Is There A Difference Between Good Citations and Bad Citations?

Before we start talking about the difference between good citations and bad citations we should cover our basics first! They are one of the most important factors of your SEO campaign. They are the ones telling Google that you are who you say you are. In short terms – they are here to tell Google that you are trustworthy and they shouldn’t look past you like they do with sketchy blogs and such. So, obviously, they are pretty important. Not all citations are the same. There are bad ones and good ones (pretty much like everything else in our lives). The right ones can help you a lot and bad ones can hurt your SEO. That is something you need to avoid and our AZ Citation Services experts will help you. So let’s get started now.

How do good ones look like?

Citations work like references but for your business. Each time your business name, address, or any other detail like phone number are listed in the business directory – that is a citation. They are here to show Google directories and other site trusts so Google can recommend it to their users. If you have a lot of good citations you will be ranked better on Google (especially Google Maps) and that is something you want and need of course. They need to be accurate! That is the most important part.

So, all information about all aspects of your business needs to be up to date! Every time you make some change like if you relocate your business, or change the phone number you must update your citations. That is important for Google but also for your customers. You simply can’t send them to an old address. That can hurt your business.

seo sign
This is a very important plan for your SEO campaign.

Difference between good citations and bad citations

Did you know that you can be penalized for having bad citations? Yes, Google knows what high-quality content is, and is not very kind when it comes to making mistakes. For example, you must show the same information everywhere. If you have some containing the old address and some the new one when Google cross-references and notices that – you can get penalized. Google always recognizes inconsistencies and reacts! It’s also very important that your business’s NAP is always the same. In every citation. That is the main difference between good citations and bad citations.

Make sure to have complete citations

These are some things that also makes difference between a good citation and a bad citation. You need to make sure that they are complete. They need to include the name, address, and phone number of your business. If they do not have all that they are called partial citations. Partial citations are also bad for your SEO. Bonus tip – if you have the option make sure to include a link to your website also! The more information about your business the better.

word game
Make sure that everything is complete.

Structured and Unstructured citations

If you hire an SEO expert to help you out with your campaigns they will tell you that there are two types of citations: structured and unstructured ones. Structured ones will contain your NAP on a business directory. Examples include Yelp, Yellow Pages, MapQuest, Google Maps, Facebook, and such. The unstructured ones are basically citations anywhere else— any site that is not a business directory. For example, blogs, magazines, and newspaper sites, or such. You need both! People sometimes assume that unstructured is the same as bad ones but this is not the case. They are just different and both can be useful in your campaign. That’s why it’s smart to hire SEO experts to help you out.

Hiring SEO experts

Since we mentioned hiring SEO experts let’s see how they can help you. It’s perfectly normal that you need help when handling a website. You can’t know everything and it’s important to have a good website in every line of business. SEO has many aspects and even though it’s not hard to learn more about it there is simply a lot to know and some things are so easily overlooked. For example, people often forget the importance of image SEO and that can be harmful. That’s why if you have a big website and want it to grow even bigger and better you hire an SEO expert. Depending on your budget and needs you can have an in-house SEO expert or you can outsource one. This is something to think about.

hiring experts to tell you the difference between good citations and bad citations
Hiring experts can mean a lot to your business. Your SEO game will improve a lot surely.

The number game

One thing we still haven’t covered in the number game. People often wonder things like “how many do I need” and that is a valid question. Even though it’s hard to answer this we will say that having 10 citations can be very good for your business. In fact, you will be in the top 25% of the most cited work worldwide. This is something you definitely need to talk about with your SEO expert.

Rules of citation

Even though it’s not hard to tell the difference between good citations and bad citations rules are sometimes iffy. So here are some you should know :

  • citations need to be double spaced
  • indent after the first line of each entry
  • entries are not numbered
  • make sure to alphabetize – do it by the first word of the entry
  • in case there is no author is listed, begin with the title
  • use italics for titles of books
  • for database sources, use the permalink as the URL

Those are just some basics that you need to know and from here you can continue your research further on.


Hopefully, we helped you to see the difference between good citations and bad citations. Also that we covered all the basics you need to know in order to improve your SEO game. Still, we recommend hiring experts when help is needed! Goodbye and good luck.

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