What Are Citations?
In short, a citation is a referral link to your website from another website. But the specific type of citations we’re talking about here are your ‘official’ business listings on search engines, directories, maps, review sites, social media, or any site that publishes your business’ name, address and phone number (NAP Data).
Search engine algorithms pick up on these references and use that information to help verify that it has the correct information, and to determine how and where you are going to show up in search results. If the search engine can verify your NAP data, and that you are credible, resourceful, and legitimate source of information and expertise in your industry, it will be more likely to recommend you to its users.
Citation Building is the manual or automated submission of business data to major aggregators, search engines, business directories, review sites, local maps, social media profiles, etc. During this process, new listings and profiles are established, and existing information will be updated or deleted if necessary. In some cases, citations are submitted and may require review and approval by the provider. But there are some tools out there to help you take control of your listings and make sure your business information stays current, accurate and consistent.
There are many factors that determine the quality of a citation. Below are some examples of different categories of citations and their level of authority.
These services aggregate and validate data from a number of sources (government records, telephone , utility, and other publicly available data.) and then distribute business data to hundreds of other sites, including major search engines and directories.
Core Search Engines
These search engines gather business data from the Data Aggregators, from crawling the web, and from user input.
Voice Search Assistants
Top Priority - Voice Search
Voice Search is changing the way consumers get their information, and it will soon revolutionize the digital marketing industry.
Maps / GPS
Top Priority - ONLINE NAVIGATION
More and more consumers are relying on navigation apps to get from point A to Point B. Whether they are refereed there by search engines, or used to perform the actual search, consumers turn to mobile navigation to find the nearest business that offers the products and services they are looking for.
Review Publishers & Social Media
Top Priority - Review Publishers & Social Media
Listings from these sites are a rich source of business data and are prominently displayed on major search engines, including Google. Consumers frequently use these sites to search for businesses, and to see their reviews before making purchase decisions.
Hyper-Local & Niche Directories
High Priority / Hyper Local & Niche Directories
These directories are more location based and/or industry-specific. Not only are they referred to by Google and other major search engines, consumers see them as a reliable source of information, and frequently turn to them to find a local professionals or specialty business.
Medium Priority / Prominent Directories
These directories, while lesser-known, do have respectable domain authority and moderate prominence in Google Search results.
Less Prominent Directories
LOW PRIORITY - Less Prominent Directories
These directories have lower domain authority and are less frequently used by consumers. However, listings on these sites may show up in search results, even if not on the first page.
My Local Services
Low Traffic Directories
NO priority - "off-the-wall" Directories
These websites have the lowest domain authority and little if any value for local SEO.
How Consistent, Complete & Accurate are Your Listings?
To find out what users see when they search for your business, use our business listings scanner powered by Yext.
For more information, see this article on how to identify quality citation sources.