Everything You Need To Know About Citation Building

Table of Contents

Many people wonder why there is the need for Local SEO and citation building for their local business website. It is now considered vitally important for those that want to take their online operations to the next level. In its simplest form, search engine optimisation is about doing everything you can to boost your natural ranking in the major search engines.

citation building for local business

The algorithm that ranks your site (despite variations across engines) is a compilation of many different variables. There is no one magic secret or special key you can turn.

The goal is really to check off as many variables as possible from that algorithm. The kicker is that, for the most part, we don’t actually know what is contained in these algorithms that are so important to us. We can, however, make educated guesses. And there are several aspects of SEO that most, if not all, industry professionals agree on. One of those factors is the importance of link-building.

link building for local business with directories

The Internet was built upon links. All website owners need to find relevant and permanent links from other authority sites. This means that the content on your site has to be deemed fit to link to and be of the best quality possible. These links basically mean, “there’s relevant information on this site,” each link pointing towards your site counts as a “vote” towards it.

These votes help enhance your natural position, especially if you have a well-designed SEO friendly website. The big question, of course, is how can I get other sites to link to me? Fortunately, it’s a simple solution since there are numerous authoritative business directories who allow links to your site as part of a listing in their directory.

Some of these directories will manually review your submission, while others will charge a fee to be listed more quickly. Others will offer a basic listing and still give you a link. The most important thing is the link. Especially if the directory has good authority.

local business directories for citation building

Make sure you read the terms and follow the rules. These are generally very easy to follow and adhere to. When you have got a couple of listings done, it becomes easier because each directory will have similar rules for accepting a listing.

Citation Building – Count Those Characters:

When it comes to your title, description and keywords, each directory may have different limits to how many characters are allowed for each of the title and description fields. For a free listing you will often be limited to how many keywords you can have.

citation building - description options

If there was no limit, some people would write an essay for descriptions and cram in every possible keyword. None of the directories want that because it could lead to a penalty for them, so be vigilant follow the rules.

Directories encourage you to be straight to the point. You might not be able to say everything about your site, so pick the most important points and go with that.

public description directory citation

Before you start submitting anywhere, sit back and create a few well-written descriptions that cover 150, 250, 1000 and 2000 characters. One of those four levels will generally suffice in any internet directory. After that is completed, the majority of the hard work is already behind you.

All you have to do now is check for the character demands and fill in your blurb of that length, then you’re ready to go. The same thing goes for keywords; make a few alternative choices so that it’s simply a question of picking the best one when it comes time to submit.

Would You Approve A Spam Filled Site Application?

Spamming your directory listings is not allowed. That can’t be any more obvious, yet it appears that people still do it. You’ll never get listed in a human reviewed directory when you use this approach.

Don't spam a citation listing

This is a less common practice, but does still happen sometimes. If you were to sell widgets for example. the word ” Widgets” may be repeated as many times in your title, description, and keywords as possible. As the emphasis shifts to cramming the word into as many places as feasible, comprehension usually takes a back seat.

Because this approach could lead to a penalty in the search engines, it is not allowed and your listing will be refused or removed for breach of terms. You will be rejected if you spend time submitting to web directories with poorly articulated, spam-filled content. You’ve wasted a lot of your time and got nothing in return.

Choose The Right Category When Building Citations

Local business directories are organised by categories and relevance. Editors take pleasure in keeping everything well structured. A little effort on your part to pick the proper category can greatly boost your chances of getting more from a citation.

citation building - choosing the right categories

With manually reviewed directories, this is more important. If you’re an editor who wants to approve a site, all you have to do is click one button. However, if the business listing was assigned to the incorrect category, you’ll need to modify the application to change it (and now the editor has to locate the proper category). This takes longer.

It’s a lot easier to click the “reject” button than it is to wade through categories if you’re the editor tasked with sifting through thousands of applications. So, put yourself in their position and do them a favour by choosing the right category. Ultimately, it’s you and your website that will profit.

When Citation Building, How Can I Find The Best Directories?

The main point when it comes to citation building is finding relevant and appropriate business directories that suit your business and website. You can also search for niche related directories so there is a strong connection with your business. Very often one or two of these links are more powerful than several more general ones.

seo citation building

There are many tools online for citation building, citation generators, citation review sites, citation sharing site. If you need help with these, tools there are experts (including us) who will tell you how to do citation building properly.

Name, Address and Phone Number (NAP)

You should include your business’s name, address and telephone number in your citation. NAP information is also known as contact details. It can be manipulated to provide flexibility with citation building campaigns for location-specific citation needs. This easy rule of thumb guarantees that you will always have the data needed to build citations for any category of directory.

citation building - nap

Another important thing you’ll want to include is the category your business falls under. Quality directory editors will insist on this step if you’re submitting manually or if they are an automatic directory. You don’t want to miss out on great opportunities because you didn’t provide the needed detail.

For Local SEO, your NAP should directly match what you have in your Google Business Listing. This means that Google can link your other business directory listings and prove that your business is real. All these things add to the optimisation of your Google listing off page SEO.

What Are The Types of Citations Needed To Be Built?

There are 2 main types of citations. These are Structured and Unstructured. You can use both citation methods for your citation building.

structured citations for local business

Structured citations are the best citation building source for local businesses. These citations include a lot of information, such as NAP data, a link to your website and more. They provide editors with everything they need to classify your business into an appropriate category. You have complete control over what is included in these citation profiles because you made them from scratch yourself.

Top Tip: When you create a video and share on You Tube, include your NAP and links in the description. This is a very powerful citation too! Add this into your local marketing campaign.

Unstructured Citations – Not The Best Source For Citation Building

Unlike structured citation profiles, Unstructured ones only contain the name of the company and its URL which makes it hard for editors to find or recognize your site when it’s submitted. You can’t include your NAP data or any other citation information with this citation type. Additionally, you don’t have complete control over how your business’s citation is filled out – the citation submitter decides what goes in.

Quality citation building also includes researching the citation directories you’ve selected. To make sure they are still active and do not contain broken links or site errors (404 pages).

Be careful of directory sites that say they will submit your citations for free but ask for your credit card number at some point for payment. This is a red flag! They may want to take your money instead of doing what they originally promised.

Keep Good Records Of Your Citation Building Campaign

When you create your list of directories to, it’s a good idea to set up a simple spreadsheet with all the details you entered for each one. Your columns should include the directory name, URL of your listing, your description, your NAP and login details.

citation building spreadsheet

How Does This Help?

If you move business premises and your NAP changes, you can update all of your listings because you have the data available. Also you will have a list of backlinks to your website / business listing. It will also allow you to check each listing from time to time.

Simple Citation Building Checklist

  1. Make sure you correctly enter your business name, address and phone number (NAP)
  2. Save this information in a spreadsheet or other suitable document to prevent errors. This will make citation building a little easier. Using this information, you can copy/paste the information into the directory listing.
  3. Search for your business in Google to find any existing citations and add in to your spreadsheet.
  4. Check and clean up existing citations before you begin creating new ones.
  5. Start building new citations, starting with the highest authority sites first. Don’t add a citation to every site out there. Be sure the directory has relevance to your niche, or relevant categories that match your business.
  6. Optimise all your business’s listings. Add photos, business information, and categories if possible to do so. It’s important to update when necessary and check and respond to reviews if applicable.
  7. Keep track of your citations. Be sure you are able to update your listings easily. It’s important that your listing information is always correct. If there is any incorrect info out there for your business it could be damaging.

When you submit a website to a business directory, it’s important to optimise your efforts and get listed in as many directories as possible. You can assure yourself of approval by following the guidelines mentioned above. With everything pre-written and good intentions to follow the rules, you’ll be done with your citation building campaign quickly.

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