Why Are Business Citations Important?

Business Director Citations

First, I want to say that while business citations done properly are still a very important part of local SEO, they are not as important as they once were. It used to be that all you had to do was be in more business directories than your competitors, and you would beat them in the Google Maps pack.

Business Citations are now important in Local SEO because they help search engines verify that your website’s NAP information (business name, address, and phone number) and GBP (Google Business Profile) are correct. They also reassure search engines that your business is real and not fraudulent. This is why the most important citations would be those on the websites search engines trust most.

In this article, I will first clarify exactly what a business citation is, why it is important to search engines, and how citations help search engines verify a business’s legitimacy. To learn how to do business citations correctly, you might also want to read these two articles: “How to Build Local Citations – A Complete Guide!” and “How Do I Find My Local Business Citations?“.

What Is A Local Business Citation?

Textual Business Citation

A lot of people get really confused about exactly what a business citation is. Many think it just means a listing in a business directory website.

But a business citation is any listing of a business’s NAP information online. It could be like in the above image, which just mentions a business’s NAP information in this Bail Bondsman Of America blog.

Usually, the easiest business citations to get are by filling out your business profile in the most trusted local business directories and social media websites.

But if you can get a local or industry website, like a local city or industry magazine website, to list your NAP information textually in an article on their website, that is a really credible and powerful citation. If they then link to your website, it also becomes a highly powerful and relevant backlink!

Why Are Business Citations Important To Google?

Lawyers Dallas Texas Google Maps Pack

When Google scans the internet and finds a new business website, they do not know the NAP information is correct. Why do they care?

Well, they care a lot if they will show your business as a listing in Google Maps, especially if they are considering showing it in the Google Maps 3 pack.

Can you imagine finding a business in Google Maps that you wanted to visit, and then when you clicked on the directions button and went to where Google says the business is located, you could not find the business?

If this happened very often, would you keep using Google Maps? Probably not. The same thing is true if you dialed a business phone number, you got out of Google Maps, and it was a wrong number. You would start not to trust the information in Google Maps.

So Google wants to verify that the information you put in your Google Business Profile (GBP) and website is accurate. To do this, it scans the internet for other mentions of your NAP information that it finds around the internet.

The more consistent it finds your NAP information as it is listed around the internet, the more it trusts that it has accurate information.

How Do Citations Help Establish Business Legitimacy?

Off Site Local Business SEO 5

Let’s say you have a financial company in Dallas, Texas, for example. Have there ever been financial companies that have been a scam before in American history? Of course, I bet you can think of a few right off the top of your head.

So if Google is trying only to show the most credible financial companies in the Dallas local searches, how can it tell?

What if Google ran across an article in a very prestigious online financial magazine that listed the NAP information of your Dallas financial company? Would this affect how credible Google thought your business was? Of course, it would.

Just a mention of a business’s NAP information, even without a link, tells Google that the prestigious financial magazine trusts your financial business enough to mention it. That is powerful in Google’s eyes. And a link to your local business website along with the NAP mention is even better.

The same is true to a lesser degree, with your NAP information being listed in directory sites like Yelp.com, Bing.com/maps, or BBB.org. The more reputable business directories do their best to keep their information up-to-date and accurate.

So, if Google finds your NAP information listed in a very consistent way in a bunch of trusted business directory sites, it will have more confidence that your business is legitimate.

Final Thoughts

The bottom line is search engines like Google want to not only provide the information its searchers are looking for when they do a search, but they want to do their best to provide the most accurate information they can.

A search engine only makes money if people use it to do searches. And the more people use that search engine, the more money they make. The key to getting more people to use your search engine is to be the best at finding the most specific, best, and most accurate information that each searcher is looking for when they do a search.


When I was first introduced to the local SEO industry, I took a job working for a company that did it nationally. To my surprise I eventually learned that the company I was working for had no idea what they were doing. As I began to take various local SEO courses to try to help my clients, I also learned that most courses didn't teach methods that actually worked. Fortunately, over the years, I was able to find some that did know what they were doing and over the last decade or so, have had great success getting my business clients on the first page of Google locally, even in competitive niches and markets. The purpose of this website is to teach any local business owner, or employee, how to do their own local SEO so that they can get their own websites in the Google Maps 3 Pack, and on the first page in the regular organic listings as well.

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