In layman’s terms, a citation is a reference to your business or company name on other peoples’ websites. It works by assigning a NAP, which stands for ‘business Name, Address, and Phone number.’ This allows users to refer to your website more easily. They are also a way Google uses to verify your site’s authority.
How are citations important in SEO?
Citations are one of the main factors that search engines use when ranking businesses on local search results. They allow you to either rank up or down on the search engine results pages (SERPs) for local queries. If many websites reference your NAP on theirs, you’ll likely move up on the rankings.
This is especially true if the websites where the business is mentioned are relevant to its niche. Additionally, citations are used by search engines to corroborate businesses’ contact information.
But citations are not only important because of their effect on your business’s local rankings, but they also help increase the chances of people finding you online. If you are selling a product, this translates to more people finding you and increasing your conversion rate.
If you own a small business, you could be the first one on the SERPs for local searches if your website is referenced many times on business directories and other industry-relevant websites.
Here are some examples of other local citations you probably didn’t know about:
- Forum pages
- Question and answer
- Geo/Industry-Specific Platforms
- Press releases
Any SEO company knows that, even though citations are good for your website’s ranking and discoverability, they can also have negative impacts. Google takes into consideration three factors: the number of citations your website has, the accuracy of these citations, and the quality of the platforms they are in. When these are inconsistent or low-quality, Google will simply ignore them. Making your ranking stay where it is or in some cases, go down.