What Are Citations?
Citation: A listing of the name, address, and phone number of a local business.
A citation is any online mention of business details. This is mainly the name, address, phone number (NAP) of the business. It can include the website as well (NAPW).
Here is an example for a citation:
66, Harry Bridges Boulevard,
Wilmington, Delaware, USA 19801
Other information such as the county and nearby landmarks may also be included in the address.
Some citation sites where a business can get listed are Yelp, Angie’s List, Manta, and Yahoo Local.
There are four major data aggregators: Factual, Acxiom, Infogroup, and Localeze. These aggregators compile information in a database and supply it to online resources like Google, Apple, Facebook, and citation listing sites.
Citation listing sites can be broadly classified into the following groups:
- Local directories
- Industry citations
- Social citations
Local directories are Home Advisor, Better Business Bureau, and Yellow Pages.
Industry forums, Chamber of Commerce, and industry associations are some industry citations. The Associated Locksmiths of America is an industry citation site for locksmiths.
Industry citations are somewhat harder to find and there won’t be that many for small, specific, or unique niches such as sprinkler repair, termite treatment or shower cleaning. Broader niches such as locksmiths and plumbers will have more possible industry citation sites.
Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter are social citations. This is mainly a catch-all general category for citations that are not industry or local. Websites such as Wikipedia, Medium, and Reddit and other web 2.0 sites come under social citations.
There are hundreds of citation sites on the world wide web, but not all of them are relevant to every company.
There are also hyperlocal citation sites that only exist within the local area. National citations can also have subdomains or branches for local citations.
Citations can be either structured or unstructured. Structured citations are mentions of a business on sites such as Yellow Pages, Yelp, Foursquare, local directories, etc. These are the established citation sites.
Unstructured citations are mentions of a business on a blog, a newspaper, a PR, or on the websites of other businesses. They basically alert others to the existence of the business.
Loganix – Performs a manual citation audit
Citation Builder Pro – Local citation finder that helps find active citations.
Bright Local – Citation builder and reputation manager
Whitespark – Another local citation finder
DigitalBull GO – The world’s #1 GMB audit and optimization tool!
For more on Citations, read our article for Optimizing Citations.