Citations Are ‘Table Stakes’ for Local Businesses


If you don’t have your citations in order, you’re killing your chances of appearing in the local pack and organic listings in the Google search results.

What are “citations”?

These are structured listings in online directories relevant to your location and business. The higher the authority of the directory, the more important the citation is in helping build your visibility online. Think Facebook, Yelp, BBB, Chamber of Commerce, YellowBook, Merchant Circle, etc.

With more and more companies (even some small businesses) doing it correctly, citations have become such a fundamental part of local SEO that getting it wrong (or not doing it at all) will leave you far behind your competitors.


  • The first and most important step is to make sure that your NAP (company name, address and phone number) is correct and identical across all citations. If any are not correct, get them cleaned up immediately.
  • Start with authority sites, like Facebook and Yelp.
  • Focus on the websites and directories that are important to your industry, location, and customers.
  • Keep an eye on your citations (run a quarterly report) – things change (sometimes unexpectedly) so quickly fix anything that’s wrong.
  • Don’t worry about adding hundreds of citations. Adding 5 high quality, local or business-related sources quarterly should be enough (focus on quality over quantity).

This Quick Read first appeared in the December 2018 GROWth Report newsletter. Want to stay up to date? Subscribe below!