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Why citations are important to build an effective SEO?

People are confusing between traditional SEO and local SEO. Both SEO has the same goal that trying to get a high rank on the search engine result page. In Local SEO, you are focusing less on link-building and more on citations. 

Citations are one of the key ranking factors for local search. 

The citation refers to any mention of your business across the web with the goal of ultimately improve the rank on local search results. 

In this article, we are going to discuss,

What are citations?
Types of citations
Why citations are important for SEO?
Tips for building citations

What are Citations?

A citation is an online reference to your business’s name, address, and phone number of a business commonly known as NAP, and sometimes a link to a website. They typically appear on business directories, websites, apps, and social platforms. Sometimes, a citation that does not include all three of these and that referred to as a partial citation. 

These citations can increase the visibility of a physical business. Citations help people to discover local businesses through search, based on proximity.

If you have more accurate and relevant citations means you have a higher chance to rank on local search results. Do you know? According to Bright Local, 90% of experts believe accurate citations are important for local search rankings.

On the other hand, If a business has inconsistent listings for a single location, these listings are considered duplicate and it will negatively impact your local ranking as well. According to Bright Local, 80% of consumers lose trust in local businesses if they see incorrect or inconsistent contact details or business names online

Complete citation apart from NAP

Email-id - You can provide an email id that the customers can use for queries.

Timing – It is the hours of operation of your business.

Pricing - Giving the pricing of the various products of your business. This will help your customer can decide which product to buy.

Photos – You can provide pictures to attract customers.

Links - Make sure that the link you provide directs the user to your actual business page. Avoid using those links that refer you or redirect you to the landing page.

Coupons – You can also provide special discount coupons on your products. it will help you to attract more customers.

Types of citations

In general, Citations are divided into two categories structured and unstructured.

Structured

These citations must always contain an accurate name, address, and phone number of a business.  Sometimes additional information like ratings and reviews, hours of operations, pricing are also provided.

This information is represented in the form of structured data. Directory listings and social media profiles are the best examples of structured citation. The structured data helps Google to crawl the data and display the information as rich snippets along with website names.

Unstructured

An unstructured citation is any mention of a business that isn’t on a standardized directory. Common examples where you’ll find unstructured citations are blog posts, wikis, Forum posts, and Press Mentions. This kind of citation can help boost local branding for business.

Citations can be in various forms. For example

  • Company name
  • Company’s phone number.
  • Company’s address.
  • Company name & phone number.
  • Company name, phone number, & address.
  • Company name, phone number, address, & website.
  • Company name & website.

A citation is an online reference to your business name, address and phone number commonly known as NAP.

 Top 10 Citations sites

Alternative citation sources

Directories are good sources to get citations. Not only directories some alternatives are also there.

You can use the following mediums for citations

  • Press releases
  • News articles
  • Blog posts
  • Question and answer sites
  • Image and video descriptions
  • Profile pages on social media websites
  • Forum signatures

Reasons why citations are important for SEO?

As I mentioned above, Citations are one of the key factors and it will help search engines to determine where to rank your site amongst the competition.  Citations help search engines to verify the trustworthiness, legitimacy of your business. 

A business that is mentioned more on the Internet deserves a better ranking. Citations increase awareness about your business among people. It will help more people reach you online. 

Listing your business on the prominent national and local sites will help you to create authority, establish trust, and will improve your rank in local search results.

Verification & Trust

Citations help search engines to verify the business's existence. When multiple sources have the same accurate information about your business, it signals to search engines that your business is legitimate.

Citations show validity. A citation can prove to search engines like Google that the company is actually valuable.

Strengthens consistency

Citations are a great way to prove yourself to search engines that you are a solid company. 

It’s important that your business listings are consistent across directories so that search engines and people can find the correct information about your business.

If a business has accurate citation listings across many relevant and trusted websites, then Google can be more confident in displaying a company’s information to users

Citations Build Credibility & Authority

The main reason we incorporate citations is to build credibility. By citing your sources, you prove that you have researched existing information and multiple viewpoints. That will help you to build credibility among your readers. People want credibility and authority.

Citations are like a roadmap to your sources. Citations can also guide your readers to get more information about your topic.

What Is More Important - Quality or Quantity

The quantity depends on your competitors. The quality depends on a number of factors. Building lots of citations may spread awareness about your business online. If you have quantity without quality, you will be far behind in search engine positions. Low-quality citations may damage your reputation. First, focus on the quality and then move on to the volume.

Tips for building citations

  • Your Name, Address, and Phone Number should be the same on every site. Consistency is important
  • Make sure to use your complete address including unit number if it applies.
  • A business description with your top keyword can help to improve your local rankings. It can help search engines to understand your business as well.
  • You need an email address for creating listings. Use a business email address that is associated with your company domain and not a generic Gmail or Yahoo address.
  • Category Selection – choose the category that describes what your business is.
  • Add as much detail as possible – Add photos, your logo, your pricing, your timings, and links to your social accounts
  • Adding photos of your business may help you rank in image searches and it also helps to improve customer conversion rates 
  • Most sites will require you to verify your listing. This can be via email or phone verification. The company will call your business and give you a pin number to enter to claim your listing. It will help you to build trust. Verified listings have more authority.
  • Don’t forget to respond to reviews,
  • Keep your listings updated.
  • Create Google My Business for Business local listings.
  • Search for your business in Google to find your existing citations.
  • Clean up existing citations before you begin creating new citations.
  • There are hundreds of sites for adding business listings. Don’t just add a citation to every site out there because many are not worth your time and effort. Go for the prominent sites and data aggregators.
  • Use schema markup to identify your important data for search engines.
  • Keep track of your citations. Remove duplicate citations.

Related Post: Tips to improve local search rankings

Never underestimate the value of citations. Accurate citations positively impact rankings and reputation. Spend your time cleaning up inaccurate information. We recommend reviewing citations every two to three months to ensure information remains current.

Rajanarthagi
Rajanarthagi

Content writer and Marketer

An enthusiastic SEO expert, passion for digital marketing with two years of expertise in writing Digital Marketing and SEO content. She is a Master of Business Administration graduate from a reputed university in south India. Her passion for SEO and online marketing helps her to stay up to date with the trends and strategies. Follow her on social media sites, to stay up to date with SEO, and Digital Marketing, Updates. To contact Raji, visit the contact page.

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