What exactly are “local citations”? How can they help us to improve our local SEO?

What exactly are “local citations”? How can they help us to improve our local SEO?

March 25, 2024

Written by: Ryan Walsh

Date: 25/03/2024

Imagine the potential success your business, no matter where in the UK it’s based, could achieve by appearing on Google’s first page. Envision your business prominently displayed in the Google Maps listings and associated with local keywords, such as “local plumbers”.

 

But how do you achieve this?

In the complex world of search engine optimisation, no magic lever will catapult your business onto the first page of Google. It requires a multifaceted approach, and a vital component of that, especially for local SEO, is building business citations.

Yes, setting up business citations can be time-consuming, and at times, it may feel like you’re going in circles as you enter the same information into different websites. But remember, patience and determination are vital to this process. As this article will explain, the effort you put into setting up business citations is crucial in improving your business’s local search engine optimisation.

Local SEO

The differences between the two main types of SEO.

SEO can be broadly divided into two main types: ‘organic’ and ‘local’. It’s common for SEO agencies to further divide these into local and national strategies, which is logical considering the different tactics involved in each.

When you think about Google’s results, you normally have Google Adwords or PPC at the top. So, this is the section where you have to pay Google (Alphabet) for your business to be shown there. Underneath, you usually have a big map with various businesses dotted on it if you have asked Google to find you a local company. Then, depending on the browser you are using, you may infinite scroll so that the results are in one massive long list, or it might be condensed to 10 businesses on the first page. These are called the organic results.

For local businesses, visibility in the map listing on Google My Business and the organic results is crucial. That’s why SEO agencies often ask businesses if they want to appear nationally or locally. If the focus is local, efforts must be concentrated on getting the company on the map and generating organic results.

If it’s national, then the effort must focus on national keywords.
Of course, some businesses also pay for Google Adwords to further enhance their visibility.

 

So, we want to improve our Local SEO- how do we build business citations?

A business citation is a mention of your business NAP, which is simply an abbreviation for the name of the business, business address, and business phone number. Now, if you have this information listed on, say, 25 websites, and it all matches the NAP information of your company website, this tells Google that this NAP is likely to be up to date because it all matches.

Here’s what’s essential when it comes to building business citations:

– All the business citations should match
– You should have Nap information on your website, which Googlebot can easily read
– You should have a Google My Business profile
– You should have a local phone number

 

Google E-EAT and business citations

Some SEO consultants believe that listing your website on, say, Trustpilot can gain you a business citation. However, current or previous customers can also leave business reviews. A favourable business review can help improve your business’s ” trustworthiness, ” a key component of Google E-EAT.

Google E-EAT is a very important part of search engine optimisation, so we have dedicated a whole article to it.

 

Are There Different Types of Citations?

Where can I build business citations?
So, we recommend using a tool like Moz Pro, Ahrefs, or Majestic, as these are fantastic SEO tools. Then, look at where your direct competitors in your area have been building business citations; you may find they have built them directly, such as Wales.Gov.

So, if that business, that direct competitor, is ranking right at the top of Google’s results, which we SEO companies call the SERPs, then you may wish to build this backlink and business citation, too.

Let’s say you run a plumbing business; you might want your business to rank number one on Google- so to do this, you need to see who is currently ranking number on Google- then the agency must ask themselves:

– Where have a build built business citations
– Where have they built backlinks
– How good is their content marketing?
– How good is the onsite SEO?
– How good is their technical SEO?

 

What is a structured citation?

So, a structured citation is your company’s NAP information perfectly replicated across many websites. For example, it could be replicated on Google My Business, Yelp, Yellow Pages, Facebook, Brownbook, etc. Yet, to build a structured citation, the citation must match precisely with the rest of your company’s NAP information.

Unstructured Citations

So, what exactly is an unstructured citation?

So, let Wales Online, a local newspaper here in Wales, say that you are a startup business and have started a new business selling luxury organic coffee all over the world. If your business is mentioned, and let’s say, your company address but not the phone number, this is still good for marketing and promoting your business.

We call it an unstructured business citation just because it doesn’t mention all your NAP; it mentions your business nap, and then, in part of the article on Wales Online, it might say your business address. This is still good for improving your company’s local SEO because Googlebot will index the mention of your business unstructured business citation, and this can still positively enhance your SEO if all the work is done in a white-hat way.

 

Where should we begin building business citations:

Google My Business

First things first, once you’ve had your website designed and the company NAP information is listed on there, create a Google My Business account. It might only take you, say, 30 minutes, yet when done right it can really help to improve your business’s local SEO. So, before you go ahead and start building business citations, creating a Google My Business account is the first thing we normally do if the business hasn’t already got an account.

  • Google Business Profile
  • Bing Places
  • Then, you can create an account on Bing Places.
  • Apple Business Connect
  • You can also create an account on Apple Business Connect.

 

We would create business pages on all the leading social media accounts, such as:

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • And X
  • Also, create business citations on

 

We would also recommend building business citations on:

  • Yelp
  • Brown Book
  • Local.com
  • 118 118
  • Foursquare
  • Wales Online
  • Yellow Pages
  • Wales.Gov

 

Consistent Data

What’s essential to improving a business’s local search engine optimisation and building business citations is that the business citations all match. The NAP information must be precisely the same; we recommend writing out all your company’s NAP information in a Word document; all you have to do then is copy and paste the information onto the website, such as Yellow Pages.

This helps you to save time but also, what it can do is, it helps to keep all of the NAP information consistent. Let’s say you are building 100 business citations in a week. Then, you are bound to get a bit tired, and when you are exhausted, you may make mistakes. You may not write the company phone correctly on a few business citations, which could cause SEO problems. This is why we recommend writing your business’s NAP information in a Microsoft Word document so you can copy and paste it onto Yelp, Yellow Pages, and Thomson.

However, there are some parts you should copy and paste! That must be the original.
You can copy and paste the NAP information across, as this all needs to be consistent and match. That’s your company’s name, address, and phone number. However, do not copy the same “business description” or any text to describe more of your business. In those fields, you must write a unique business description for every website your business cites.

Don’t copy and paste the same chunk of text to describe your business on every business citation, as this will not improve your company’s SEO. However, if the business description is unique on every website, it can improve your business’s SEO because Google doesn’t like duplicated text.

Google’s algorithms reward well-written text. If it’s duplicated text that you keep copying and pasting, this is likely to be deemed spam or low quality, and business citations may not help improve your SEO.

 

Come to the SEO experts.

We are one of the most knowledgeable and experienced SEO agencies in Wales. Businesses call us because we have expert SEO consultants who really know their stuff.
If you want to get your business onto Google’s page and hire one of the most knowledgeable SEO agencies, why not call us today?
 

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