How to Get High Quality Citations for Local SEO

Written by: Jason Bayless | August 26, 2014

For SEO beginners, the more you learn, the more you discover you still need to learn. Case in point: If you’ve been working on your Local SEO campaign, you’ve probably read that high quality citations are a must for good local search rankings. But what is a citation, and how do you go about getting the good ones?

Web citations, defined

Anytime another website mentions your company’s NAP data (business name, address and phone number), that’s a citation. Some in the SEO world also consider a mention to be a citation if it’s only your business name and phone number with area code, or your business name with a link to your website.

But mostly, a citation means your full set of NAP data. And the more legitimate citations you have on the Internet, the better it is for your local SEO.

Who needs citations?

Citations are important for any business with a local presence. As a matter of fact, they are even important for those businesses that get very little of their business from a website — such as electricians, plumbers and mechanics, who get a lot of business through word of mouth and may not even have their own website.

That’s because if Google sees that business’s NAP data in enough citations, it will know to include that business in local search results when users search for a local plumber or electrician.

But if you do have a website and rely on it for conversions, it’s all the more important that you do your part to get more citations — and good ones at that.

Citation building strategies and tips for SMBs

There are a lot of ways that local small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) can earn citations — and it’s not all about seeking inclusion in as many directories as possible, although that is a starting point:

  • Make sure your NAP data is consistent in all the directories and other citations where you’re already listed.
  • Use (Moz Local) to submit your NAP data to multiple directories. It’s not free, but the current price of $49/year per location is not much to pay compared to the time you’d have to spend submitting lots of listings to the major data aggregators yourself.