Experts Blog

Finding the Best Citation Sources for YOUR Business

By Mary Bowling on Jan 23, 2013 - 11:00 AM

Every business that wants to rank in the Google Local Packs has to be concerned about citations. They are a critical way to help you to gain trust from Google by reinforcing your NAP data (business Name, full street Address, local Phone number).

The best citations for your business also will help you to send signals to the Search Engines about your relevance to your particular niche, such plumber, lawyer, office supply store, wedding gown retailer, Chinese restaurant, etc. And citations from powerful sites within and/or about your geographical area will also boost your location prominence, or popularity within your own town.

It's important to remember that some citation sites, such as, UrbanSpoon, ServiceMaster and Findlaw can rank well in the organic results for a variety of local queries. Other sites, like Yelp and TripAdvisor also have popular apps that are the go-to places for people looking for particular kinds of businesses in particular places, either nearby them or in locations they plan to be in the future.

So, you definitely want to be listed on the websites that rank for the terms for which you'd like to be found and on the websites that are widely used to find your type of products and/or services. †People use these listings to make decisions about where they shop. Because they may never go to your own business website, you should include as much detailed information as you can on those that are important for your location and industry, such as photos, videos, product/service lists, brands carried, certifications, experience and persuasive descriptions. The completeness of your listing can also be a ranking factor within some citation sites, like Manta.

People often filter their results by things that are important to them, so also include hours of operation, methods of payment and languages spoken where you can. Information on nearby parking, directions and nearby public transit and a photo of what your place of business looks like from the street are also helpful in getting people into your place of business.

So how do you decide exactly which citations to get for your own enterprise to help it rank better in the Local Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs)?

Begin at the major data providers. Submit new businesses so that they will start being distributed around the Local Search ecosystem.Paid listings have more trustworthiness than free ones and are distributed more quickly. For existing businesses, be sure to check for existing listings at these data providers and to correct and/or update it as needed or the bad data will continue to be pushed out to other websites. These data providers are:

Then, submit to the websites that appear to work well for all types of businesses, regardless of location or industry. Right now, I recommend these as the top 10 best citations for everyone:

  • CitySearch
  • Yahoo Local
  • InsiderPages
  • Superpages
  • Yelp
  • The online version of your own local yellow pages, such as Dex Knows
  • Switchboard
  • Kudzu
  • MerchantCircle

The options for submitting listings to CitySearch or updating/correcting them there sometimes changes. If you can't find a way to accomplish your goal on the website, even after creating an account and logging in, then make your submissions or changes at the data provider InfoGrid (aka Infogroup). If you have more than 10 locations, InfoGrid enables a bulk upload for a fee.† Submitting via Universal Business Listings will eventually get your info into InfoGrid and then into CitySearch, but this could take longer than you care to wait. Yext Powerlistings provides a direct, almost instant way to submit and update data and details to CitySearch and other directories.

There is currently only one way to directly add or update a listing at and that is through a paid Yext Powerlisting. You can also make additions and corrections at InfoGrid and they will eventually work their way onto Switchboard.

Next, you want to concentrate on the citations best for your location and for your industry. Fortunately for all of us, our colleagues have conducted extensive research regarding which citations may help you the most. The methodologies are different, but you'll find all of these studies extremely helpful in building citations that are the most likely to help you to rank in Google Maps and in the Local Packs in the organic results.

Recommended Research on Citations:

Recommended Tools for assisting you in doing your own citation research:

- Mary Bowling, Writer & Lead Local Search Trainer, Planet Ocean