Citation Building Strategies
When looking at the Local Search Ranking Factors, citation are one of the most important factors for local businesses to rank and be found online. There are a lot of lists of citation directories and tools to help you find citations ( I personally use WhiteSpark which is an amazing tool).
I created this list because when I was looking for citation building strategies I would find a few here & there, but never a complete list. my goal is to create and maintain a complete list of citation building strategies.
If you have a strategy that I missed or would like me to elaborate on a specific strategy fully in a blog post let me know in the comments.
- Sponsorship Citations
- Current Relationships
- Relationships To Build
- Event Citations
- Social Citations
- Job Citations
- Creative Citations
- Competitor Citations
It is common for businesses to support and sponsor events, charities, and local organizations. The following are sponsorship ideas that will work for any industry.
Sponsor Charity Websites
Charity Event Profile
Sponsor Local Meetups
Sponsor A Student
Look For Sponsorship Opportunities
There are literally hundreds of different sponsorship opportunities available in every community. A few to get you started:
- Sponsor a little league team
- Sponsor a pet shelter
- Sponsor a food kitchen
As a business owner you already have lots of relationships that you can leverage to get citations or your business.
What products do you sell?
If you sell products, a lot of manufacturers have their own website where they list all of their vendor locations. Make sure you are listed. If not, it’s easy to do:
- Make a list of all the products you carry
- Check the manufacturer sites for the opportunity to get listed
- If they list locations to buy, send them an email requesting your site to be added
- Enjoy the easy citations
Testimonials & Reviews
As a business you naturally have connections with a lot of other businesses. For the connections that you rave about to your friends, why not check and see if you can give a testimonial or review for that connection in exchange for a business citation. There are lots of opportunities here, the following is a list of businesses you’ve possibly used and could get citations for leaving a testimonial or review.
- Travel Agency
- Company Photographer
- IT Services
- Contractors (Plumbing, Remodel, A/C)
- Office Cleaners
- Office Landscaping
- Happy Hour Restaurants
You likely have relationships that you don’t even know about. Find people who have mentioned or talked about your business and find ways to work with them.
- Google Search – “Company Name” -site:yourdomain.com
- Check reference visits in your analytics
- Ahrefs – finds sites that are linking or recently mentioned your website.
Associations & Organizations
Are you apart of any local or industry organizations? Do these organizations have websites that list their members? Double check these sites to make sure you are listed.
- Local Only – Chamber of Commerce
- Local & Industry – AZDG.org (Arizona Dental Association)
- Industry Only – FDIworldental.org (World Dental Association)
Your own employees can be a great way to gain citations for your business. Ask if they would include the business in their online bios.
- Social network profiles (Linkedin, Facebook, Google+)
- Organizations they support or work for
- Speaking at events
Friends & Family
Relationships To Build
The internet is a BIG place! There are a lot of experts, niches, and communities that your business could connect and tailor too. Look at the following places to find niches for you to grow your business online.
Connect with the media
Reporters across the nation are always looking for experts to quote and cite in their articles. Answer their questions to get a great citation is a win/win. Here are a couple of ways to find reporters looking for:1) HARO (Help A Reporter Out) is a website where reporters send out requests for expert sources. Sign up for a free account and get emailed when someone is looking for an expert in your field.2) Watch Reporter Hashtags on Twitter – As mentioned earlier a lot of reporters are on Twitter and use it to find sources for articles to cite. Some of the popular hash tags to follow are:
Find Local Bloggers
A great way to find local bloggers is to do a backlink analysis of local sites to see which bloggers cover them. Try and get a feeling of what topics they like to cover and if you think they would cover your business with the right pitch, then reach out and pitch them.
Examples: Websites to check backlinks of:
- local media
- local government
Resource: Ahrefs – To check backlinks of your competitors. Free & Paid Versions.
Build A Complimentary Business Group
A complimentary business group is when you connect with businesses that do not offer the same services or products, but have the same customers. You then refer your clients to them when they are need of their services, and they will do the same for you. You can take this online by getting listed on these websites as a “recommended vendor”.
Example: of a complimentary business group
- Wedding Planner
- Wedding Photographer
- Food Caterer
- Florist all work together
There are several different organizations that help those who have limitations. If your company can help people with specific limitations connect and get cited in their network.
Does your office speak several languages or focus on helping people from a specific country? Be sure to connect with the organizations around that language, country, and culture.
- Language associations
- Country associations
- Media outlets for that language
Participating in events is a huge opportunity to get earn high value citations from those in your industry and local community. The great thing about event citation building is that, if done right, you get other people to build the citations for you! They spread the word on social networks, industry publications, and personal blogs.
Rent Out Your Space
If your business has a space large enough to hold an event it could be used for any of the following reasons:
- Blogger meetups
- Industry parties
- Support groups
- Workshops / Seminars
- Speed dating
- Community cook off, garage sale, job fair
- “Pop Up” stores for local based vendors & start ups
Become A Local Post
Hosting or running an event can take a lot of time or effort. You can also leverage gaining citations off of other peoples activities by becoming a “local post” for them. For example allowing a local charity to use your office as a collection center for their food drive.
- Food drive drop off
- Pick up tickets for a fundraiser
- Sell or pick up Girl Scout cookies
- Use your parking lot for a car wash fundraiser
Leverage Other Peoples Space
If you do not have your own space to use, you can leverage somebody else’s! Find a space to borrow or rent (usually for cheap) and when you book it your event and business citation can go on their online event calendar. These are powerful citations that can boost your business listing and your competition usually won’t get.
- Schools & Colleges
- Shared Work Spaces
- Community Centers
Be An Event Resource
If you have a huge event coming to your town why not create a resource to get attention and citations to your business? This could be done by creating a map outlining the course route, a collection of helpful event links, or open your doors to attendees and offer to help them get around your city.
Capture Event Attendees
Social Citation Building
Social media can be important for connecting and gaining customers. It can also be a good way to gain citations for your local business.
Claim & set up your social profiles
Make sure to claim and fill out your social profiles. Especially if those profiles are popular with your target customer.
Reward your online fans
Integrate special badges or provide a local guide of places in Foursquare. Offering checkin deals at your locations in Foursquare can encourage interaction activity at your location, too.
If you are looking to hire new employees there are a lot of citation opportunities.
Job Board sites
There are a lot of online job boards! Depending on your budget and the position you are trying to fill you might want to use national job board sites or industry specific job boards.
Free Online Classifieds
If you don’t have a budget there are some free online marketing advertising. Because they are free may have some disadvantages, but they are free.
Local Newspaper Classifieds
Offer Student Internships
Discounts For Citations
People love getting discounts and entire websites are dedicated to finding and aggregating them. This section we’ll be going over how to use discounts to gain citations for you business.
If you have a special discount for students this can often get your business cited on the schools website.
- Free dessert for good report cards
- Discount pricing for students
Seniors discounts are a popular niche that if you have any kind of incentives for this group you can get listed in those directories.
People love using coupons and getting deals on products. In fact there are entire websites dedicated to finding and aggregating coupons. If your site offers any kind of coupon be sure to get them listed here on these sites.
Local Business Coupons
It is crazy what people will do to get something for free! If your business has something that they can give away for free it’s a good strategy to get a lot of citations.
Creative Citation Building
I tried to think of every kind of strategy to get your business more citations. Here are some of the more creative strategies.
Tell the history
Is your business located in an old building? See if you can create official documentation to have the building declared a historically significant place and then submit your location to historic place registers, state tour, and industry specific tour websites. Once your address is listed on these sites, other sites will pick up the data and refer to your place by address, improving your business profile. This strategy alone could gain you hundreds of address citations!
Install a webcam
Install a webcam at your place of business so customers can check things like weather, lines, or live events. Having a webcam can get you listed in a number of local and national webcam directories which will cite your business as the source of the webcam.
Find images about your business like the company sign, pictures of your food, or images of your products or models. Then reach out to those people that are using your images and ask them to cite your business.
Share your wifi
Provide free Wi-Fi service at your business. As a free Wi-Fi hotspot, it qualifies to be listed in a number of hotspot location directories. Also be sure to include that your business provides free wifi when submitting to business directories because those directories optimize for those search terms.
Geo Caching is the recreational activity of hunting and finding hidden objects by the means of GPS coordinates posted on a website. You can simply create a geo cache at your business and then get the citations from these sites. Geo Cachers can come any day at anytime so don’t put it somewhere that won’t work off hours.
Kickstart your ideas
Are you expecting on launching a new product, business, or idea? You might want to use a crowdsourcing to try and get other people to fund your idea. These sites also can be a good citation for your company. I suggest finding the best crowdsourcing platform for you and then use it. I would not suggest “launching” your project on all of the different platforms.
Have 3rd Party Vendors?
Do you have 3rd party vendors or items at your business? You should try to get cited on the vendors website and also look for directories for that specific niche.
Examples & Resources:
- Vending Machines
- Cell Towers
Getting Competitors Citations
The best way to find what is working in your industry is to find what is working for your competitors.
Finding Competitors Citations
Check the backlinks & NAP of your competition for citation opportunities.
Examples: You can simply use Google and the following search queries to find competitors citations:
- Cityname + Competitor name
- Competitor Address -site:competitordomain.com
- Competitor Telephone -site:competitordomain.com
- Ahrefs – finds sites that are linking or recently mentioned your competitors website.
Another way to find competitors citations is from people using their images. Could be their logo, badge they created, or coupon. Use the following resources to see where the competition was citied and see if your business could be cited as well.
What Else You Got?
I’ve worked hard to make this the most comprehensive list of citation strategies on the Web, and I want to keep it that way! If you have citation building strategies that I missed please let me know and I’ll be glad to add them and cite you as the source of the awesome strategy.