A business citation is simply a mention of your business’ Name, Address or Phone Number. This is often referred to as your business’ “NAP”.
Business citations play a strong role in local search engine optimization (“SEO”) and how well your website ranks. But, citations are even more important in helping your Google My Business listing rank within the local “3-Pack” results on Google and ranking highly on Google Maps.
Screenshot of Google’s First Page
So, in the above image you’ll notice the GREEN (Local 3-Pack) section and the BLUE (Organic Results) sections. Having quality local citations (mentions of your NAP) will contribute to how well you rank in both of these sections…but, is most important for the local 3-pack (green) section.
The local 3-pack and also Google Maps listings are both search results displaying your Google My Business listing. This is not your actual website. So, in order for you to show up in the 3-pack or on Google Maps you must have a Google My Business listing. These are very easy to setup (click here to setup your Google My Business listing). It’s important that you complete the listing fully, select the correct business category (Hint: see what the other top ranked businesses in your market are listed as) and ensure you have the correct NAP (Name, Address, Phone) for your business.
Now that you have your Google My Business listing, it’s time to get some citations…but, before we begin there’s one more thing we need to discuss.
In order for citations to HELP your rankings it is important that your NAP of each citation matches your Google My Business listing. If the NAP of a citation does not match your Google listing, then it can actually harm your rankings instead of helping. So, make sure you copy/paste your NAP or use a tool like RoboForm or LastPass to autofill forms. Using a tool to save all your business information and autofill forms will save A LOT of time over doing the whole process manually.
Now let’s see WHERE we should get these citations from…
Where do you get these local citations?
Google finds these local citations in a lot of places. First, they obviously find your NAP (Name, Address, Phone) on your website. Next they’ll check all your social media pages/accounts for your NAP. So, make sure that you have your CORRECT NAP on your website. If you have only one location, I’d recommend you place your NAP in your website’s footer of every webpage. If you have multiple locations, you’ll want your CORRECT NAP on the page for each specific location. Also, ensure you have your NAP on every social media page/profile you have for your business.
Where else can you get citations?
The most common place to receive local citations are local business directories, phone directories, local review sites, etc. But, before you go out and list your business in every directory you can find…each citation source is not created equal. The more authority/power a citation site has, the more ranking benefit it will provide you. So, I’d recommend you start with the higher authority sites and work your way down to lower authority sites. Since each site takes about the same amount of time to add your business to, this will be the best use of your time.
Below I’ve listed my top 21 local citation sources for local Canadian businesses. They are listed in order of importance based on each site’s Domain Authority. Domain Authority (“DA”) is a metric from Moz.com that estimates the authority (power) of a website.
Did I miss any of your favourite citation sources? If so, leave a comment below!