What to know about Business Citations

A business citation is a mention of a local business on the Internet. The information listed varies from citation source to citation source, but commonly included items are:

  • company name
  • phone number
  • location address
  • website link
  • business hours
  • logo
  • photographs
  • a description of the business

There are literally thousands of places where there are business citations on the Internet. Some common types in the U.S. are data aggregators (e.g., Infogroup, Acxiom, Factual) that index millions of business located across United States. In turn, the data aggregators license or syndicate their data to most local search engines including google any Bing.

Other common types of business citation sources are local blogs, locally focus directory, and industry-focused directories for blog. For the latter, look for industry directories in your specific niche by searching “your industry” + directories.

You can also check to see where your top competitors are listed by “Googling” their names, and being sure you’ve claimed your listings there as well.

Here are 4 things to keep in mind when you’re claiming, editing, or adding your business listing:

  1. Be sure to keep your NAP consistent. What is NAP? Your business Name, Address and Phone number. Why is this important? Because Google may penalize you in their SERP algorithm if your NPA is not consistent across citations.
  2. Keep account logins. Most business directories will require you to set up a free account to verify and verify your relationship to the business. Be sure to keep the log your login for each of the business listing this is important did you need to go in and update your listing at a future time.
  3. Be sure to optimize your listing information. What this means: within the constraints that the specific business listing has, and be sure you take it vantage of what they are they allow you to live. For example in the description of you better be sure you use keywords that people would probably use to look for business. Use attractive pictures. Keep your information up-to-date and accurate. If it includes reviews, be sure to read them and respond to them professionally, both pop to pop positive and negative feedback.
  4. Be sure to add a link to your website if allowed.  This is a great opportunity to add a backlink to your site and help your site’s SEO.

While it is not difficult to claim your business citation, it can be consuming by the sheer number of them. Focus on the top ones for your area. The chart below shows the top citation sources for Los Angeles, provided by Moz.

Top Citation Sources in L.A.

And you can also hire someone to do this for you. Be sure they know what they’re doing, how to optimize the listing, and are reputable. A few years back, we ran a test with a low cost provider who promised hundreds of links. We found they had added links from some questionable sites (e,g. New Dehli escort service). Also be sure before you engage in any of the services, that should you cancel your subscription with them (many do have ongoing fees), that you will be able to get access to your listings after your service with them has been terminated.

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