Local Citations: The Ultimate Guide – All you need to know to dominate Local SEO!

What is a local citation?
A local citation is an online listing with the name, address and telephone number of a local company. Local citations can be displayed on yellow pages, on applications, and on social platforms. Local citations help users to discover local companies and can also influence the ranking of local search engines.
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What types of local citation are out there?
Critical local business data platforms - Local owners and retailers can create business directories on a wide range of local business data platforms to publish this type of data. Essential platforms are Google My Business, Acxiom, Localeze/Neustar and Infogroup. Popular social and auditing sites, such as Facebook and Yelp, can also create massive lists of local citations.

Geographical/industrial platforms - In addition to creating lists of local companies on leading local enterprise data platforms that serve all industries, your company may try to create specific local citations for one industry and one geographic area.

Additional local citations can be created or won in a variety of publications including blogs, news sites, applications, maps, government databases. You can develop these local citations consciously for your company, or just earn them from income and general interest or exchange of information.

All the above types of local citations can be developed using automated software (e.g. Moz Local), by filling in forms manually on local business platforms, or by other public relations/marketing methods on different platforms.

Local citations often appear without the company intervening. Local citations can be the result of aggregation and automated data flow from local business directories. For example, data on one page, may be transferred to another page. It is therefore particularly important that local companies retain control over the accuracy of their data so that inaccurate data can be identified and corrected to avoid loss of customers and revenues and negative effects on local search results.
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What are the components of a local citation?
The most crucial elements of a business directory are the name, address and telephone number (NAP) of the company and may also contain a link to a specific page of the company's website. Also, the local citations may contain the following elements:

  • Business Categories 
  • Working hours 
  • How to reach us 
  • Description of the activity 
  • Language 
  • Accepted payment methods 
  • Geographic coordinates 
  • Keywords 
  • Links to social platforms 
  • Email addresses 
  • Fax Numbers 
  • Alternative phone numbers 
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Why are local citations important for SEO?
As far as SEO is concerned, backlinks still remain the most important ranking factor. However, what many companies don't know is that local citations are incredibly important, even for local SEO. Although other link types may be more influential to Google's ranking algorithm, local citations are still considered to work. And even if there is no link to your site, you will still enjoy the benefits of a local citation.
Main reasons why local citations are essential for local SEO.
You are unlikely to see a big jump in rankings if you only use the local citations; however, you can dominate Seo's local competitors by using local citations in the SERPs correctly.
Reasons why Google likes to see local citations:
 Local citations show reliability, which is probably the most important reason why Google's algorithm takes it into account. Anyone can create a website and say they are an expert in a particular niche, but business directories can prove to search engines that the company really has added value.
This shows that you are part of a community that will significantly improve your ranking in local search engines. In this sense, please confirm to Google that you are real. So it's not only another validation strain but also a way to share the name of your business with the community that appreciates Google.
Smaller niches
Business directories work well for companies in a smaller niche that may not have a website. This is becoming increasingly rare these days, but small industries in small towns are sometimes still in the dark on Google! Local citations are very useful in these situations!
Increase consistency
The more Google sees that your business is online, the better your ranking will be. Local citations are an excellent proof that you are a reliable company.
It's a good idea to keep track of local citations now. Consider creating a Google warning for your business to receive an email every time your business is listed on the Internet. When it comes to local citations, just search for the company name and check the correctness of all information.
The name, address and telephone number (PAN) of your company must always match
It is vital that the company name, address and telephone number (NAP) are consistent in as many local citations as possible. Google regards these two addresses, for example, as entirely different places:

1st street 201 vs 201 1st street

If your company's information in local citations are not identical, search engines will be "confused" and do not know what information (in this case the physical address of the company) is correct. Because search engines only want to show users the best quality and information, this "mix-up" of inconsistent addresses on a variety of directory pages can prevent your business from appearing in local search results.

We recommend that you sit down and determine with your team:

  • What is the "official" name that will be included in local citations?
  • What is your address?
  • What is your phone number (better to use a prefix)?

NOTE: It is often best to see how Google lists your company's NAP information and uses this format for all other online directories. You should also check how your post office has provided your address to use this option. The primary goal is to ensure that your company's NAP information is consistent across as many popular business directories sites as possible to avoid confusion.
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How do you distinguish the high-quality local citations?
There are many high quality and reliable sites - but there are also many bad local citations that are not credible for search engines. Placing an ad in these "hatched" business directories may negatively affect your local search results.

One way is to download the Moz toolbar for Chrome:

Use the Moz-bar to find high-quality directory pages.

This tool allows you to view DA, PA and spam scores for each website you visit. You want to search for high DA & PA Websites with low spam scores.

The directory pages that appear on the first pages of Google search results are often high-quality local citations that you should focus on first.

In addition to online "general" lists, there are specific niche/subordinate pages where you should, if necessary, register your company. BrightLocal has recently published a list of more than a thousand pages of listings per niche, the quality of which has been verified
How many local citations does a local company need in order to rank?
The answer is straightforward: as many as possible. The more (high quality) local citations you have, the better. It can be a long and tedious process to get those business directories online, but at the end it will be worth it.
Overview of local citations
Local citations are publications of your primary data on the Internet. They influence the reach of potential customers by including them in the results of local search engines. Accurate local citations have a positive effect on reputation and revenue, while inaccurate citations distracts attention from these results. In short, local citations are a great way to build a foundation of links - especially for local businesses.