Simply put, a local citation is the mention of your company name, address and phone (referred to as NAP) on another website.
When it comes to Local SEO, citations are very important.
Scroll a little further for a brief explanation and example.
Since Google began back in 1998 incoming links have been a very important factor in their search ranking algorithms.
However, when it comes to your Google Business Listing, most websites won’t link to it. That’s where citations come in.
Part of the local search algorithms for Google, Bing and the other search engines account for these citations much like an incoming link but they are establishing trust factors.
Here’s an example.
Company ABC has their Google and Bing business listings set up at 123 Main Street in Georgetown, Texas. Company XYZ has their Google and Bing business listings set up at 456 Austin Avenue in Georgetown, Texas.
Company ABC has about 50 citations on other websites that match the information in their business listings and 20 that have old or incorrect information.
Company XYZ has about 300 citations on other websites that match the information in their business listings and just 10 that have old or incorrect information.
Based on this information, Company XYZ will very likely rank better in local search.
There are many, many more factors that go into ranking well in local search.
If you’d like to swim to the deep end of the pool and learn a lot more about local citations check out this article from Darren Shaw over at Whitespark.
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