Where To Get Citations For Local SEO

If you haven’t heard, local SEO is taking over. More than 20 percent of Google searches are for a local business. That number doubles on mobile devices, and it’s starting to show in the SERPs. When was the last time you searched and got only the traditional 10 organic listings? SERPs are being inundated with images, videos, rich snippets and above all, local listings, and these are exactly where consumers are navigating to.

Recently captured eye-tracking data for Google searches found that users are gravitating toward the Google Places listings over the organic listings, whether it’s the 7-pack or mixed with natural listings, as noted by the heat map below.

 

Google likes to make things tricky, and since it’d be too easy to have the same algorithm for Google Places and organic listings, you’re playing in an entirely different ballgame with local SEO. It should go without saying that you need a Google Places page to get ranked in local listings. Once it’s set up and optimized with exact categories, pictures and videos, the real fun begins: getting citations.

Citations are for local SEO as what links are for natural listings. The more places your business information is listed consistently, the easier search engines can find your business, and the better your local rankings will be. So, where do you get those citations?

Join The Aggregators

People don’t just rely on search engines to find local businesses. There are hundreds of local directories that that people use to search, and you should get a page set up on each. Not only will it help your local SEO, but it also gives another way for people to find you. Each industry will have its own set of aggregators, and doing a search for “City + industry” will help you find your options.

Here’s a list of the biggest general ones that you need to be listed in:

  • Yelp
  • Superpages
  • City Search
  • Urban Spoon and OpenTable (for restaurants)
  • Yellow Pages
  • Angie’s List
  • Express Update USA (formally infoUSA)
  • Yahoo Local
  • Trip Advisor
  • Merchant Circle
  • Dex Knows
  • Insider Pages
  • Localeze
  • Shop City
  • Judy’s Book
  • Yellow Bot
  • Kudzo

Search For Your Competitors

You should always check to see what your competition is doing, and for local SEO, you want to find where they’re listed. Searching for their business name and phone number in quotation marks will bring you additional places that you can also list your business information.

Searching without the area code typically brings up more localized places. You can also search the business name with the address and city name. You’ll likely need to click through a couple of pages in Google since the first page will be results related to that business specifically.

Social Media & Local Blogs

Since social cues are becoming have become a major factor in your rankings, you shouldn’t miss the opportunity to have your complete contact information listed on each of your networks, including Facebook, LinkedIn, Foursquare, Google+ and the ever-growing number of other social networks.

Local bloggers also typically have a local business/vendors page that typically list places in their area. Searching for your city name + blog should be your first starting point.

You can also narrow down the results some by adding in your industry: If you’re a restaurant, search for city name + food blogs. Blogs.com and Networked Blogs are also good places to start looking for local blogs in your area.

Finally, search for the national blogs that have a local counter part. For example, The Knot has a local vendor database where you can put your business information if you provide any wedding services, like venues, catering, hair salons, florists, DJs, and transportation. Other options include Patch, The Business Journals, GalTime and BlogHer.

Local Directories & Newspapers

If people are looking for a local business, they don’t just look to search engines. Local newspapers and local directories are an easy way to grab a citation, and these typically have a higher value since they’re focused only on one area.

If you host events, submit them to your local newspapers’ calendar listing. Some local newspapers will also have a business listing database that you can submit your information to.

Search for “city name + business listings” and “city name + directory” to find more results. With these searches, you’ll likely also see PPC ads of additional places to get listed.

Again, putting in your industry will also narrow down results, and you can also just search for your industry, IE “dentist directories” or “Atlanta dentist listings.” And don’t forget your city’s chamber of commerce website.

Whitespark has also created a local citation finder that does much of the leg work for you — for a price, of course, but they do have limited free version available. The most important thing to remember is consistency is key. For example, if you have “Street” on your Places page, make sure it’s “Street”, not “St.”, across all citations as well.

These aren’t the only places to get citations, but they’re where you should start. Where else can you get citations?

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

Related Topics: All Things SEO Column | Beginner | Channel: SEO | How To | How To: SEO

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About The Author: is an experienced digital strategist, content developer and search marketer. She's currently the SEO Manager for The Home Depot and has previously worked agency-side for mid-sized business and Fortune 500 companies. She speaks regularly on digital strategy, content development and inbound marketing at conferences nationwide. Follow her on Twitter @erinever.

Connect with the author via: Email | Twitter | Google+ | LinkedIn



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  • http://themarketingfrenzy.com/ M.F.

    Very true. In addition, businesses that have positive reviews receive higher ranking on many of the local searches. So businesses with good products and customer service will be rewarded. Local searches is going to be very important for all SEO experts.

  • http://www.nigelkay.ca Nigel Kay

    Great Post. Local Search is becoming more important now that it dominates the results above the fold for geo-targeted searches ( “Location” modifier before or after keyword) as well as major local business categories without location modifiers.

    Citations and reviews are the main driving factors behind getting to the top of the Local Maps results. To add to this article, A citation is just your name address and phone number (NAP) listed on a webpage online. One trick I have used to easily drive more citations to my local clients is to add their name, address, and phone number at the footer of all their website’s pages. I then use the WhiteSpark Citation finder which is a great tool to save time. If you want to learn more i would recommend reading David Mihm’s blog on Local Search. http://www.davidmihm.com/

  • http://www.nickeubanks.com Nick Eubanks

    This is a great post. I recently found a really cool local SEO citation finder application built by the bright guys over at Whitespark, it’s definitely worth checking out. http://www.whitespark.ca/local-citation-finder/

  • http://www.technooyster.com Amol Gavali

    very very informative article erin, its like i was waiting for something like this……. we have many small clients in INDIA who makes more conversion by local listing than their normal listing.

  • Chris

    Great points on bringing actionable info to the evolving social local search landscape. Good list too.

    Nigel, great idea on the footer NAP info!

  • Pastizzi

    I did a small research on Google Places listings in the Czech Republic as a part of my master thesis and found out that the positive reviews do not have impact on the Google Places listings order – I think it makes sense as that prevents businesses from making fake negative reviews to their competitors.

    Another point – the consistency of the phone number across the internet is very important as well.

  • http://davidmichaelangelosilva.wordpress.com/ David M. Silva

    Too bad this blog post wasn’t local friendly. Most of the recommended sites are only available to U.S. businesses. Us Canadians are left out in the cold once again . . .

  • http://www.search-usability.com/ Shari Thurow

    Hi-

    With all due respect, please do not cite eye-tracking study as positive “evidence” to support your point of view, as that eye-tracking study was not conducted properly (not enough participants).

    http://searchengineland.com/eyetracking-seo-fad-fact-or-fiction-98799

    Since you cited that improperly conducted study, my immediate reaction, as a usability professional, was to discount your point of view. You don’t need that sort of reaction for credibility purposes. (Sorry SEL readers…I am a stickler for properly conducted usability tests.)

    Sometimes, usability is about overlooking the obvious. If the majority of a screen (in this case, a SERP) is comprised of local listings and graphic images are used judiciously to highlight those listings, AND the searcher clearly shows local intent, then it does add up to…well…the obvious.

    Good point Mr. Silva made about this being a US-centric article.

  • Herb Wolfe

    As someone that is just learning about internet marketing, I would like to make a suggestion. Parenthetical phrases can be used to quickly define the term or abbreviations, so as not to lose the reader. This may also be helpful to those already familiar with the term, but unsure of your intended use.

    Just some friendly advice.

    Great article. Although, I had to Google several terms just to keep up.

  • http://www.seo-translator.com Ramon Somoza

    Interesting post. The only criticism I have is that it is too “US-oriented”. For example, most of the aggregators are worthless outside the US… But the more generic advice does apply….

  • http://www.adviceinteractivegroup.com becole

    You can also use http://www.localsearchtool.org to check your local visibility. It shows everything you need to fix your local presence on the web. Try it out. it’s free.

  • http://newevolutiondesigns.com Tom

    Useful list of directories!

  • http://www.thebingoonline.com/ TBO

    it is a useful information I was thinking to add pages on the basis of city and state name on my website so that when some body in that state or city is searching for a bingo sites my site should come on top …what do you suggest it will help me alot..

  • http://www.eBizROI.com E.R.

    Great post Erin and Happy New Year! It is hard to undersate the importance of businesses claiming their Google Places listing. Local is becoming more important as Google attaches local intent to more searches where the 7-pack dominates the SERPs. Your points are dead on and the list of places to get profiles/listings on is a great starting point to get citations which are now more critical than ever. If businesses don’t have the time or internal reesources to perform these tasks, they should strongly consider hiring an agency or risk getting left behind. Broad smartphone and tablet adoption will accelerate local search importance. For new websites, the following information from SEOMoz is particularly helpful/relevant: http://www.seomoz.org/blog/an-seo-checklist-for-new-sites-whiteboard-friday .

  • http://www.debi-z.com Aviva B

    Non-US businesses don’t just have issues finding source citations; sometimes they have issues claiming their page. Even in Canada, I think it’s relatively easy to claim a Place Page as the owner. In some countries Google hasn’t enabled that yet, so you as business owner can find Place Pages that have been created for you – but can’t access or edit them. I wrote a blog post a while back about an experience we had with our client on this issue and how it recently resolved. http://www.debi-z.com/2011/06/20/how-do-i-claim-my-business-on-google/ (Start reading from the middle for these local non-US issues.)

  • http://www.elemenoweb.com E.D.

    Local search is definitely becoming more important. With our own mobile technology with us everywhere we go if you are not listing your business in these key locations you are missing out on potential business. It is amazing how it can sometimes be a challenge to get a business owner to realize this and get established in the local world. Those who wait will lose the race!

  • tammy

    Whitespark is an excellent resource. Thank you for letting me know about this! You just made my life so much easier!

 

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