If you want to maximize your local search engine results, you, as a business, need to create consistent and accurate local citations on listing sites. You need to build citations across all top listing websites with your business information. This business information needs to be as accurate as possible. By doing that, you can give your business more credibility, which in turn can place it higher in local search engine results. So, accuracy and optimizations of your citation are important!
Doing just that is not so difficult, but many businesses struggle with that. Providing accurate and optimized information on listing sites takes some time, commitment, and of course – attention to detail. You need to spend some time if you want to ensure the optimal local search for your business. Today, we are going to explore just that – How can you, as a business, reinforce accurate information and consistent local citations for your local SEO success? So, let’s not waste any more time!
What exactly are citations?
So, what exactly are citations? Simply put, citations are online references that include the business’ name, address, and phone number. Those three things are minimum requirements for something to be called a “citation”. Business jargon uses the term “NAP” for that.
Or in other words, a citation is a business listing that includes NAP. Citations appear in apps, local business directories, and social media. The most popular sites for citations are of course Google, Facebook, Infogroup, Google My Business (GMB), Acxiom, Yelp, and others. Correctly using citations helps attract local customers and customers from all around the world.
Other websites and platforms include websites and pages that provide lists based on different factors, like geographical location or industry. Examples of this are local trade associations and local chambers of commerce. Even less organized platforms include listings on, maps, news sites, government databases, and even blogs.
Why do you need to know that?
Today we are going to focus on search engines. Search engines use these listings to help users find what they are looking for, i.e. local businesses, contact information, directions and locations, and other information.
You need to have accurate and optimized citations if you want your business to be visible when users search for terms that are connected to your business. There are sites like AZ Citation Services that can help you educate yourself on those matters. Local businesses need to have accurate and consistent citations if they hope to even land in search engine’s search results. If you have inaccurate information online, there is a good chance that your business will be practically invisible to search engines, and ultimately – users.
Some guidelines for accuracy and optimizations of your citation
The most important element of any NAP is its accuracy. Every listing you are on has to have at least the same name, address, and phone number. Also, your address shouldn’t be location-specific. We know that this can sound contradictory, so here’s an explanation through an example.
Let’s imagine you have a business that is in two towns. And let’s name your business “John’s Coffee”. If you want to have a good citation for your business, “John’s Coffee” should be listed for both locations, and not “John’s Coffe town A” and “John’s Coffee town B”. You should have only one listing per location, and outdated info should be removed or updated.
Of course, your citations can include information that is not only an address, name, and phone number. Citations can include websites, the category of a business, email, images, hours, taglines, reviews, descriptions, and so on.
How can you optimize your citation?
So, how can you optimize your citations? Let’s explore that so you can continue with citation cleanup if needed on time.
You need to claim profiles
Social media platforms review websites and local directories for businesses need to allow businesses to claim their business listings. Some listings even offer businesses to secure URLs that include the name and other info.
By claiming and verifying these citations, your business will have more control over the information provided online to users. This, in turn, boosts your credibility online.
Your citations need to be accurate
As we said, ensuring the accuracy and consistency of online listings takes time and attention to detail. However, if you keep your citations structured and accurate, you can make search engines associate your business with relevant local searches. Also, searchers will be provided with accurate information, which is the end goal.
Optimize your listing
Of course, your citations begin with your name, address, and phone number (NAP). The majority of online listings allow businesses to add more info. Here are some of the most effective improvements you can do to optimize your citations:
- It is always a good idea to have images of your business. Pictures will make users trust your business more. No one wants to randomly head to a location they have no idea how it looks like. Also, you can add pictures with your staff and services with compelling visual elements.
- Make sure to add your business hours. Also, make sure to keep it updated to let your potential customers know about holidays, and if something unexpected happens.
- One of the best tricks is to add business descriptions that include relevant keywords and brand terms. They can be optimized with links to your website and profiles to your social media profiles. This will make your business stand out a little bit more. For example, you can connect your Google My Business profile with that.
- Add tags and categories. They help the categorization of your business on listings.
- Provide map location. It will complement your business address nicely.
- Enable reviews and comments. Customers love when they can engage with a business, and reviews and comments will definitely help with the accuracy and optimizations of your citation.