Small businesses don't rely on word-of-mouth anymore.  Not like they used to - in the traditional sense anyway.  Whether you are running a hair salon or own a local restaurant in the community, you need a top 3 position on Google, or people won't find your business. So, if you're struggling with getting foot traffic, calls, or leads into your business and need a local Search Engine Optimization (SEO) boost, you're in the right place.

One key strategy for local SEO that makes a difference is building citations for your business. What are citations, and why are they essential for your local business?

What are citations

A citation is an online reference of your business that includes your business name, address & phone, also known as your "NAP."  One of the simplest examples of a citation is your Google My Business (GMB) account. GMB is your most significant and best citation. Citations are critical because they are the building blocks of your local SEO campaign.

Citations are your best friend when it comes to building your brand's visibility online. They're like a "vote" for your business.  And the more quality citations you have, the better.  Many businesses overlook the importance of citations and end up with lower rankings on search engines.

Why are Citations Important?

As a local business owner, you have to rely on several sources to build local citations, local directories, social media, data aggregators, review blogs, etc. While there are many ways to build citations, one of the most important and effective ways is through local directories.

Let's look at some of the most high-quality citations sites your business should be listed on if you live in the US. These are 20 of the best citations:

  • com
  • apple.com
  • com
  • com
  • com
  • com
  • org
  • yahoo.com
  • com
  • com
  • com
  • com
  • City-data.com
  • com
  • com
  • com
  • com
  • com
  • net
  • com

When setting up your citations, make sure they all follow the same format, using the same info: your NAP (Name, Phone, and Address.)

The 2 Types of citations.

There are two types of citations - structured and unstructured.

Structured citations are business listings in an online database like YellowBook.com or a social media platform like Yelp.  Behind every successful business listing on Google, you can bet there are carefully curated citations.

You create your citations by listing your business name, address, phone number, (your NAP) hours of operation, logo, images of your business, and other details about your business.

Unstructured citations are informal references to your business somewhere on the web. Some examples are news listings, articles, blogs, guest posts, etc. While most of your citation building should be structured, unstructured citations can also add some SEO juice to your ranking as well.

Both structured and unstructured citations play a role in your business ranks on Google, but building structured citations will significantly impact the two.

Pro-tip #1: One way to beat out your local competition is to run a backlink analysis on your competitor's website and figure out what websites link back to them. These citations will be good to use for your website as well.

Pro-tip #2: Another method to find citations that will give you a leg up on your competitors is to do a google search of your local competitor's website URLs.  Go at least five pages back in the results for each competitor.  You'll find various local citations that they have on those results pages, which you may not.

In Conclusion

If you want to boost your Google rankings for your local business and get more foot traffic and online visibility, building citations is one of the best strategies you can use.

They improve your reach and boost your visibility locally. This is one of the easiest and most effective SEO strategies that get results!