be more valuable than irrelevant ones from less-known sources – focus on getting listed in industry-specific directories rather than general ones whenever possible.

Also, look into niche social media networks related to what you do; this can be a great way to get noticed by potential customers who may not otherwise find you through traditional means!

  • Quality over Quantity

It’s better to have fewer high-quality listings than lots of low-quality ones; having too many inaccurate or duplicate entries will only help when it comes time for people searching for businesses like yours online!

Focus on building relationships with authoritative websites before branching out into lesser-known sites where appropriate – this will ensure maximum visibility while maintaining quality control over what appears in search results about your company or brand name.

FAQs About How to Build Local Citations

The number of local citations considered “good” depends on the size and type of business. Generally speaking, having at least 10-20 citations from reputable sources such as directories, review sites, and other websites related to your industry is a good starting point. 

Additionally, ensuring all citations are accurate and up-to-date with correct contact information will help boost visibility in local search results. As you continue to build more quality citations over time, it can positively impact your website’s rankings in local search engine results pages (SERPs).

Yes, local citations can help SEO. Citations mention a business’s name, address, and phone number (NAP) on other websites. These citations provide search engines with more information about the business, helping them better to understand its relevance to searches in the area. 

Additionally, having consistent NAP data across multiple sources helps build trust with search engines and can result in higher rankings for local businesses. Local citations can help businesses gain visibility and increase their chances of being found by potential customers.


Building local citations can help increase visibility in search engine results and drive more customers to your business. There are two types of local citations: structured and unstructured. Structured citations involve submitting your business information to directories, while unstructured citations involve getting mentions from other websites or blogs without necessarily linking back to you. 

To build local citations for your small business, make sure that all the information about it is accurate and consistent across different sites, create a profile on major directories like Google My Business, Yelp!, and Yellow Pages, get listed in niche-specific directories related to your industry, reach out to bloggers or influencers who may be interested in mentioning you on their website or blog posts, and monitor the progress of your citation building efforts regularly. 

With these steps in mind, you can start building strong local citations for your small business today!

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