There are many places on the internet where you can find information about various businesses. Basically, search engines take these inputs and evaluate their validity. Then, classify and sort all of them out and display them in their SERPs. In most cases, these pieces of information that contain some basic business references are called citations. They are essential parts of SEO with the purpose to build an online presence in the local market. As such, they hold a great current and potential value for local businesses. To increase your chance to rank high among the local competition, you need to think about where to submit them. Besides large platforms like Google, it’s important to discover citation sources in other places as well.
Ways to discover citation sources and platforms
As we said above, citations are important, especially for small local businesses. In order to rank well, you need to focus on citation building. And the easiest way to do it is to look for professional citation building services. Besides that they will help you promote your business, you won’t have to search for relevant websites by yourself. First, before we explain how to discover citation sources, let’s what they are.
What are the citations?
They are every mention of your business on the internet. However, those mentions need to include three crucial pieces of information we refer to as NAP:
- Name of the business
- Phone number
On the other hand, citations can, and should, contain additional information as well. For example, description, products, business hours, images, ratings, etc.
Tools that can help you with citations
Just like with your links, you need to track your citations. You need to make sure all your citations are consistent and accurate. Otherwise, it won’t benefit you if the information provided is different on every platform. But, when you have business citations all over the internet, it can be hard to track them all. Fortunately, there are many useful tools you can use to get the job done. Here are some of the most common tools you can use:
- Moz Local
- Local SEO Checklist
Also, the majority of these tools can help you optimize your citation listing on major sources like Google My Business, Yelp, Bing, and others.
Discovering citation sources
In essence, you can start with top directories and platforms we already pointed out. Then, you can move to others. First, check the best, and most used, sources in your local search ecosystem and submit there. Again, don’t forget about consistency since it’s really a crucial detail. After that, monitor the results and check for any mistakes if the results are not satisfying. One thing is important here to understand. Not all sources are the same, and not each of them has the same value. So, here is how to discover citation sources and platforms that matter the most.
Google Search is your friend
The majority of searches worldwide are done on Google. And usually, the same goes for local searches. With that in mind, this should be your first step. Check the most popular local business listings in your area. Start with the large directories like Yellow Pages, and work your way from top to bottom. Then, check for listing in your city. If there are local business listings, popular in your city, submit there. Finally, you need to check what your competition is doing. If you know businesses in your niche that rank well, find where they are submitting. In essence, there are many tools you can use to “spy” on your competition. But, Google is definitely a good choice.
Find structured citations
Overall, there are some mayor directories every business owner should submit its data to. They are popular within consumers and bear a great amount of credibility. Simply put, people trust them. In order to get the attention of your targeted audience, you shouldn’t miss the opportunity to list there.
A few examples of those that should be a part of your citation building strategy are:
- Yahoo! Local
Find industry niche platforms
Citations are often categorized by the industry. So you should focus on finding those relevant to your field. When you are in the group with other big players, that definitely gives you credibility. A few examples of the industry-specific sources:
- Google My Business
- Verified Movers
Data aggregators are companies with a huge database of various businesses. Since most of them verify business information you should include them in your plans. The three major data aggregators are Infogroup, Factual, and Localeze. Acxiom was the fourth, but since January 2020, Acxiom is no longer acting as one. Also, you can find different data aggregators in different countries, like YPG in Canada. On the whole, you need to be sure to include correct business information to avoid duplicates of false information. And, to monitor and update your info regularly.
This is one type of the source many business owners often miss. Usually, many countries hold government databases for different purposes, including local businesses. They might have high requirements before you are allowed to list, but it’s worth it. Remember, you need to build the credibility and authority of your business. For this reason, government databases are perfect. For example, the Chamber.nyc where you can find the business directory. Or Chambers.com, similar to government websites where you can find all types of chambers in the USA and several other countries.
Finally, when you want to discover citation sources to get listed on, don’t forget your target audience. Most likely, they will not all search for companies in the same places. Build your citations where you can assume they will search for them. Equally important, check where your competition is listing. See where they are building their citations and use the same platforms. Chances are, you can always miss something and you can use them as a reminder. With this, you will increase your traffic, ranking, and get more potential customers.