How To Build Citations For Better Google+ Local Rankings

Travis Van SlootenSmall Business SEO

citations business directoriesYou know what Google+ Local is and you have your website fully optimized, now what? It’s time to get your business listed in local and national directories.

The business information you list in these directories is called a “citation.” You can think of this as a process of getting listed in multiple online phone books.

Citations not only improve your chances of your Google+ Local page ranking well with Google, but they give customers additional chances to find you as well.

Before you begin, check your Google+ Local page and your website to make absolutely sure that the NAP (business name, address, and phone number) on both match, and that they are 100% accurate.

Now, open a Word document or spreadsheet. It’s a good idea to keep an accurate list of the directories where you’ve listed your business for future reference. Here are four steps you can follow to get the citation process started.

Step 1: Visit GetListed.org

GetListed.org is a free tool that gives you a citation “health check.”

When you visit the site, simply enter your business name and zip code. It will give you a list of important directory sites and tell you if you’re listed on them or not. For those directory sites you’re not listed on, visit each of them and enter your business information.

getlisted citation service

Sometimes, GetListed will indicate that you aren’t listed on a directory site even when you know for a fact that you are. Check again in a week or so – sometimes it takes time for GetListed.org to update its information.

Step 2: Target the Top 12 Directories To Get Started

There are hundreds of directories you can submit your business to but these 12 are the most important to start with. When you visit these sites you’ll be checking for two things:

  • Are you already listed on these sites? (sometimes you will be)
  • Is the information on the site an exact match for the business name, address, and phone number on your Google+ Local page?

Many of these sites will require you to claim your business listing just like you can claim your Google+ Local page. Some require phone verification for claiming while others will provide email verification.

Here are the 12 directories to target first:

  1. AngiesList
  2. CitySearch
  3. CityVoter
  4. HotFrog
  5. InsiderPages
  6. JudysBook
  7. Kudzu
  8. Local Best of the Web
  9. MerchantCircle
  10. SuperPages
  11. YellowPages
  12. Yelp

Every site will be a little different, but there is a general process that you can follow for each of them.

  • Check to see if our business is already listed by typing your business name and city into the site’s search box.
  • Is your business there? If so, proofread the listing to make sure the business name, address, and phone number are exact matches for the information you’ve provided to Google+ Local.
  • If your business isn’t listed, then create the listing. It’s free! Double check to ensure that you are entering the same information you have on your Google+ Local page. It may be best to copy/paste the information directly from your web page or Google+ Local page.
  • If the directory requires business owners to claim or verify the listing you should see a link that says “claim,” “verify,” or “is this your business?” Click on the link and follow the directions provided by the site.

Step 3: Enlist the Data Aggregators

Data aggregators feed information to other directory sites, and are generally going to be better at finding small or obscure directories than you are. This helps you effortlessly build more citations.

Submit your business to these data aggregators:

As with the directories, it is imperative that you pay attention to details and make sure the business information you enter matches what you have on your Google+ Local page and website.

Step 4: Go the Extra Mile

Once you’ve completed the first 3 steps, Step 4 will help you get an edge on your competitors and totally dominate them!

Step 4 involves broadening your reach by submitting citations to other “top directories” beyond the primary 12 listed above. You can submit these manually or you can enlist a paid citation service like Universal Business Listing, or UBL.

UBL offers plans starting at $75/year and will distribute your business information far and wide, giving you even more ways to be found online. Whether you manually submit these additional citations or pay for a service to submit them for you, these are the other top directories to target:

In addition to submitting to other top directories, you’ll want to target local and industry-specific directories. For example, if you are a lawyer, you’d want to submit to industry-specific directories such as AlphaLegal.com, Avvo.com, and HG.com.

To find addition directories to submit to, I highly recommend Whitespark. This paid service helps you find every citation opportunity available in your industry. It also allows you to see how your citations stack up against your competition. You can see where they are getting their citations from and then get citations from the same sources!

Bonus Tip:
If you want an exhaustive list of citations you can submit to, my friend Phil Rozek has put together a massive list of citations sources.

By getting national and local (and industry-specific) citations, you’ll have your bases covered and then some!