Local Listings and Citations
  • 01 Apr 2024
  • 5 Minutes to read
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Local Listings and Citations

  • Dark
  • PDF

Article summary

What is a local citation or local listing?

Local citations, sometimes referred to as local listings, are listings of a business’s information online. As a local business owner, building these citations should be one of the starting points for expanding your visibility and authority online.

The information included in a local citation is primarily the business name, address, and phone number—also known as NAP data. A link to your website can also often be included, and this link naturally has SEO benefits.

Adding your business information to directories and other third-party websites will help consumers to find your business online. Doing so also serves to boost how authoritative and trustworthy Google considers your business to be—Read more on this in our SEO articles.

Citations can be free or paid - however, paying for a citation may or may not be more advantageous than utilizing a free listing option. It's also important to mention that these local citations can result in additional spam emails, as well as solicitation from the listing site to upgrade or enhance the listing. It's our professional opinion (from years of tracking data) that paying people additional money for a "feature" RARELY, if ever results in higher traffic numbers (that convert) and often times leads to a snowball billing cycle from the listing site (cough cough YEXT cough Yellow Pages cough). 

What are the core components of local citations?

NAP information is always the core component of local citations.

Local SEO citations might also feature:

  • website url;
  • operating hours;
  • business description/category;
  • directions;
  • company provided images;
  • links to social media profiles; and
  • contact email.

There may also be additional opportunities to add information depending on the site you are listing on.

For example, Manta allows businesses to feature NAP citations data, an ‘About’ section, website link, map directions, and opening hours. The site also offers separate tabs within the listing for additional contact information, details, and reviews. You can add your listing to Manta and get a feel for the process by clicking here.

Why are citations beneficial for local SEO?

Building local citations is beneficial for search engine optimization because it helps Google—and other search engines—to trust the accuracy of your business information and the authenticity of your business as a whole. Creating these listings enhances your position, and provides you a competitive edge over your competitors (which is why BookingTimes provides the key citations your competitors is listed on).  Remember, despite you being a real person with real ambition, millions of people spin up websites daily with no intention of running that business. The objective of search engines is to deliver relevant information to their users (i.e. your future client searching for your business) and it's imperative that they deliver accurate information, otherwise, people start using Duck Duck Go instead of Google. 

When Google crawls the web and sees that exactly the same information exists across a number of trusted websites, they lend additional relevance to the business being searched and in turn increase the amount of trust they have in the business. NAP citation consistency is therefore particularly important for enjoying the maximum SEO benefit of local citations. This means that your business name, address, and phone number must be accurate across all of the websites that contain your business listing.

Although links are great, local citations don't require the use of a link in order to have SEO advantages. Google can identify that your business has been mentioned through the presence of your NAP citations data, and this is enough to influence trust in your business and brand. 

Location Matters

If your business is mentioned on a website that is connected to your local area, then this is likely to be more valuable than a mention on a website with no local connection.

This is true of both the potential SEO value and also the potential for local residents to discover your business from this mention.

Stay Relevant to your Industry

Appearing on websites that are related to your industry or niche is helpful from an SEO perspective. This also helps to put your message in front of interested people.

For example, if you run a local driving school, and the local news paper talks about your services on its website, this could be more valuable than being referenced on a mom craft blog website across the country.

The Authority of the Domain

Website authority—or domain authority—is important to consider when determining the value of  citations.

If the website the citation appears on has a high domain authority, then this citation will likely be more valuable to you than one from a website with low domain authority. Domain Authority is a recognized and quantifiable signal of a website’s ability to be ranked in the great Googly eyes of the Google. In non techy terms - the Domain Authority represents the trust Google has put in a website to be accurate and authentic. Domain Authority is good, and it's shared across the web. (Think of it as a business reference from one business to another)

Moz toolbar is incredibly helpful for anyone who wishes to research citation sites and potential listings to determine their DA (Domain Authority). It's free to download and makes it a much faster process while doing your homework. 

What are the business benefits of building local listings?

Getting listed on business directories and third-party websites is generally free, making it a cost-effective way to boost awareness of your brand.

When customers search on Google for specific services, business directories will often feature in the results. Therefore, having a presence on these sites can help to put your business in front of more consumers. 

Additionally, a number of local business directory sites allow customers to leave reviews. Positive reviews can go a long way to bolstering your business reputation, so the more sites you can build these assets on, the better! Just be sure you're prepared to manage the reviews, both positive and negative - and commit yourself to responding. Even negative reviews can have a positive effect on your brand if they are handled well. (No one believes in a company with 332,423 5 star reviews.) 

Can I create local listings manually?

Yes! Of course you can. Many of the sites have free listing options. But, as with all things, there is a right way and a wrong way to do everything. 

Steps to making manual submissions:

  • Find all existing listings (to prevent duplication and correct errors)
  • Build a list of target sites (research DA and potential opportunities)
  • Research your competitors listings
  • Use Google to find Niche Sites (Search for industry relevant companies locally) 
  • Measure domain authority of comprised list of sites
  • Create your manual submissions
  • Manage your listings

Will you create listings for me?

Yep. This can be done via your marketing dashboard - please contact support@bookingtimes.com with any questions.

Do you have a list of good citations?

Sure do - Here

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