The answer to this question has changed over the last decade. It used to be any business citation was good, and the more you had, the higher your business ranked in Google Maps.
Today, the three most important types of local business citations to have are those on websites that relate to your city and state. Second, those on websites that relate to your industry, and third, those on the general business directories and social media websites that most businesses in your industry are listed on.
This article will explain the most important aspects of these three important types of local business citations. You might also be interested in reading my article: “Do Business Citations Impact Local Rankings?“. My video below teaches you how to build these local business citations!
As we get into the article, I want to explain the difference between an “unstructured” and a “structured citation. An unstructured is a mention of your (NAP) business name, address, and phone number in a text article. A structured citation is a listing of your NAP information as part of your business profile in a business directory or social media site. Both are important and powerful. Unstructured citations are the most powerful.
Okay, now let’s get into the rest of this article! Let’s talk about the business citations that every local business needs in order of importance!
Trusted Websites Relevant To Your City
The most important types of business citations are any you can get on trusted, established, city-relevant websites, such as SanAntonio.com in the above image. City relevance means websites focused on the city where your business is located.
These do not need to be related to your industry, just your city.
For example, look at the website I show in the above image! It is “SanAntonio.com,” and it has a city business directory on which local businesses can list themselves. Since this is a business directory, it is a “structured citation” that is locally relevant. Locally relevant structured citations are the most important structured citations to get if your city has them.
A locally relevant unstructured citation is even better than a locally relevant structured one. For example, if you could contact this website and get them to allow you to write an article for them on something about the city in exchange for them listing your business name, address, and phone number (and hopefully a link to your website) in the article.
Other examples of locally relevant websites would be the websites for a city magazine or association. Even if you had to pay for a structured or unstructured citation on one of these sites, getting the local relevance passed to your business website would be worth it.
A citation on your local chamber of commerce is an example of a powerful paid city-relevant structured citation. If your chamber will allow you to write an article for them where you can get an unstructured citation, that would be better yet!
Trusted Websites Relevant To Your Industry
Citations on trusted websites relevant to your industry are the second most important types of local business citations to get. Again, unstructured citations are even better than structured ones, but relevance is the most important, so structured, relevant citations are still really powerful.
For example, I show a dental industry business directory site created by the American Dental Association. If your industry has any industry business directories, you want to be listed in them. This really adds to your business EEAT, which stands for Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness, which can give you a ranking advantage over your competitors.
Other types of industry-relevant websites to be in would be industry magazines. You might offer to write articles for your industry magazines or even a blog related to your industry in exchange for an unstructured citation (and hopefully a link to your website) for writing the article.
Business Directory & Social Media Websites Typical For Your Industry
Search engines like Google look for patterns followed by most local businesses in a given industry nationwide as well as in each city. Doing the things that are the norm for your industry in your area helps give search engines confidence that you are a legitimate business.
One of these patterns search engines look for is what social media and business directory sites businesses from a given industry are typically in. For example, this dentist is listed on YP.com in the above image. You should be, too, if most of your competitors are in a specific social media platform or business directory.
You also want to get business citations on those websites because this will make the search engines trust you more. This is the third most important type of business citation for a local business.
So, how do you know what social media and business directory sites most of your competitors are in? Since most citations also include links to your website, analyzing your competitor’s backlinks can give you some good ideas of which ones to use.
Also, this link on Whitespark.ca is to a list that shows important citations to have by business category. This is not an extensive list. But I would look up your business category and be sure that you get a citation in each of those for your category.
Other Trusted Business Directory & Social Media Websites
Okay, we have gone over the three most important types of business citations, but there is a little more to know about this topic. With citations, the quality of the website your citation is on is more important than the quantity of citations you have. Most expert SEO professionals say you still want to have slightly more quality citations than your competitors.
So, after getting my clients all of the citations we discussed in the above sections of this article, I also get their citations on the websites listed on Brightlocal.com. These have backlinks, some do-follow, and some do-follow, but all are important high-quality citations that will benefit your local SEO ranking. I create listings in all of these for my local business clients.
Well, I hope that you learned something and found this article helpful. As far as local business citations are concerned, this article contains the important information that you need.
Thank you for reading all the way to the end of this article! If you did get some value from it, please share it on your social media websites and email it to business owners you know who might benefit from this information!