A Beginner’s Digital Checklist for Local Business Citations and SEO

Whether your company is a startup or an established business, it is likely you are using SEO to help your customers find you online. One of the most crucial parts of digital marketing for any business is managing citations.

Your customers can find you online with the help of citations, an online reference to your business. Your NAP (name, address, phone number) is what your customers use to contact you and transact business.

When citations are properly set up, you can establish your brand and locally boost your rank. Let’s find out how citations work and how you can use them to improve your SEO arsenal.

Citations Defined

Your NAP is one of the most critical ways your customers locate you. When citations are used for SEO, it refers to several individual companies listed in different areas. Citations can look like an online directory for local businesses however, you’ll also find other types of citations.

Usually, citations are limited to just the business name, address, and phone number. Some websites add other values to improve the information available for a business.

The Different Types of Citations

Citations come in many forms but these elements are the most important ones that help you get noticed online

Google My Business (GMB)

GMB is one of the best ways to help your business get noticed online. This Google tool establishes your business profile with NAP and other relevant information like photos of your business, an overview and an ‘about’ section.  Hours of operation, a link to your website, and a convenient call button are also included.

GMB connects with Google Maps to provide on-time directions to your location. Customers can also rate your business and provide reviews that help visitors make an informed decision.

Bing Maps

With your business in Bing Maps you attract more customers, especially those who don’t rely on Google search and maps. Bing Maps is a mapping service from Microsoft’s Bing search engines. Business information featured in Bing Maps is almost identical to what is found in Google Maps but with the option to look for nearby useful information like parking, gas stations, transit, etc.


Yelp offers the best recommendations for many local services including restaurants, nightlife, entertainment, beauty salons, pet grooming, and many other firms. Yelp publishes crowd-sourced reviews so having your business here means you’ll get more attention.


Facebook is the world’s most popular social media site with 2.895 billion monthly active users as of the second quarter of 2021. If your business is listed on Facebook it will help you get more attention and more local customers. Facebook is the easiest to use because it uses demographics to find your target market.

Your local business can be listed on many websites.   However, some websites are more relevant than others. For instance, if you own a local nail salon, you can have your citation in Google My Business, Facebook, and Yelp but you can’t have it cited in GrubHub or Allmenus which are restaurant listing sites.

Other kinds of citations for many types of markets exist such as professional businesses like medical specialists, law offices, real estate, finance, etc. Meanwhile, some citations are more authoritative than others, for instance business categories. Local businesses must take the opportunity to be part of these higher domain citations to get instant recognition online.

When considering the use of citations, many mistake this method for link building. Although citations can also use link building, it operates differently from citations. Some businesses may use these terms interchangeably, but Google and other search engines know their differences. This allows Google to rank local businesses that have more relevant citations than others.

Advantages of Using Citations

Citations have many benefits. So you should never overlook updating and managing your citations, especially when your business is located in a competitive area like San Diego.

Citations Boost Your Local Ranks

It’s impossible to get your business listed in all the available citations online. But it’s possible to place them on reputable online sites. Google ranks high on those business websites that are found in trusted directories because having your site here tells search engines that you exist.

Thus, factors that help Google rank you higher are the quality of your citations, your citation accuracy, and the reliability or quality of these directories.

Grab a Chance to Join Top Directory Sites

Some directories get more traffic because they dominate local search pages. Directory websites like YellowPages and Yelp are just two with the highest ranks. Having your local business listed here will help you rank higher.

Earn from Referral Traffic

Some people rely only on their favorite directory pages or citation pages for their needs. Having your business listed in these top citation pages can boost your referral traffic. For instance, people looking for a good place to eat locally may rely only on Yelp while those looking for hotel accommodations trust only Trip Advisor.

Choosing the Correct Citations

There are so many citations online that it can be hard to shortlist the sites where your business should be. But you don’t need to worry. Although the quantity of your citations is needed to rank you, it’s better if you also consider the quality of these citations.

Digital Authority Partners suggests to start with top-quality citations in your market or category. Use Moz to find citations according to categories such as advertising, assisted living, banks, car dealers, churches, event planning, hotels, golf courses, roofing contractors, pet stores, travel agencies, yoga studios, and many more.

WhiteSpark is another tool for the best citations depending on your category. WhiteSpark recommends the YellowPages, Yelp, and Thumbtack for accountants, Zillow, Trulia, and Forrent for apartments, Car Gurus, Cars.com. and the YellowPages for Car Dealers, and many other listings.

Now that you have a list of directory sites that match your business, it’s also best to feature your local business in popular general directories. To find these sites, check out BrightLocal. This tool will help you with top citation sites in the U.S., Canada, Australia, and the UK.

Final Words

Your San Diego business can get the best ranking on local search pages with a local digital marketing agency. Local citation management takes more than placing your local business online. A reliable agency will make sure your citations are correct, consistent, creative, and current. An agency will also help you monitor and measure your citation values and invest in the ones that are working for you.