What are citations?
Citations are mentions of your business on third-party websites such as local directories, review sites or other online sources other than your own website. A citation can be anything that is indicative of your business even just a phone number. However, in this post we will focus on citations which offer a complete indication of your business data known as “structured citations”. A structured citation source provides data in a form that is easy for search engines to discover, classify and index.
N.A.P. Data As a Ranking Factor
A citation acts rather like evidence that your business exists (name), where it is located (address) and a method of contact (phone number) that can readily be associated with your business. This “evidence” is used by search engines to identify your business and to consider its placement in Local Search Results. NAP data, derived from a broad list of authoritative sources, increases trust (reliability) and can then be included in the factors that determine placement in the results. Therefore it is imperative that the information provided be 100% consistent and accurate throughout the local citation ecosystem.
We consider the following citation sources to be among the most important not only for their individual authority but because they also act as data feed sources to search engines as well as other directories. These data aggregators “drip down” information to other directories and provide fresh data to search engines. Inaccurate or inconsistent NAP information can hurt your local rankings.
This is by no means a complete list. There are quite literally tens of thousands of global, national and hyper-local citation sources.There are also many niche, or industry specific directories that can help to improve your local SEO efforts. For instance , auto dealers could also include sites like Autotrader.com, Cars.com, Carsforsales.com, usedcars.com and motortrend.com to help build a relevant citation list.
Where Are You Now?
You can start with a free tool from Moz.com. This will give you a quick view of citations you have or need to claim along with other helpful insights like inconsistent information and duplicate sites in the internet.
We can also provide a complete list of your active citations, their authority and value as well as a list of potential citations. Contact us using the form or call (612) 940-9396 to request a citation audit of your business.