What are SEO citations?

An SEO citation is a reference to your business’s name, address and phone number. This can also be referred to as your NAP. Similar to backlinks, search engine giants such as Google, Bing and Yahoo! use these citations to verify your business and online authority. Unlike backlinks, a direct link to your website isn’t required (although is preferred). Just your NAP details in plain text will be fine.

Consistency is key when generating citations. Keeping the same format for each of your listings is important as any variation or conflicting information will potentially have a negative impact. So work out if you’re called Business Limited, Business LTD or Business ltd or if your phone number starts with +44 or not – make sure you stick to it. Inconsistencies are penalised!

Why are citations important?

Along with reviews, citations are a primary factor of search engines evaluating your business and where to rank it. If your business or website is listed with the same information in several reliable places, Search Engines (Like Google) will have more confidence in your company.

If you distribute your NAP across several reliable websites, not only will you see an increase in your rankings but also in general exposure. This exposure means more people will see your website, Name, Address & Phone Number. The more people who see it, the more people who will contact you! It’s that simple.

How to get citations

It’s a common misconception that you can only get citations from directories. As long as you remember this point, you’ll easily outrank your competitors.

Don’t restrict yourself to directories. I’m not anti-directories by any means in fact directories are a very good place to start but, when you’ve exhausted the list of reliable websites we need to look elsewhere.

Citations can come in the form of Press Releases, Articles & Guest Posts, Question & Answer Sites, Image & Video Descriptions, Profile Pages and Forum Signatures. The list of websites you can use to build your citations is almost endless.

Where to get citations

The list of websites that can be used to generate citations is huge! So huge that I cannot post it here but what I will do is provide you with the top 20 websites for citations. Remember, always use the same information. This could be down to spacing in your phone number or if you have a dot after Ltd. or LTD.

www.yelp.co.uk
www.yell.com
www.foursquare.com
www.facebook.com
www.bingplaces.com
www.192.com
www.scoot.co.uk
www.thomsonlocal.com
www.hotfrog.co.uk
www.opendi.co.uk
www.cylex-uk.co.uk
www.118.com
www.freeindex.co.uk
www.directory.independent.co.uk
www.directory.thesun.co.uk
www.touchlocal.co.uk
www.uksmallbusinessdirectory.co.uk
www.citylocal.co.uk
www.cityvisitor.co.uk
www.infobel.com

Final thoughts

Citations, used alongside other SEO techniques, is an effective method for generating website traffic along with phone enquiries. In my experience of building SEO for both local and national websites, citations prove their weight in gold for long-term optimisation.

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