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Local Citations and Their Importance for SEO

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Citations in 2022 are different to citations in the 90s. Well, they’re different and the same.

If you were a business operating in the 90s or earlier, being in the phone book or any other local directory was likely really important for your business. It made you visible to potential customers who wanted a service that you offered.

Well, the same logic applies in 2022 but the directories have changed. No more phonebook*, welcome to the web!

Learn more about how directories work in the present day and if and how they are important to your organic performance online from our Liverpool SEO team.

*No offence to any people that remain loyal to physical phonebooks!

What are local citations?

Online local citations are the evolution of offline citations that you would find in phonebooks and other directories. They are listings that include business name, address, phone number, and industry.

Two of the biggest directories that are similar to the old-school versions are Yelp and Yell (formerly known as the Yellow Pages!).

However, these days the most important directories are actually search engines themselves, as well as sites like Facebook. That’s because they have the most traffic and are usually the first places that someone will go to search for a business.

Are local citations beneficial for SEO?

As is usually the case with SEO – this is up for debate! The general consensus now is that certain citations are beneficial for certain types of businesses. Let us explain.

Only a few years ago, it was thought that citations were incredibly important. You wanted to be on as many directories as possible to be sure that you were sending Google sufficient signals that you were a trusted source.

Unfortunately, this practice was subject to spam from black-hat SEOs and naughty business owners alike. People without legitimate businesses could just create citations to their desired page and it would boost their organic presence.

So understandably Google has reduced the importance of directory links in the algorithm over the course of multiple updates, even going as far as penalising the SEO results of businesses that abuse links from directories.

However, at the end of the day citations are still an external link to your site. So relevant links from a trusted, authoritative directory can still be beneficial for businesses. That’s why the current best practice is to be listed on the best local directories if you are a local business.

Aside from SEO, there’s the whole point of what directories were for in the first place: helping customers find your business!

How to get citations

There are a number of ways that you can get listed on directories, and the best practice for this will depend on what directory you are going for at the time.

Claim citations yourself

Claiming citations yourself is the best way to get the big citations like those on Google Business Profile, Bing Places for Business, and Facebook.

You will have to fill in all of your information accurately yourself, as well as verify your listing if you are creating profiles on Google and Bing. To do this you’ll either need to receive a letter in the post to your business address or receive a code over the phone.

These citations are all very important, not just to SEO but also to your business as a whole. Take care when selecting your images and listing your categories because you want to be as accurate and as appealing to customers as possible. And make sure you use the right address!

Use an aggregator

For all other directories across the web, you can use a data aggregator to file citations on your behalf.

All you need to do is provide an aggregator with your details and they will scour the web and claim citations for you.

While this process is efficient and speedy, we don’t generally recommend you use an aggregator for your local SEO citations. They may be using low-quality directories that are irrelevant to your business.

If you still want to be listed in a relevant local directory or the big names like Yelp or Yell, then you should probably just take a few minutes to do this for yourself.

SEO tips and advice from Blaze Media

And that’s the latest on citations and online directories for SEO. If you are looking to get started on working on SEO for your business, then check out some of our other blogs on topics like meta descriptions and SEO Chrome extensions.

And if you’re ready to get serious with your business, then get in touch with us here at Blaze Media and we can schedule a call to let you know how we can help!

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