Citations and Local Search Marketing for Small Businesses

What Are Citations?

Years ago, homes across the United States received a thick, paperback version of citations each year on the doorstep. Some of those citation books were used faithfully while others leveled out a wobbly bookcase. Any ideas yet?

Traditionally Yellow Pages was the leader in citations, but in the age of digital information, citations can are among many online sources. Citations online are any mention of a business, with or without a link to a website. It can be as simple as the company name or as complete as a listing with the company name, phone number, address, and link to the website. A complete citation will have the name, address, and phone number.

Since a citation can be as basic as your company name, it can still have an impact on your search engine ranking ability. Any mention of your business on another website means attention is created for you and exposed to potential customers. The more citations you have, the better your website will rank in searches and where you’re located for geography. Citations help Google determine how active you are in a particular city versus a neighboring city with a similar business. This is beneficial to businesses in less competitive niches where many businesses may not have websites.



A 2015 list by HubSpot outlined the top 50 local business directories online, but for the sake of brevity, these are the top 10:

  • Google
  • Bing
  • Yahoo!
  • Yelp
  • Facebook
  • Better Business Bureau
  • Angie’s List
  • Merchant Circle
  • LinkedIn

Local Search is Offsite SEO

For a quick review, offsite SEO is accomplished from sources other than your website. When your business receives mention from all ends of the Internet, Google and other search engines see it as an authority figure in your industry. Most local searches receive their information from your direct submissions, but some cull from other listings already filled out. With that in mind, any time you fill out a local search citation, make sure it’s completed in its entirety. Many local directories take into account how complete a listing is when deciding what to rank where in results.

Other factors that weigh into offsite SEO include the use of photos or videos in citations and the consistency in the format across directories.

You’re Ranked, but How Did You Get There?

Ever step back and wonder how you arrived someplace? This happens to small businesses who seemingly overnight find their local search ranking has shot upward. Though the factors for the rankings change each year, Local SEO Guide worked with the University of California Irvine to find out what the prominent factors for 2016 were. Their study looked at more than 100 factors across 30,000 businesses.

What was found was surprising, but not really. Links are more often than not the deciding factor in competitive rank, while how developed your website weighs in also. For developed, we mean the nuts and bolts of keyword usage and the words on page. Relevant, well-written location pages still matter, but so does the word count. Citations as a whole have become so common they weigh less into a ranking, but not nearly as much as a citation’s consistency in formatting. The study did find a correlation between having reviews, photos, and an owner verified site and having a high local search ranking.

Give Your Small Business A Jumpstart

Looking for the best bang for your buck as a small business is understandable. Citations and local searches are one of the best ways to get started on that journey. Elevare offers several packages to fit your budget, such as the basic essential 6 and premium 15. Contact us to find out more and get started with the best entry level marketing your business needs to have.


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