Intro to Citations

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Group: Off-Page

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:

Lou’s Locksmith
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, Infogroup, Neustar Localeze, and Foursquare. After Acxiom’s exit from the local search market at the end of 2019, Foursquare rose to fill the void. These four 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, Reddit, and other web 2.0 sites fall 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.

Recommended Tools 

BrightLocal – Citation tracker, builder, and reputation manager

Citation Builder Pro Local Citation Finder – Helps find active local citations.

Whitespark Local Citation Finder – 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.

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