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Local SEO Citations for Businesses

November 03, 2013 03:09:34 AM

Leading search engines have continued to give local businesses greater visibility when search queries are interpreted by search engine algorithms to have a local intent. One of the major ranking factors that these search engines use comes from interpreting citations found online. In the search engine optimization industry, professionals are quick to note that citations need not be linked and often reference the name of a business, their address and telephone number as these signals often point to a specific geographical area. Our web directory not only supports citations, but we have taken the steps necessary to give them greater impact by utilizing structured data for increased relevancy.

What are Local Citations Exactly?

As noted previously, local citations are any reference to a business and their geographic location. These citations are interpreted as signals by search engine algorithms and help to validate where a business is located and the market they serve. Even a reference to a telephone number can serve as a citation when the area code matches a geographic area. For this reason it is important to specify your local telephone number, when being cited, instead of an alternative toll free telephone number. All the other information contained within the complete citation should also be accurate and uniform across all websites where it may be published at.

Business Citation Example

Below is an example of a listing within our web directory that utilizes structured data to display the complete contact information for this organization that includes their name, address, telephone and facsimile numbers. Because this example citation is enclosed in structured data, search engines will not confuse the information as it is crawled and interpreted by their algorithms.

Business Listing Visualization

For this citation to benefit the listed organization, it must be accurately interpreted by the search engines. Thankfully Google has a structured data testing tool that can be used on any publicly accessible webpage to verify the presence of structured data. In the image below you will see that Google easily interprets each field of the citation.

Extracted Structured Data

How Do Our Editors Cite Businesses?

Our editors are instructed to look for the contact information of all commercial and non-profit submissions that are received. Even if this information was not supplied by the submitter, in the data fields visible in the picture below, our editors will add it to the listing as part of the review process. The easiest way to get cited in our web directory is to visit the category that best fits your business, click on the suggest site link at the top of the page and complete the optional organization contact details on our submission form.

Cited Data Fields

What are the SEO Benefits of Citations?

As we noted previously, anything that references the geographic location of a business can be very useful for SEO. When ranking signals are equal among competing businesses, the business with more citations will often have better search engine positions. Especially for local service providers, such as carpet layers, plumbers, electricians, etc., having accurate and high quality citations referencing their businesses can improve their positions within local search results. With improved positioning, an increase in sales is inevitable and often justifies the time and expense to acquire local citations.

Where to Get Citations At

If you are searching for sources for local citations, make sure that you have covered the basics first. The top three places to be cited at are listed below.

We hope that this page gives you a better idea of what SEO citations are and how they can benefit local businesses. With the resources noted directly above, along with a published business listing within our web directory, you should be well on your way to referencing your business online in such a way that helps search engines better interpret the locality that you serve.

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