What is Citation Building, And Why is It Important for SEO?

Citation building is the process of acquiring online mentions or citations of a business’s name, address, phone number, and other relevant information across various websites. These citations serve as references to the business and can be found on platforms such as business directories, review sites, local chambers of commerce, and other online listings.

For SEO (Search Engine Optimization), citation building is important for several reasons:

Local SEO

Citations play a crucial role in local SEO. Search engines use these references to verify and validate the legitimacy of a business. Consistent and accurate citations help search engines understand the reliability and relevance of a business in a specific location.

Local Pack Rankings

The local pack is the set of local business listings that appear in the search results, typically accompanied by a map. Proper citation building can improve a business’s chances of appearing in the local pack for relevant searches, increasing visibility to potential customers.

Trust and Authority

Search engines consider the number and quality of citations when determining a website’s authority. Businesses with a strong online presence, reflected in as many consistent and accurate citations as possible, are often seen as more trustworthy and authoritative by search engines. Remember that thorough listings are just as important as the number or listings. Whenever possible, fill in as many forms as you can in a particular citation. 

Organic Customer Discovery

Citations not only help search engines understand a business’s relevance but also serve as additional channels for customers to discover the business. When potential customers find consistent information about a business across various platforms, they are more likely to trust and engage with that business.

Backlink Opportunities

Citations often include a link to the business’s website. While these are usually nofollow links (which don’t directly impact search engine rankings), they can still contribute to a diverse backlink profile, which is a positive signal for search engines.

Start Building Your Citations

So, where do you list your site? There are a ton of options, but if you only had one, it should be your Google My Business profile. Start there, and make sure you fill out everything you can, including business hours, products, categories of service, etc. You will also want to do the same with Bing Places for Business. 

Claim Your Spot in Review Directories

Next, focus on a couple review platforms. Customers read an average of six reviews before making a choice, so it  is a great idea to claim your space on places like Yelp, TripAdvisor, ZoomInfo, Better Business Bureau and Angi. 

Make a Facebook Page

Create and maintain a company facebook page with your contact information and the ability to follow and review your page. While you’re at it, make a LinkedIn company page with your NAP and other credentials. 

Join a Local Chamber of Commerce

In addition to garnering local support from like-minded business owners, you’ll often be listed in their site directory. Yet another place where your contact information can be viewed. 

Don’t Forget to Update Your Citations!

It is a good idea to keep a record of where you have listed your business’ NAP. Periodically review your listings for accuracy, and absolutely update your listings if you have a change of contact information. Inaccurate or inconsistent citations can lead to confusion or distrust among customers and web crawlers alike. No bueno for SEO. 

In summary, citation building is a critical component of local SEO strategies. It enhances a business’s online visibility, builds trust with search engines, and increases the chances of being discovered by potential customers, especially in local searches.

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