A local business citation is simply any time a local business’s name, address, and phone number (NAP) information is listed anywhere online. If it is in a social media or directory listing profile, it is called a “structured listing.” If it is in article content, such as a blog article, it is called an “unstructured listing.”
A good way to find your structured local business citations is to search for your business name along with your city and state in Google. The search results within the first 5 or 6 pages will include your website and many of the indexed social media and business directory profiles in which your business is listed. For a more complete list of your structured local business citations, you can use a service like BrightLocal.com.
In this article, I will detail these two ways to find your local business citations. You might also wish to read these related articles: “Why Are Business Citations Important?” and “Is Having A Lot Of Business Citations Good?“.
Doing A Google Search To Find Citations
If you look at the above image, you will see that I did a search for “dallas, tx delta bail bonds.” It would be even better to first search with the business name, such as “Delta Bail Bonds Dallas TX.”
When you go to Google and type in your local business name and the city and state of the location you are concerned with, the search results will typically show your business website and then the various social media and business directory profile pages in which your business is listed.
It will also list other websites as well, websites that are not your directory listings. But for the most part, it should be your structured citations.
I recommend opening up a spreadsheet and listing each structured citation you see listed. Go through at least the first 5 or 6 pages of search results or until the pages no longer show any of your local business citations.
Finding Citations With Tracking Tools
The above images show the tool on BrightLocal.com, where you can search the internet for your structured citations, and it provides the basic NAP information from each one so that you can verify where you have inconsistencies you need to correct. It also shows you the important structured listings in which your business is not listed.
Then, it gives you links to each site, so you can go to the site to make the corrections or create citations as needed.
There are other tools besides BrightLocal.com, such as Whitespark, Moz & Yext. I just prefer BrightLocal.com because I think it is the biggest bang for the buck. That being said, Moz and Whitespark’s tools are great, too.
I am not a fan of Yext because they design their system, so you have to stay with them to keep your listings on the sites they have agreements with. It is expensive, and they have a forced monopoly on the sites they get you listed on. And you don’t need to be on the sites they list you on either. It would be nice, but not necessary.
So there you have it; pretty simple. Remember, having local business citations is necessary to rank in the Google Maps 3 pack. However, having them, even lots, won’t get you in the 3-pack.
And the quality is more important than the quantity. The most important citations are the directories and social media sites that show up in the local business search when you search for your main products or services locally.
I recommend people go to this list on BrightLocal.com and get their business profiles set up on each of these websites relevant to their industry. Then, get in as many local city directories as possible.