When your business is mentioned online, like a link from a directory, a review website, on social media, or in an article mentioning the business by name, you get what’s called a citation.
However, if your brand name is listed in a local business directory, such as or Google Business Profile, you get a local citation.
Overall, local citations are a bit more powerful, especially from a local SEO point of view, as they help to increase your brand’s visibility in local search results.
Overall, the main purpose of a citation (local or general) is to drive online traffic to a business’s website, foot traffic to its brick-and-mortar stores, and help increase sales overall.
However, in order to use the power of local citations to increase brand awareness, you must be consistent. Otherwise, all your efforts may turn against you.
Therefore, today we’ll talk about the impact local citations have on your local SEO and why consistency matters so much.
The Main Benefit Of Using Local Citations
Local citations are a bit more powerful because they include key business information, like business/brand name, location, and phone number (in short, NAP).
As you probably guessed, the job of a local citation is to help searchers find information about your brand.
So, whenever someone wants to place an order or make a call but they don’t know your website, these local citations will come in handy.
Local citations can be intentional (posted by the business owner), like the ones on your Google Business Profile or Yelp (or any other business directories still active online).
But they can also be unintentional since many review websites, apps, or even directories scour the internet looking for fresh information to add to their pages.
Plus, your brand’s name and information may show up on social media if people start talking about you.
Both intentional and unintentional citations are helpful as they help boost local SEO rankings.
This means that when someone in your area searches for restaurants, your business name will pop up among the first in SERP (if you own a restaurant that fits the search’s terms, of course).
In this case, the geographic factor matters more, so Google won’t list businesses that are further away, even if their SEO is better than yours.
Citations also deliver a higher degree of trustworthiness to your website since Google’s algorithm uses these to verify if the information is accurate. And this is where consistency comes along.
Why Does Citation Consistency Impact Local SEO?
If you’re not convinced of the power of local SEO, it may help to know that about 72% of people who search for a local business end up visiting if they are within 5 miles of the physical location. This is why accurate and consistent local citations are essential.
Of course, they can also serve as backlinks, which helps boost SEO in general, but their main job is to tell Google your business’s location.
But if your NAP (name, address, phone number) information is not the same in all local citations, this will confuse Google’s algorithm.
As a result, your brand won’t show up in local searches, which leaves more room for your competition.
Be Weary Of Citation Errors
Citation errors do happen, especially when you don’t know where your brand is mentioned.
However, this can be solved by making sure the main sources always list the correct brand name, address, and phone number.
Also, to avoid errors like mistyping or different text arrangements, it helps to use a specialized tool.
You can find a good selection of citation generator tools online that help automate citation generation for your website, blog, landing page, and more.
Lastly, it also helps to keep a tight grip on the online locations where you post your citations.
If you post on several high-profile locations, like Google Business Profile, Yelp, Google and Apple Maps, YelloPages, and several others, it’s enough to get the ball rolling.
Any other business directories that want to list your NAP information will take over from there.
It also helps to check all your citation sources from time to time to make sure everything still looks good.
Also, if you change locations or your business changes its name or phone number, don’t forget to update your citations.
Closing Thoughts: Citations As A Ranking Factor
SEO professionals agree that citations are indeed useful in boosting brand visibility and attracting more customers.
However, the consistency and accuracy of these citations are just as important.
Some people would even argue that the quality of citations is also a factor to consider. But what does this mean?
Depending on the platform you’re using to post local citations, you may be allowed to add more information, like a description of your business, pictures, prices, functioning hours, and more.
Also, customers can leave reviews or follow your news through these platforms.
So, in order to get a better result in local SERP, you have to invest a bit of time and effort into creating the best possible citations for your business.
It may not look like that big of a deal, but Google will consider these factors when it needs to differentiate between several similar businesses.
So, if you want to be as close to the top as possible, you have to pay attention to the smallest details.