Why Do Citations Matter for Local SEO?
A citation is an online reference to a company. It has authentic business’s name, address, and phone number, also known as NAP. It is one of the simplest ways to improve the virtual presence of a business. Every search engine works on the principle of getting hits through organic traffic and keywords.
Traditionally when citations are discussed under the pretext of SEO, it is about a number of business listings carrying the NAP of a specific company.
For most of the times, the websites often carry only name, address, and phone numbers, but there are other examples where products and services are also mentioned to improve the rankings of a website.
Types of Citations
In a broad sense, there are two types of citations that can affect the ratings of a business online. SEO professionals have argued about the value of directories. USA business directories are one of the most important platforms that should be explored by companies to ensure they end up at the top of the food chain.
There are two main types of citations:
- Structured Citations
- Unstructured Citations
This type of citations is about mentioning NAP on special websites, such as US business directory. Following are some of the most important online directories that can help a company rank higher online.
- Google My Business
- Bing Maps
If you are thinking about numbers, you will find that there are literally hundreds of websites that can help you in profiling and claiming places. But it is more about quality over quantity.
When you are chasing quality directories like City Local Pro, you can get a lot more by merely claiming your business. There are interactive sections like comments and reviews where people can interact with each other and discuss key details about work.
This type of citations is different in that they do not mention NAP specifically. The examples of citations that are unstructured include blog posts, articles, press mentioning, etc.
Some professionals argue that investing too much resources on one type of citations is not a prudent move. The best way of optimizing your content and online presence overall is by striking a perfect balance between both structured and non-structured citations.
Difference Between Link Building & Citations
Both of these terms are not that much different when it comes to methodology and implementation of the strategy. But the intent is different and this is what search engines, such as Google, claim to distinguish.
Why Citations Matter
According to many SEO professionals, citations are good to have but are not necessary for local SEO. In practice, we have seen that mentioning authentic NAP across the board is a great place to start. John Mueller is of the view that mentioning a business’s name, address, and phone number is not enough to improve local rankings for a business. But it would certainly make a difference when people would search the terms from keywords used on the website and the citations place.
Here is the rundown of how citations play an important role for local SEO.
Improve Local Rankings
For local SEO of a business, citations are considered to be a determining factor. It is because when your company has profiles on trusted online business directories, it sends a signal to Google that your business is legitimate and exists in the real world.
The level of online trust that your website can get depends on:
- Quantity & Quality of Listings
- Accuracy of Listings
- Accuracy Of NAP
This is one of the major reasons why you should think before picking your citations.
Free Organic Traffic
There is another benefit of getting citations from these online directories, which is getting free organic traffic. Online business directories usually rank higher than individual business websites. This includes Yelp, City Local Pro, Yellow Pages, etc. So, if you cannot fight with the giants, it is best to join them.
In addition to basic profiling and claiming your real estate on a business directory, you can pay extra and get premium services which include social media marketing, SEO, SEM, etc.
Earn Referral Visitors
When it comes to online business directories, there are many websites that have loyal client base. For instance, Yelp is famous for being a go-to place for foodies, because they can find restaurants and chow joints fairly easily. TripAdvisor is another prime example for people who are more into sightseeing and visiting landmarks.
The reason of loyalty depends on the quality of information. That is why many people go straight to these websites instead of going to Google. So, getting listed in as many directories as possible can get you referral traffic without going to lengths.
The nature of citations is simple. It is about properly mentioning NAP on multiple websites to increase the chances of your business’s name showing up in the top search result pages. However, it is still a debatable topic as to how important they are. One thing we know for sure is that choosing quality links and citations can enhance the online visibility of your business.