What Are Local Citations? (The Beginner Friendly Guide For SEO)

Last Updated: November 22, 2020

A key component of local rankings are attributed to Local Citations or Citation Building. This is because they contribute a considerable amount to Google’s Local Rankings Factors (approximately 10%).

In this Local Citations SEO Guide, I’ll cover:

What Are Local Citations?

A local citation is an online mention of the name, address, and phone number for a local business. This is also known as “NAP” info, which helps users find local businesses, and also impacts Local SEO rankings. Local citations may be built and managed by business owners or SEOs to improve search engine visibility and NAP consistency.

The Different Types of Local Citations

Local Citations can be categorized as follows:

Local Business Listings

If you’re just starting out, Local Business Listings are what you’ll want to prioritize.

This is because they’re the most impactful.

Pro Tip: Before jumping in, it’s important to know what citation already exist. For this, I recommend using Moz Local – it’s free, and provides good insights about what the next steps might be.

Below, you’ll find listings that are the most important for local rankings, and where to get started on building them:

Each of these listings are free…

And should be kept that way ( don’t pay for Yelp 🙂 )

Here’s why each of them are SUPER important

Google My Business Listings

This is the one listing that rules them all…

This is because of Google’s Local Pack results.

Ranking in Local 3-Pack can generate TONs of leads or in-store traffic for local business.

You’ll also get a nice little dashboard to report activity like calls and website visits.

Without a Google My Business Listing, your chances of ranking in Local Pack are 0.

This is also how customers discover and find businesses in Google Maps…

For those requesting directions or using voice search, data is going to be sourced from Maps.

Bing Places Listings

Although it’s not the #1 search engine, it’s still comes in second…

And they also have a similar version of Local Pack, which can be a source of traffic and business.

Apple Maps

For those with iPhones, Apple Maps is pre-installed.

This makes it a highly used App for those who request directions and use it to find local businesses.


Probably, the most highly criticized (If you know, you know)…

But having a free Yelp listing is still beneficial.

For example, their reviews are sourced to Apple Maps…

This is because it’s still a frequently used search engine.

Facebook Business Page

A very worthy mention here is a Facebook Business Page, which also serves structured NAP (Name, Address, and Phone Number) information.

Facebook Reviews and Engagement also contribute to Local SEO Rankings, and their reviews can also be featured on GMB Listings…

It’s also common for Facebook users to ask for Recommendations, which can be a free and User-Generated source of referrals for local business…

Pro Tip: Having an optimized Facebook Page that’s optimized, well-branded, and back by a content strategy can be a great source of website traffic. This Facebook SEO Guide provides everything needed to create, optimize, and start developing a social media strategy.

Data Aggregators

Data Aggregators distribute and source NAP information to local directories.

This 4 Main aggregators include:

Leveraging data aggregators to build local citations is like putting things on autopilot.

Niche Listings.

There are tons of industry-specific (niche) listings out there.

It’s extremely common to see these for attorneys and dentists.

General Listings

General Local Business listings are those that are well…general.

These can also be a good source of backlinks.

For example, getting listed on the local Chamber of Commerce would be a citation to have because it includes a backlink.

How To Build Local Citations

Local citations can either be structured…

Or unstructured…

This simply means that NAP data is present, often with a “structured” format as opposed to “unstructured” with casual links.

I always recommend manually building the most important Local Citations.

When automating or outsourcing local citations, important fields or optimizations can be overlooked.

Pro Tip: It’s important to optimize Local Citations, which means maximizing SEO for each listing to appear in search. This is especially important for Google My Business, and you can find a complete Google My Business SEO Guide to ensure rankings in Local Pack.

Once high priority citations are built, I recommend outsourcing or automating the rest to save a TON of time…

How To Automate Citation Building & Reporting

BrightLocal is a Local SEO software that makes citation building super easy with an all-in-one dashboard…

Plus, they offer a Free 14-day Trial.

Within their citation tracking dashboard, it’s easy to view NAP Errors…

And it’s also easy to fix them and build new citations…

It’s also possible to track rankings and the progress of Local SEO Campaigns…

While having 100s of citations for a single location is rarely necessary…

It depends on the level of local competition.

There are tons of other factors that affect Local SEO more than additional citations.

Within the Dashboard, there’s also a Local SEO Audit that provides actionable insights after the first 25-50 citations have been built.

Using these insights, it’s to determine the next steps for you Local SEO Campaign…

Happy SEO-ing 🙂