Local citations are any online mentions of a company's name, address, and telephone number (NAP). These citations can be found in business directories, websites, and applications such as Yelp or Yellow Pages. A local citation is any online mention of the partial or full name, address, and telephone number of a local business, also known as NAP data. Citations help people discover local businesses and can also affect local search engine rankings.
Specifically, having high-quality basic citations can help you to accurately position yourself in Google's local search interfaces. The fact that your company appears in reliable online directories sends signals to Google to increase its certainty that your business exists. Google's local algorithm analyzes your NAP information as a sign of relevance and proof that you're a legitimate local company and that you're actually at the address listed in your Google My Business profile. If your business appears on a website that is connected to your local area, this is likely to be more valuable than a mention on a website without a local connection. Creating local citations is beneficial for SEO because it helps Google and other search engines to trust the authenticity of your business and the accuracy of your information. This reality of how the web works makes it especially important for local companies to control the accuracy of their data, so that inaccurate data is discovered and corrected, which prevents the loss of customers, the loss of revenues, and any negative impact on local search rankings. There have been several independent studies that have shown that having a consistent NAP list can be a factor for local SEO.
However, for local SEO, the SEO community generally agrees that the following citations are “must-haves”. Therefore, the consistency of NAP citations is particularly important to enjoy the maximum SEO benefit of local citations. You can increase your local SEO visibility with easy directory distribution, review management, listing updates, and more. This applies both to the potential value of SEO and to the possibility for local residents to discover your business from this mention. Although links are great, a local citation doesn't need to link to your company's website for it to have SEO advantages.
While unstructured citations aren't as obvious to search engines as structured variety, they're valuable for local SEO.