A citation is an online mention of a business which features the Name, Address, and Phone number (NAP) of the business.
In the context of local search, citations are typically business directory listings such as Yelp and YellowPages.com to name just a couple. Citations are a foundational ranking factor for local SEO, which means they are essential to get right in order to improve business visibility online and to potentially influence local rankings.
Citations provide search engines with a digital ‘anchor point’, providing multiple points of evidence to prove that the business is where it says it is. They also help potential customers find what they’re looking for.
One of the most important factors of citations is accuracy. You need to make sure that the business’s name, address, and phone number are consistent across the internet. Achieving this gives Google (and other search engines) confidence in the true location of a business, ensuring they can accurately place the business on a map.
Having a range of accurate citations also tells search engines that a business is prominent, or well-known, which search engines also use as a factor to determine the influence a business has in their local results.
There are many different directories a business could and should be listed on, but creating these listings and keeping them updated and consistent is time-consuming and even a little boring! It’s a very manual task which takes a lot of time researching and well as inputting.
This is where the BrightLocal Citation Tracker tool can help. Citation Tracker automates the process of finding and auditing your citations, enabling you to quickly see where a business is listed, what data is displayed about the business, and where competitors are listed but the business is not.
Citation Tracker reports display a list of all the sites and directories where a business is listed, known as ‘Active Citations’.
For the most important directories (e.g. Yelp, Google, Yellowpages.com) the tool performs a full audit of the core business data (NAP) displayed on the directory, identifying errors and inconsistencies in the data which are then highlighted in red font. This allows you to quickly audit a business’s citations without the hours of manual research or messy spreadsheets.
Citation Tracker tool also looks at competitors of the business (using the top-ranking businesses in the same business category found on Google My Business) and scours the web to identify their citations. This gives the business a list of potential new citation sites which they might be able to feature on.
Citation Tracker is used by thousands of agencies to audit clients’ digital presences and plan effective strategies. Many customers also use the reports generated to help them educate prospects or clients on their current citation footprint, making it easy to visualize how Google views a business whilst helping the client to understand the value of citation management.