Business Citations are references of your local business on other websites. They do not always create a back link to your website, sometimes they are only giving you NAP (Name Address Phone Number) information, but they are important for your Local SEO because they establish you on the web as a real person or business. Many local directories, review directories, and “yellow page” portals offer Free Citation Links. Some are paid, but usually they offer premium service such as adding keyword rich descriptions to your business listings.
Local Link Building Strategy
Your Internet Marketing plan should include an even balance of Search Engine Optimization, Content Creation, and Back linking. Yes, I said “back linking”… Considered by some to be a dirty word these days, back linking got a bad rap over the last year or so because the Google updates that slammed those doing “Spammy” links. Spammy links are like the spam you get in your email, they are worthless, and Google penalized for it. Back links when done properly are very important and the key to getting on the first page of Google, just be careful because if you work with wrong vendor your rankings could go the other way.
One of the biggest questions I get is how do I get ranked in Google Places? (Now known as Google+) The short answer is business citations. There are hundreds if not thousands of citation sites out there that Google looks to for ranking your Google Places listing. Below is a list of 30 great places for local business citations, that Google loves. Business citations contribute to a good link building strategy for your company, because the citations lend to your credibility and authority.
Google’s recent removal of citation sources from the Local Places page design has left many local internet marketing professionals speculating that citations are no longer important. My research shows otherwise, and have managed to get new places pages ranked in competitive markets within 60 days. The change in the design does not automatically mean there was a change in the search algorithm.
|Judy’s Book||Judy’s Book is a book of local secrets that helps you to make decisions.||Add Your Business|
|ShopCity||The smarter way to shop locally. Find out more here! Unlock the Potential of Local Internet Marketing.||Add Your Business|
|Yellow Bot||YellowBot is essentially a local search site for finding and reviewing the places you go to in your community (and elsewhere). As an integral part of the site we are building ways for patrons and business owners to exchange tips and experiences.||Add Your Business|
|Superpages||The smarter way to shop locally. Find out more here! Unlock the potential of local internet marketing.||Add Your Business|
|Dexknows||At Dex One, we care about small business success. It’s why we provide smart, searchable advertising, free marketing consultations, and expert online resources—all designed to help local businesses like yours get found and chosen by new customers.||Add Your Business|
|MagicYellow||Magic Yellow helps people find local business information, including user reviews, ratings, and maps. With 18 million businesses listed, we’re one of the leading yellow pages available, and best of all, we don’t offer a printed version of our directory.||Add Your Business|
|Info USA||InfoUSA has 30 years’ experience providing mailing lists and email lists to businesses of all sizes.||Add Your Business|
|CitySquares||CitySquares is the leader in video marketing and advertising solutions for local businesses working to expand their online exposure and generate new prospective customers.||Add Your Business|
|Local.com||Local.com helps consumers find the most relevant products and services, events and activities, and coupons for local businesses.||Add Your Business|
|City Search||Use Citysearch City Guides to get reviews, recommendations and directions to the best hotels, restaurants, events, night clubs, shops, services and more.||Add Your Business|
|Yellowbook||Yellowbook is a 360-degree marketing company that has been helping small businesses grow and succeed for the last 80 years.||Add Your Business|
|Insider Pages||Insider Pages was created to help people find the best local businesses through recommendations from their friends and neighbors.||Add Your Business|
|Kudzu||Kudzu gives you honest, uncensored feedback on millions of businesses from homeowners just like you — plus thousands of money-saving deals in every major US city.||Add Your Business|
|MerchantCircle||MerchantCircle is the largest online network of local business owners in the Nation, so we are a direct line to the businesses in your community who can solve your day-to-day problems.||Add Your Business|
|Yelp||Yelp aims to connect people with great local businesses and Yelp Business Accounts allow businesses to share information with the Yelp Community. Simply put, it’s word of mouth — amplified.||Add Your Business|
|CityVoter||View CityVoter’s “Best Of” Lists – Best Restaurants, Shops, Hotels, Bars, Entertainment, Salons and hundreds more.||Add Your Business|
|Localeze||Localeze is the largest online local search engine content manager serving businesses, local search engines and ready-to-buy consumers.||Add Your Business|
|Foursquare||For small businesses, large chains, and any other physical location, foursquare offers a free set of tools to help you attract new visitors and keep them coming back.||Add Your Business|
|Yahoo! Local||Potential customers from your area visit Yahoo! Local every day. Add descriptive info about your business and upload from your computer.||Add Your Business|
|Manta||Manta helps small businesses profit, connect and grow through the largest online community dedicated entirely to small business.||Add Your Business|
|Angie’s List||Angie’s List is the nation’s premier provider of trusted reviews on contractors and doctors in over 550 categories, like roofers, plumbers, house cleaners and dentists.||Add Your Business|
|Hotfrog||A Hotfrog profile is a tool for you to create demand for your business. It helps you convey exactly what’s different about your products and services, add images, create coupons and put your business’ unique approach and personality in front of people searching online.||Add Your Business|
|ServiceMagic||The ServiceMagic network consists of over 80,000 customer-rated service pros for home improvement tasks, such as kitchen & bathroom remodeling, cleaning & maid services, handyman services, landscaping and many more.||Add Your Business|
|City Data||A collection and analysis of data from numerous sources to create as complete and interesting profiles of all U.S. cities as possible.||Add Your Business|
|Yellowee||Yellowee combines detailed business listings, candid reviews and recommendations, and the latest local events in cities and towns across the United States and Canada.||Add Your Business|
|Discover Our Town||The Ultimate US travel, tourism & relocation guide. Comprehensive local city guides including travel information, area attractions, events, shopping and restaurant listings for towns across the United States.||Add Your Business|
|Local Database||LocalDatabase.com is a local guide designed to offer targeted in-depth information to US based communities.||Add Your Business|
|MyHuckleBerry||MyHuckleberry.com is your online destination for information. We take the guesswork out of finding the best local businesses in your city.||Add Your Business|
|ShowMeLocal||ShowMeLocal gives local business owners the tools to promote their business online and where local consumers go to learn about businesses in their area while finding great deals.||Add Your Business|
|WeGoPlaces||Fun things to do in the US and Canada, vacation ideas, hotels, travel recomendations, recreation, travel wizard, tickets, tours, free listings for accomodations and attractions.||Add Your Business|
More Opportunity to Review Your Business
Reviews and user generated content are also an important part of a good local marketing strategy. And the citations you build on review sites open your business up to more reviews. And reviews are a form of user generated content. Recent changes to Google SERPs hints that user generated sentiment are an influential signal in their search algorithm and effects rankings for local businesses.
As of this moment, Google cannot depend solely on its own data as an accurate source; they must rely on others and this includes reviews of your business. Google relies on an aggregation of external directories and listings for reviews. While Google may be trying to cut out the other local sources eventually, this may not be the inevitable result with the advent of mobile apps. So until then, build citations and build them everywhere with accurate data and full profiles.
Local Factors Trumps Freshness
For awhile Google focused a lot on “freshness” as a relevancy indicator for their search results. But 1 in 5 searches on desktops have local intent, so in order to remain relevant to its users Google has been focusing on localization for some time now. And let’s not forget that local advertising avenues are worth billions of dollars, so it’s not surprising that Google is trying to dominate this market too. There’s so much opportunity as print advertising starts to convert to online. If anything, Google’s aggressive push for relevancy in local could easily double their current revenue. (Yea, no kidding!)