Citations? What are those?

Local Web Ranking Factors

So you start a business, you have everything you need and your shiny new website is up and running. Advertising budgets are something that need to wait until you have some sales under your belt but you need some traffic to the site to make those sales, it’s a vicious circle! You need some free traffic. What can you do?

Get some Citations.

Citations are references to your business/site on external sites. Place yourself in online business directories and get your name out there. There are 1000’s of sites and many require a payment and also many are very low quality and are a waste of money. There are however some very authoritative free resources to utilise.

A leading Local SEO expert, David Mihm, recently came up with a graph ( we love graphs, SEO uses them a LOT! ) of results from studies he has conducted when ranking local business websites.


David Mihm Local Ranking Factors

Credit: SEOMOZ


As we can see from the above graph, Citations make up 25% of local SEO. Depending on your niche it may vary but it is a very strong signal of their importance. A Citation is not necessary a link to your site, sometimes ‘partial citations’ occur where not all of your details are present such as just a phone number or other footprint of your business. Citations are a way of achieving backlinks as well as increasing exposure.

So there’s different types of citations?

Absolutely. Let’s take a look:

Structured Citations

These are the more common references on major business listing sites like,, etc. The structure relates to your business information being in a certain format that is repeated across the directories such as:

  • Name
  • Streetname & Number
  • Town
  • County
  • Postcode
  • Phone Number
  • Website Address

Having it structured makes it easier for the search engines to compare and match to your business. Its referred to as NAP, which simply stands for Name, Address, Phone Number.

Unstructured Citations

These Citations appear on blogs, newspaper sites, event listing sites, job sites and more. These are more random and could be partial references. These are harder to achieve but are beneficial to your local rankings so are worth giving some thought.

Citations are perfectly legitimate in Google’s eyes and safe from any kind of big bad algorithm. So make a coffee and get adding and make sure to add your site’s URL and not just your physical business address ( assuming you have one ).

Here’s the list of FREE Citation sources:

This article marks the first of some easy search engine optimisation tips that you can do yourself that require no training and are totally free. There are no guarantees however and if you have a poorly designed/optimised website then you need to start there first. There will be other articles discussing these issues or you can try our FREE website auditor to see how your site is or contact us for a full indepth audit. We only pass on tried and tested tips and help in our articles and not time wasting money grabbing snake oil however every site is unique and your results may vary.


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