What Is A Citation?
A citation is when you have your business name, address, or phone number listed online. Any of your business information is considered a citation and does not need to link to your website.
The “NAP” Citation
The most common way local business citations are presented are in the NAP format, which stands for Name, Address, and Phone. It is really important that your information be consistent across the web. Although search engines are getting better at understanding that “st” is the same as “street” in an address. You should strive to make sure your address is exactly the same across the web.
Business citations do not require to be in NAP format but it is the most common when it comes to local directories as you can see in the YellowPages.com listing below.
Why Are Citations Important For Local Businesses?
These citations are important for helping search engines like Google & Bing find and rank businesses online. Citations are one of the major local ranking factors for businesses the more quality citations you have the better. There are several factors that go into a quality citation. Lets say we were building citations for an ice cream shop in Phoenix Arizona.
Quality Citation Factors
I will found examples of the different citation factors for an ice cream shop in Phoenix Arizona.
- Relevance of the citation source to your business niche
- Relevance to the location of your business
- Example: Top 10 shops for ice cream, gelato, and treats in metro Phoenix this is an Arizona newspaper site.
- General authority of the citation source:
- Example: Yelp an authoritative site has a list of Phoenix ice cream parlors
Citations VS Links
Citations = When your business information is referenced online.
Links = When someone links from their website to yours.
In this YellowPages.com listing you can see that they are in fact linking to the website. Citations & links are both ranking factors to help your business to rank better in search results.
Common Citation Problems
Their are several ways that a citation can be incorrect. The most common citation problems you will find are:
- Old addresses and phone numbers being indexed
- Typos or incorrect names
- Duplicate directory listings