What are citations?
Citations, known in layman's terms as references, are any mention of the name of your business on other websites. This mention may or may not include the address of your business and a link to your website. As far as the search engines are concerned, this is important for ranking and verifying the existence and location of your business. The most valuable citations are those in directories, such as Yellow Pages and other websites which are already well-established and widely used. Citations on sites like these hold more weight than those on lesser known websites.
Although citations are useful for businesses with a nationwide or even international focus, they are particularly important for local ones. This is because Google's algorithms rely in part upon citations for determining and confirming that a business is active in a particular geographical area. Citations also allow smaller, local businesses to outrank larger ones when it comes to local searches. This is because results are more likely to be relevant to the person carrying out the search due to their location.
There are many other forms of online media you can use for marketing your business. Aside from the more obvious platforms such as company and service directories, you can also use the following mediums for citations:
- Press releases and news articles detailing new products and services that your business launches.
- Blog posts and other articles on topics relevant to your business.
- Profile pages on social media websites, such as Facebook, Twitter and Google+.
- Descriptions connected to other types of media, such as images and videos.
A citation is not the same as a link. A citation may or may not contain a link to your website.
For local businesses, the best place to start getting citations is directories. There are dozens of directories suited to local businesses in the United Kingdom. The following are some of the most popular:
Another good way to find relevant resources for listing your business is to simply find out which ones your competitors are using. You can find out where a website is listed by entering a special formula including the business name, postcode and web address in Google. For example, to find out where Lcn.com, Ltd. is listed online, you can enter the following query (including the quotes):
"LCN.COM" AND "SG1 2FP" -site:https://www.lcn.com
Look through the first five or more pages of the search results, and make a note of all of the directories where the business is listed. Make a note of their addresses, as well, and list your own business where applicable.