Local SEO Citations – Definition, Benefits, Types & Building Strategies

Local citations help build the prominence of your local business on Google search results. You should focus on getting your NAP details listed in quality local directories and review sites first. To save time and effort, you can use data aggregators that specialize in building citations for local businesses. This will ensure consistency and accuracy […]

what are citations in seo

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Local citations help build the prominence of your local business on Google search results. You should focus on getting your NAP details listed in quality local directories and review sites first.

To save time and effort, you can use data aggregators that specialize in building citations for local businesses. This will ensure consistency and accuracy of your NAP information across the web.

What are Local SEO Citations?

Citations are online mentions of a physical business’s name, address and phone number (also known as NAP data) that are found on websites, apps, social media platforms and local directories. They can also include a link to the business’s website. While a link isn’t necessary, it can increase visibility on the web and can boost a business’s search engine rankings.

Accurate local citations can help customers discover the business and generate phone, web and foot traffic that ultimately culminates in revenue. However, incorrect local citations can mislead consumers and lead to customer frustration and brand damage, as well as negatively impact search engine rankings. NAP consistency is therefore key for enjoying the full benefits of local citations.

Building local citations can be one of the most cost-effective ways to improve your search engine optimization (SEO) strategy, and is often grouped into the broader category of link building. But whereas link building involves actively seeking out links, local citations are received automatically as a result of your business being listed on relevant online directories and third-party sites that Google trusts. This means that by ensuring your NAP data is consistent across all these sources, Google can have greater confidence that your business exists and is legitimate. This translates to improved visibility on the search results page, as well as increased trust in your brand.

Why are they Important?

In local search engine optimization, citations validate the location and physical existence of a business. They also help to establish trust with a customer and improve its ability to rank in local search results. A citation is an online reference to a business that includes the company name, address and phone number (NAP). Citations can include a link to the business website but are not required. The information in a citation can be structured or unstructured. Structured citations are found in online directories such as Yelp, Yellowpages and Apple Maps. Unstructured citations are mentions of the business in other online locations, such as news articles and blogs.

A citation can be valuable even if it does not contain a link. As long as the NAP details are accurate, a citation can provide valuable validation for a business’s location and increase its visibility in search. It can also help to increase a local search ranking, especially when the same NAP details appear on multiple reputed sites that Google trusts.

Citations can be used to optimise a business for Voice Search, an emerging technology that allows users to search using their voice. As more people use hands-free devices to avoid catching the Covid-19 pandemic, it is likely that voice search will become increasingly popular. This can be particularly useful for businesses that are local to a city as customers will be searching for local restaurants and services that are close by.

Which Citations are Needed?

Citations are a ranking factor because search engines look at consistency of data to validate that the business is a real, local company with accurate information. Inconsistent NAP citations tell Google that the company information isn’t trustworthy and can result in decreased visibility in local search results. Inconsistent listings may also make it harder for consumers to get in touch with the brand, leading to frustration and a loss of trust. If competitors have a more consistent citation profile than yours, they will likely be displayed higher in local search results.

The simplest way to build a citation is through an online directory. Some well-known online directories, such as Yelp, have been known to dominate page one of local search results and can provide a great opportunity for businesses to gain visibility in a specific niche. Online business directories may include a link to the website, but this is not essential for a local SEO and Google map citations.

Unstructured citations are found on a variety of sites including blogs, news sites, apps, maps and government databases. These citations can either be built or earned on an organic basis through PR/marketing campaigns to relevant platforms or through other methods of listing on various websites. Unstructured citations do not have to contain a link to the website, but they must mention the name of the company and its location. These types of citations are important because they help to build authority and boost a local business’s credibility.

Types of Citations

Local SEO citations are mentions of your business name, address, and phone number online. These mentions may include a link to your website or not, and can be structured or unstructured. Structured citations appear in local business directories and third-party websites, which Google trusts as reliable sources of information about businesses. Unstructured citations are mentions of your company on other websites and social media platforms.

Both types of citations have a big impact on your local search engine optimization. In addition, there are different types of citations based on the kind of business you run. Citations that are related to your industry have a greater value than other citations. For example, a citation from a restaurant might be more valuable than a citation from a textile company.

It is important to keep your citations consistent across all of your online platforms and local SEO profiles. This will help to ensure that the information Google crawlers find is accurate and up-to-date, which improves your SEO rankings. In addition, it will make it easier for customers to contact you with questions or concerns. In the end, this will lead to more sales for your company.

Building Citations

Managing your local citations manually can be extremely time-consuming. It’s also incredibly easy to make mistakes. One incorrect name, address or phone number in the wrong place can have drastic effects on your local search ranking. This can lead to a loss of business from consumers who find your competitors instead.

To help alleviate these issues, many SEOs recommend using a data aggregator to manage your local citations. This will not only ensure that your information is correct on the most important sites but that it is consistent across all of them. Additionally, a data aggregator will fix duplicate citations and ensure that your NAP is consistent across the web.

NAP citations can be built or earned in a variety of ways including through online directories, social media platforms, event listings, job boards, government records and even in blog articles. They can include a link to your website, but that is not required.

The most important part of building local citations is to focus on quality over quantity. It’s not only more cost-effective but will ensure that your information is accurate across all of the most important platforms. Accurate citations drive web, phone and foot traffic to your business, which then leads to revenue.


The NAP, or Name, Address, Phone number of your practice is important to keep consistent across the internet as part of local SEO best practices. This is because search engines want to make sure that they are providing users with accurate information that will help them find what they are looking for. Inconsistent NAP data may lead to confusion and distrust from consumers, which can hurt your business in the long run.

NAP consistency is one of the most significant ranking factors that businesses have total control over, and so it is important to ensure that it is correct on every platform that your business appears on online. This includes your website, social media, business directories, and more. Keeping your NAP data consistent will help you improve your search engine rankings and increase the chances that potential patients can find you and become new clients for your practice.

To help keep your NAP data consistent, it is a good idea to add it to every page of your website in a header or footer. This will prevent any confusion or misinformation from arising that can negatively impact your SEO efforts. You should also be vigilant about removing any duplicate NAP listings that are appearing online. This should be done by claiming and verifying your Google My Business listing, and then contacting the websites where the incorrect information is listed to have it removed.

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Roger Avila

Roger Avila

Roger is an SEO Manager at JetRank based out of sunny San Diego, CA.
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