Local Citations and How They Affect SEO

For any brick-and-mortar business, listing your name, address, and phone number on your website goes without saying. It is extremely important that your current and potential customers be able to find you, after all. This information is known as a structured citation in the world of SEO (Search Engine Optimization). While it may seem like a no-brainer to simply list it on your site, it has more than just the obvious benefits.

What is a local citation?

A local citation is any listing of your business’ information. Itcan include any of the following:

  • Name
  • Phone Number
  • Address

Or any combination of the above. Unless the citation as all of the items listed above, it’s considered a partial citation.

They come in two flavors: structured and unstructured. A structured citation is one that is found on a directory website such as Yelp, Superpages, or Yellowpages. Potential customers search for your company via keywords with the end goal of finding your company’s contact information. Local search engines, such as local.com, also rely heavily on structured citations.

An unstructured citation is one that is found on blogs, affiliate websites, event websites, and newspaper websites, to name a few. These listings will have your company’s name and information listed together and available for a search engine to index.

SEO word print

How do citations help my website?

When you list your business with the major yellow pages and review websites, make sure you provide a link to your website. One of SEO’s Best Practices is to increase backlinks to your website as much as possible. Major search engines, like Google, Bing, and Yahoo!, use them as a way of determining the value of your site and thus its standing on the SERPs (Search Engine Results Page).  

The citation itself, structured or unstructured, provides value in and of itself. If your business is running a local event, make sure it’s listed on local newspaper sites with your company’s name, address, and phone number. The more all of this information appears together, the stronger it appears to the search engines. Voila, the higher you rank in the SERPs.