Types of Citations for SEO

types of citations  for local SEOIn our previous post we took a look at what citations are and how they are important for SEO, today we are looking at the main different types of citations that you can use to help raise the visibility of your site in the local and organic search results.

Not all Citations are Created Equal

To very quickly recap a citation is the mentioning of a businesses name in close proximity to it’s address and phone number (and ideally website URL). This is known as the NAP – Name, Address & Phone number (not the nice kind where you doze off with a book after a big lunch).

Citations are used by the search engines to determine the trust that your business actually is what and where it says it is and the better citations (much like the better links) are the hardest ones to get and may require verification by a postcode or phone call.

So, in principle, any mention of your business and address, or parts of is a good thing and if those details also have a description of what you do along with some of your important keywords then that helps build trust and a relationship between your brand + business and the keywords you would like to be found for – all good things.

Structured Citations

A structured citation is in some instances the best kind and is most likely to be found on a high quality internet directory like Yell.com. This will have the business name and address correctly formated and possibly even with schema microdata to further help the search engines. Additionally these Yellow Pages types directories or IYP’s (Internet Yellow Pages) should be organised by business type and area much like the traditional Yellow pages books of old (but obviously, online).

Examples of UK sites to gain structured citations from include Yell, Yelp, Qype, Scoot, Thomson and pay particular attention to any directories that are specific to your location, business area. Also, look at business organisations you are a member of where you could potentially gain a listing.

Unstructured Citations

Unstructured citations can come in many shapes and sizes but would usually include the name of the business along with the address and or phone number but not necessarily in order or structured in such a rigid way. An unstructured citation may even be just the name and part of the address such as the city or even just the phone number.

Unstructured citations can come from a whole range of places so think your social media profiles – have you got your name and address there? In Twitter you can add your location and then maybe your phone number into the bio. In your Linked In bio you can add your address to your bio. The opportunities for unstructured citations are only bound by your imagination so if you have a Youtube channel, if you podcast, if you do guest blog posts – all of these can be an opportunity to get another unstructured citation that will only help build more trust and improve your local and organic search ranking efforts.

Co-Occurrence of Keywords

Co-occurrence is a new concept that we will cover in more detail but where you are building structured citations and there is an opportunity to add a business description or you are building unstructured citations be mindful of using your keywords along with these listings. This builds a relationship between your brand and the keywords and the smart kids are all banking on this as part of the way that anchor text is being phased out or at least confirmed or trusted. Ultimately, it’s easy to do, don’t spam, play nice and it might even help you gain even more visibility for your chosen terms.

Questions, Comments or Citations?

As ever I would love to hear your questions or comments and you can talk to us over on Facebook, on Twitter or in the comments below. Fire over any questions and we may even feature it in an upcoming blog post.

Marcus Miller

Marcus is an SEO, Digital Marketing and Website consultant with 17 years of sometimes painful experience. Marcus specialises in digital strategy and helping SME's understand how to craft goal driven, integrated digital marketing campaigns that are greater than the sum of their parts.

Comments (2)

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    Will

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    I am working on a website and am researching what list of items I can do prior to launch to insure that when Google initially crawls the site that we have everything in order. I read your article on Citations and found it quite interesting. I sell real estate in the US which is a heavily competitive and saturated market and wanted to know if you have any thoughts on where to pursue quality structured citations? There are a ton of “real estate directories” and other sites that I am afraid may be associated with link farming or black hat stuff. Is there anything that helps identify which IYP and other places to get positive citations? Any guidance you can provide is appreciated. Great article thanks for sharing.

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      Marcus Miller

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      Hey Will. As a general rule of thumb review the directories and see if they look like they are of a high standard. Review their outbound links. Review content. Do they rank well when you search around the topic? These are all good signs and a manual review should really clear this up. Beyond that, the obvious local SEO tools will show you citation sources that the top ranking sites are using so if you see a citation that all the top 5 sites have then there is a good chance it is worthy of a manual review. Hope that helps! Marcus

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