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What is a citation, and how does it affect Local search?

Posted by:
Trent Carlyle


At Lawgical, we’ve talked a lot about Local Search and why it’s important for law firms and legal service providers to pay attention to Local. If you aren’t exactly sure what we mean by local, take a look at a previous post about Local Optimization.

In this post I am going to define a citation and explain why citations are important to your Local rankings.

ci·ta·tion / sīˈtāSHən/

In the search world, the definition of a citation is a reference to or mention of your business Name, Address, and Phone information on a web page. This is often referred to as NAP data.

Why are citations important?

Citations are seen as the “new link”. In 2004 it was all about getting inbound links to your site to rank, today it’s all about the citation. In fact, you may not even need that link on a page to get value. As long as that NAP data is present on a page, chances are you’ll receive ranking benefit. Theoretically, the more citations you have, the higher you will rank.

Citations Need to be Exact

A citation doesn’t add value unless the NAP data is exact. When you are submitting your data to directories, its critical make sure that information matches exactly to your Google Places data per the graphic below.

Citation Mismatch

How do I get citations

Citations can come in many forms. You can get citations from online platforms like Yelp, Citysearch and a multitude of online Yellow Page sites. The BBB and Chambers of Commerce are great citations to have. Directories and professional associations also offer valuable citations from authority sites.

If you want to get really strategic with your citation building, you’ll want to see what citations your competitors have. Any easy way to get this is to Google your competitors’ NAP data and see where they are listed. Tools exist to make this process easier. One example is Local Search Toolkit.

Lawgical Local

Lawgical Local is a product we offer legal professionals that build citations and optimizes your Local profiles. If you are interested in improving your ranking in Google Places and in other local platforms, drop us a note.


Posted by:
Trent Carlyle

Trent Carlyle is the CTO and co-founder of LAWgical. Trent works alongside the technology and marketing teams, developing products that help our clients grow their businesses and operate more efficiently. You can follow Trent on Twitter at @trentcarlyle.