citations vs listings local businesses

Utilizing local SEO strategies to determine if citations or listings are the best option for your business. Anytime your business name appears on the internet alongside other critical information about your company — especially your address and phone number — it’s good for local marketing. Those citations and listings provide valuable backlinks and help Google recognize that your business is local, which can improve your performance in the search engine.

But citations and listings aren’t the same things, and the actions you take on them (and the value they have to your local digital marketing efforts) are different.

What’s the Difference Between Local Citations and Listings?

Citations occur when your company along with your NAP (name, address, phone number) data is listed online. Citations can also include other types of information, including email addresses, fax numbers, business hours or driving directions to your location, but the NAP data is most important for search engine optimization value.

Listings occur when your company is included in a list online. These listings may include citation data. For example, Yelp is a great example of a listing which that includes high-value citations because each company tends to be paired with NAP data.

Other types of listings are slightly less valuable SEO-wise, but may still be important. For example, a doctor’s office may be listed as a provider on insurance pages, or the doctor may be listed as a member of the American Pediatric Association.

Managing Citations and Listings

Citations can occur both on and off your site. On-site citations are easy to integrate into a contact us page, location pages that list all your stores and the footer of each of your pages. If you include your business name, address and phone number in these areas, use schema markup to identify them as citation data, boosting the chance that search engine bots will pick up on it.

Off-site citations occur with pages and listings such as Google Business Profile, Facebook, Yahoo, Yelp, Foursquare, CityGrid, Acxiom, and Bing. As a business, you can claim many of these citations and manage them yourself, which lets you ensure the data is always correct and interact with users in some limited capacities (such as via responses to Yelp or Google reviews).

Which Major Citation Should You Claim?

If you’re only going to claim one major citation, we recommend going with Google Business Profile because this listing can be a powerful tool for search marketing and lead generation. But claiming other citations, especially those that are on sites that are highly relevant to your brand or industry, is also important. A restaurant, for example, should always claim its Yelp listing.

Not all citations are part of listings that you can claim, though. The American Pediatric Association isn’t likely to let doctor’s offices make changes to listings on its page. Since accuracy is important, you can reach out to these types of industry relevant sites to request that your information is updated, though there’s no guarantee. Luckily, the citations on your pages with listings such as GMB and Yelp are more important to SEO.

Contact Our Team of Local SEO Experts

If you’re looking for help with your local listenings, our dedicated team is here to help you choose and implement the best local SEO strategy. Contact our team or give us a call at 855-473-6582 to speak to an expert today!