What are local citations?
Citations are defined as mentions of your business name and address on other webpages—even if there is no link to your website. An example of a citation might be an online yellow pages directory where your business is listed, but not linked to. Citations can also be found on local chamber of commerce pages, or on a local business association page that includes your business information, even if they are not linking at all to your website.
Why do I need local citations?
Citations are a key component of the ranking algorithms in Google and Bing. Other factors being equal, businesses with a greater number of citations will probably rank higher than businesses with fewer citations.
Citations from well-established and well-indexed portals (i.e., Superpages.com) help increase the degree of certainty the search engines have about your business’s contact information and categorization. To paraphrase former Arizona Cardinals’ coach Dennis Green, citations help search engines confirm that businesses “are who we thought they were!”
Citations are particularly important in more competitive niches, like plumbing or electrical, where many service providers don’t have websites themselves. Without much other information, the search engines rely heavily on whatever information they can find.
Citations also validate that a business is part of a community. It’s hard for someone to fake membership in a chamber of commerce or a city or county business index, or being written about in a local online newspaper or popular blog.
Citations and links from these kinds of websites can dramatically improve your local search engine rankings.
What are duplicate listings?
Let’s start with a quick definition. When a local business has more than one listing for a single physical location in an online directory, these other listings are considered duplicates. A variety of negative outcomes can arise from the presence of duplicate listings, detracting from your local business’s ability to rank well and win customers.
The Google Local Business Information Quality Guidelines speak in very plain language about the number of listings your business can have:
“Do not create more than one listing for each business location, either in a single account or multiple accounts.”
Duplicate listings are not always your fault! While some local business owners may intentionally create more than one listing for a physical location because they mistakenly believe it will help their rankings, very often, duplicates may arise out of automated activity on the part of search engines or directories.
But, regardless of how duplicate listings are created, it is always a best practice to try to get them removed.
Where do citations come from?
In the United States, there are four primary sources of data for all the major search engines: Infogroup, Acxiom, Localeze, and Factual. Other companies like Yellowpages.com, Citysearch, and Superpages.com can also play a role in this cycle, sending “fresh” feeds to the search engines every couple of months.
If your business information is incorrect at any of these major providers, it may override what the major search engines have in their own database. And if you’re not included in the databases of these major providers, your business is not going to rank as well in Google, Yahoo, or Bing.
In addition to the major search engines, there are a myriad of secondary search engines that are also valuable in driving traffic to your website—and hopefully bringing you more business. Most of these secondary portals get their data from the exact same places that Google and Bing do—just one more reason you need to make sure your business information is correct at those handful of primary providers.
How Does BNR Local Citations Work?
In order to safeguard your business listings, we must first validate your listings against existing verified listing on either Google My Business or Facebook. We will work with the business owner to achieve a verified listing if they do not already have one.
Once we have a verified listing, BNR Local sends your location information directly to our partner network, ensuring that your business listings are as correct, consistent, and as visible as possible across the web. Our partner first networks currently include:
Best of the Web
* Five main aggregators of location data in US
BNR Local will also monitor your listings on Yelp, YP, and Hotfrog. We cannot manage these listing directly, however these sites update their listings based on the primary data aggregators we partner with.