What are Local Citations? (Beginners Guide)

Digitalizing your business is a big step for many people. It consists of many marketing strategies, and activities, which can tremendously boost the traffic of a website.

One of the ways of getting more visitors to a website is by setting up local business listings across the web.

To help you understand how local listings work, we have created a small guide on how to list your business and the best ways to empower your local SEO strategy.

What is a local business listing?

SEO is broken down into three different parts. They are known as on-page, off-page, and technical SEO.

Local business listings fall under the category of off-page SEO and are created to showcase your business across multiple business listing websites.

Local listings (citations) are pages presenting or mentioning information about a local business, by displaying its business name, physical address, phone number, and social media profiles.

Most of the review websites on the web are usually found on business directories, blog posts, or even social media sites, where everything about a particular business is displayed.

If we take a look at Angi local plumbers in Alabama, we can choose from multiple plumbers, and choose amongst the best reviews, nearest to a geographical area, depending on their services, and much more.

Types of Business Directories

Depending on the type of business, and whether it has a physical location or not, it can be registered and found for different business directories such as:

1. Search directories: Search Engine directories are the main part of doing SEO and are one of the easiest ways for a business to be discovered. Taking a look at Google’s shopping tab can give us significant insight into how SEO can help us be discovered. On top of that, we can take advantage of the business listings on Google by creating a Google Business Profile.

It helps business owners list their businesses by including relevant information resulting in appearing for more local searches.

2. Social Media listings: Social Media sites are one of the best places where business owners can find their potential clients. They were specially created for connecting people, and give a better experience for end users to find everything in one place.

For business owners, Social Media sites allow them to create their business pages, engage with customers, and receive reviews, leading to increased brand awareness.

3. Maps and Navigation: Maps and navigation sites help users to find places both locally and internally. They serve a navigational purpose, which can help locate and travel to any physical business, by choosing the easiest route.

By listing your site on various maps, you are ensuring that it can be discovered by potential customers, who are ready to visit your physical location.

4. General listings:

General listing sites, such as business directories accept business information and display it on special pages. For example, Angi, YellowPages, and other directories are also known as general listing sites, which come in both free and paid terms.

Getting your business featured shouldn’t be paid, except when paying for advertisements, and that is why we recommend using free business listing websites, as they hold the same power.

Benefits of local citations

Listing your business in local directories can tremendously improve your search results, and even empower your Google Business Profile.

Each of the business listings you build has a direct weight, based on your website’s information, and we will explain why further.

For now, let’s reveal the benefits of local business listings:

1. Improves the power of your Google Business Profile

When registering your business on local listings and directories, you are improving the overall results for your Google Business Profile.

By providing your name, phone, and address (NAP) across various listings, your website is more likely to get liked by Google.

2. Helps your business get discovered by more people

It is not a secret that many people still use directory sites to find local services or shops. And that’s for a reason. Local directories allow searchers to hire company workers, and after they receive a service, a review can be left on their listing.

Reviews are one of the most important factors for 74% of the searchers since they make decisions based on how good is the company, and how much time it takes to finish their services.

3. Improves the authority of your website

When citing your business, you are getting one step ahead, because Google crawls your site, and listings, searching for matching names, addresses, and phone numbers. If everything had been done correctly, you received more authority, but that’s not all.

Since you will be placing a link to your website, social media profiles, and perhaps Google Business Profile, you will be receiving a backlink to your website.

Backlinks are one of the most powerful SEO factors, which can lead sites to higher rankings, and more trust in the eyes of search engines.

4. Requires little to no maintenance

Listing a business across multiple directories can be a tiring job. It requires reading their terms of service, and rules for listing your business, and filling in many fields until all the information has been received.

However, registering your business happens only once, and there is no need for updating the information or the need to consistently provide additional changes.

You can always make changes to your listing, showcase work, or provide updates to customers, but it is not mandatory.

5. Promotes your business free

Registering for a free business listing requires no money, meaning that any business owner can register on them, without having to pay for the service.

On top of that local listings always try to promote themselves, so it’s the perfect opportunity to receive a promotion for free.

How to Setup a Local Citation

Setting up a business listing can seem easy, but it’s rather hard and will have different requirements for each website, you visit.

To create a professional listing for your local business, you should fill out the most precise information, which will be used on other websites as well.

Business name

Local business listings will always ask you to provide them with your website’s name. Try to include the name, which is registered under a domain name.

If your company and website names are different, proceed by using the domain name.

Sometimes visitors search the web for a certain website, after viewing listings. If they cannot find the provided name, you will lose the chance to provide services, to a potential client.

The physical location of the business

While this applies to physical businesses that have a storefront and accept clients, it can also be utilized by companies that don’t own one.

If you have a physical location for your business, input the business address, which can also be found on Google or Apple maps. This way customers can try using their Maps app to locate your business if the listing does not provide accurate information.

As for the digital-only business owners who don’t accept clients walking to their physical location, they can always use their home addresses.

Phone Number

Including a phone number in your business listing is a very important step, as it lets customers call you whenever they have questions related to products or services.

If you don’t have a business phone number or don’t wish to use your personal number, registering for phone services, and acquiring a business phone can be quite helpful, and help you distinguish customers from friends.

Category of the Business

Local business listings often ask site owners to include the main and sub-categories of their businesses, so they can be categorized efficiently.

By providing the closest to your products or services categories, reaching the target audience can be an easy job.

Including the correct categories is also very important, otherwise, your business listing might get dropped, or not reach any potential clients.


Local listing sites always ask for a short or long description of the business. This is also the main field, which requires the most attention.

By providing an accurate and keyword-rich description customers can easily understand what the business is about, and what it offers.

Business Logo

Another common thing on local listings is the business logo. It helps customers distinguish businesses from one another and sometimes helps them to memorize the logo design.

Often times when searchers go on the web, they see site logos, which they had previously seen on a listing, ad, or mentioned on social media, which helps with brand recognition.

Social Links

While providing the site information, local listing sites can also ask for social media links, such as the Facebook page, Twitter profile, or even the Google Business Profile of the site.

Including these links can help visitors find more information about you, without having to search social media sites, making your site look more professional and tidy.

Website URL

Another very common thing is the website URL field. Typically a business owner should provide his website’s address, or when he doesn’t have one, the field should be ignored.

While many people simply ignore these fields, there are quite useful techniques. For example, including the Google Business Profile address, which is again a good link to have on the website URL field. It doesn’t give a negative user experience but helps customers learn more about you.

To maximize the potential of being discovered by customers, we should always try to fill out all fields, which ask for information.

SEO strategy for business listings

Business listings can be very powerful if done correctly. However, many people miss out on the opportunity and try to finish the work as fast as possible.

To give you a good view of a powerful SEO strategy for your business listing, we have included 6 tips to follow.

1. Add your website’s main keyword in the title

Local listings require a business owner to add the name of the website but have never mentioned if adding extra words is against their policies.

Since it is not a violation, you can always include the title of your business. For example, if we wanted to list a residential cleaning site based in Atlanta, we would write the title “MyWebsiteName – Residential cleaning services in Atlanta”.

This way we will be giving a heads-up to potential customers that the business is based in Atlanta, and can entice more clicks on the listing.

2. Make separate pages for each location

If you are running a multiple locations business, then you will need to create a page for each of the geographical areas served by your business.

It is also a great way to become more visible to local searchers, as more than 70% of the searches on the web are done locally.

This tactic also applies to Google Business Profiles, as each location can have its separate rankings, and help your business get discovered in different areas.

3. Add a primary and secondary phone number

Most listings (if not all) will have a field for primary and secondary phone numbers. In such cases, we can get a new phone number, and use it for collecting clients.

Each time a client calls, his phone number can be saved and used for a callback from the secondary number. It is a great tactic for marketing and acquiring leads.

4. Choose multiple categories (if possible)

Part of the local listing sites found on the web, allow multiple categories to be chosen when enlisting your business.

When that is applicable, you can choose broader categories, and reach more people.

However, if your business can use only one main, and one sub-category, choosing the most relevant ones, is a must.

5. Input all social links

When a listing site offers you input a wide variety of social media sites into their fields, you should always grasp the opportunity.

Even though you have not yet registered your website for Pinterest, Snapchat, or Instagram, this would be the perfect opportunity to do it.

It’s not important if your business is present on these social media sites. You can always make a small list of content, and share it on a schedule, which takes less than 2 minutes per share.

Most Popular Business Listing Sites

Now that we know the essentials of creating a business listing and some nice SEO tips, the most important sites to list your business are:

1. Facebook

Facebook is the largest Social Media site, where business owners can find their target audience. By registering for a business page, you can start promoting your services across hundreds of Facebook groups.

2. Hubspot

Hubspot is the leader when it comes to marketing solutions. For those who are in the Hubspot partner program, or work with agencies, Hubspot offers premium business listings, making your company look more credible.

3. Google Business Profile

Google Business Profile is the listing site of the search engine giant Google. By getting your business on their business listings, you are ensured to rank for map results and local search results.

Getting your Google Business Profile before doing citations is also a must because once you start registering for listings, Google will continuously crawl them, and see if the information is the same, as in your GBP’s listing.

If Google finds that you are using the correct information, it will give more ranking weight to your website, and help you outrank most of the competitors in the local SERPs.

4. Bing

Bing is the next large search engine, which is widely preferred by US citizens and can be fairly easy to use. Registering on Bing’s listings is very easy and can happen in just 5 minutes.

If you already have a Google listing, Bing offers an import feature, where they will take all the information from your Google Business Profile, and create your business listing.

5. Yelp

Yelp is one of the most famous listing sites in the US, where business owners can register their businesses and receive ratings based on their services.

Rumors have it that since Yelp includes free business listings, it is preferred over competitors like Angi.


Registering for local business listings can help you get your website discovered and crawled faster, enticing higher rankings, and collecting more potential clients.

For some people, this may be a challenging thing, because there are thousands of listings on the web, and some of them are country-specific, making the process harder.

If you are a business owner who is looking to get his business listed across multiple business listings, you can reach out to us for local SEO services, and we will get you up and running in no time.