In simple terms, a Local Citation is simply where your company is mentioned on other websites and places found on the Internet. Local citations are used heavily in helping you to rank in local search results.
An example of a citation could be a business directory such as Yell, Thompson Local or Brown Book where your company is mentioned explicitly by name. Local citations do not to include a link to your site. It could also be where your company is mentioned, cited, referenced or spoken about on other local websites.
What do they do?
Citations are used to help rank your Google+ Local map listing (this was formerly called Google Places Pages) by providing Google with credible sources of information about your business in order that Google can understand your business exists, is legitimate and that what you say about your business is true and accurate by allowing Google to corroborate what is said about your business from multiple sources.
Here we see local search results, characterised by the balloon icons and the address or location of the business appearing next to the listing.
The Importance of Citations For Your Business
Building citations for your business are one of the simplest ways you can optimize for local SEO. Having a strong and accurate citation profile can help increase your ability to be found online, and get more customers through your door.
Establish Trust & Create Authority
Listing your business on prominent citation sites helps you create authority and establish trust with search engines like Google and Bing by verifying your business is legitimate.
Building citations on local listing sites helps businesses create local relevance, and over time establish more authority.
Improve Your Local Rankings
Citations are a key factor in local search rankings. Experts agree that citations have an impact on overall local ranking factors.
Basic Foundation of Local SEO
Citations are a basic building block for every local search strategy. Once you build your profile, you can focus on the more complex and challenging aspects of local like reputation management, link building, content creation and onsite optimization.