Matthew Laurin

Citations for Local SEO

citationIf you want to get found online, it’s all about enhancing your presence and dominating the first page of search engine results.  Configuring your website to do this is great but there is also a lot of work to be done off-site.  Local citations are an excellent way to expand your presence online without a lot of added expense.  They build authority, signal to internet users that you are a part of a community and are a source of links to your website.

What are Local Citations?

If you’ve never heard of a citation before, it is basically a mention of your business name on some other website.  These mentions may be business listings or structured in some other way.  They might contain links to the company’s website or other information about the business.

Some of the most common sites include yellowpages.com, superpages.com, Google Places, Bing Business Listings and Foursquare.com.  Even social media properties could be seen as providing citations.

The Benefits of Local Citations

Each time there is information about your business placed on a website, it increases the chances of that business being found in search.  This is especially true for authoritative sites like Mapquest, Yellowpages.com or Superpages.  These sites have a lot of authority because they are very helpful for users looking for information about local businesses.

Many times business owners can also provide a link to their website in a business profile.  The good companies also offer areas where users can place URLs to social media, keywords related to their business and other marketing features.

Citations on local listing sites provide a certain amount of authority and sense of community for the people using them.  When they can see that a business is listed on an authoritative site, they are more trusting of it.  People often search for objective information online to verify that their choices are correct.  This is exactly what business listing sites provide for users.

Citation Providers

There are dozens and dozens of business listing and citation based websites out there.  Filling out all of them or even a majority of them can be a daunting task.  If you have it in your marketing budget, you can turn to one of the third party citation companies to populate listings for you.

Some of the best companies that provide this service include:

  • Bright Local
  • Yext
  • Moz Local
  • CityGrid

The way it works with all of them is pretty simple.  You fill out one profile on the service’s interface which includes name, address, phone, URL, social profile URLs, images, videos, payment methods, parking availability, keywords, products/services offered, etc.

That information is then disseminated to major data aggregators and other business listing services for publication.  The main benefit of these services is that you can get a lot done in a short period of time and the information remains consistent across lots of different websites.

yextYext

Yext is a leader in this space and the service works pretty well.  You have to sign up for a year of subscription service billed up front and the price is per location.  Yext distributes your information to hundreds of different websites and some of the premium plans even offer review monitoring services.

Yext also has an analytics interface that you can use to track profile views and website clicks.  The data they distribute is also pretty comprehensive.

Of all the services out there that perform local citation work, Yext is at the higher end of the scale in terms of price.  As with any service, you should check out reviews before you commit.

brightlocalBright Local

This service has a lot of the same features as Yext but it is tailored much more toward the marketing and SEO crowd.   The thing I like about Bright Local is its emphasis on reputation management online and dominating the local scene.

Local citations are important but so is user generated content and your overall presence online.   It’s similarly priced to Yext however you don’t have to buy a full year up front.  You can also get review management with the basic account, some cool reporting and a badge for your site.

citygridCityGrid

This citation service doesn’t have its core focus on local citations but it does a good job.  If you want something that will provide consistent results and is easy to use, CityGrid has a pretty good service.  They are however at the higher end of the spectrum.

I think that is mostly due to the fact that they are more of an online marketing service than just a citation company.  For example you can get phone tracking and some social media management tools along with the citation service.

moz-localMoz Local

Moz just got into this space.  For many years Moz was an SEO agency (formerly SEO Moz).  They started developing SEO tools and other software and officially made the jump to a company that focused on delivering software solutions.

Now they have this Moz Local thing and it is great for those who are just starting out with citation based work.  The service is incredibly reasonable compared to the counterparts out there.  At around 50 bucks per year per location, you can get data pushed to the major aggregators.  That’s a steal if you ask me!

Citations remain an important component of local SEO.  It’s really all about getting your brand out there and being in as many places as you can be at once.

What services do you use to build local citations?  Any that aren’t mentioned on this list?  Join in the conversation by commenting below.



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