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What is a Local Citation or A Directory Listing and Why is it Important


Hi guys. And welcome to another edition of Zupo SEO Talk & Tea. 

Today's conversation is what is a local listing or directory citation? Why are they're so important? So this conversation is particularly important in the local SEO realm. A lot of people when you're starting out in local SEO will always talk about your directory listings. There's local citations. And that's kind of what we want to talk about today.

But before we jump in, I want to introduce the tea we're having today because this is Zupo SEO Talk & Tea. This is becoming one of our more popular returning guests to the show, chrysanthemum tea. I don't know why. I just had been in the mood when I'm filming to have this tea, so we're going to have it again today. And for those of you who have not seen this tea before, it is not exactly a tea. It's called a tisane, which means it has no caffeine. It's not a tea leaf, but it's essentially drinken like a tea. It's pretty much chrysanthemum flowers dried, and then as you can see, I'm brewing it with some hot Water and then you just let it steep for a little bit. Pour it out and then you go ahead and enjoy.

So anyways, let's talk about what a local listing or a directory citation is. So you'll notice that I will swap words a little bit. So sometimes I call it local citation, directory listing, or I'll say local listing or directory citation. They're all synonyms, so you can use it in any variation, and generally they mean the same thing. So don't be too confused if I use one or the other. They're all the same, essentially.

So what a local listing or directory citation is, is there are a lot of companies and websites out there that exists to list businesses. And what I mean by that is if you live in the West coast, you'll know these as Yelp. If you live in the East coast or Midwest, it's probably still Yelp. There's Urbanspoon, there's Foursquare, there's other sites. And yes, Foursquare is still alive. Back in the day, it used to be Yellow Pages. And now there's things like Google My Business and Facebook Coolest Businesses.

There's lots of websites out there that are built to list businesses. Now, their job is to make sure that they have the most thorough library of business listings. They'll just list them, and then their goal is to rank so that when people look for a restaurant or something, they'll look through ... You've probably done that before consumer.

What a local listing or a directory citation is, is your business information on someone's site. So if you have a profile on Yelp and you show up, that's a directory listing or a local listing or citation. So why this is important is because when it comes to Google, the best way to understand this is they need to make sure that they are returning the best results to their customers. So they need to make sure the results are relevant, real, and something that the consumer can actually get involved with, right?

So what that means though, for example, if I was looking for a restaurant, I need to make sure that the restaurant is something I'm looking for, something that's close by. It's something that's actually a real business. And that's the key, real business. It's really difficult right now online to verify that all businesses are real because a lot of people can create businesses overnight, or seemingly what looks like a business. So all the way from your trolls, all the way to an MBA college class, where for their final project, they need to create a fake business, fake name and do the whole thing to simulate their education, right?

And so how does Google tell if this company is real based on their website, when oftentimes a real business can have a not good-looking website, and even though [inaudible 00:03:31] spammy website, it might be a real website, right? So the best way Google can tell is they need to go reference information on all of these directories and libraries. So bring in the local listings and citations. Google will go to Yelp, Facebook, and all of these citation sites like Yellow Pages ... Anything I just mentioned earlier.

There's many of them. And they will reference all of these sites. And if they see your business information across all the sites, they're more confident that you're real. If you are not in these directories, there's some concern if you're real or not because why is your business information not in these directories?

So the importance is Google uses it moreso as a way to check that you're... I won't say real, but it's just a way to have confidence that you are an actual business. So the more accurate your business information and consistent is across the web. So the more consistent your name, address, phone, and site, they call it naps, is across the web, the more confidence they have that you're real, the more confidence that they will rank you. And the more confidence they have there, the more that they'll push you ahead of your competitors, if your competitors have some uncertainty about their information.

So the best way to understand directory listings and local listings or citations, is they are pretty much the foundational mark of local SEO. They are just to get you pretty much approved, essentially. Once you have your directory citations, pretty much good to go. Google's confident that you are a real business and then your next level, which is your real business, and that's great. But can you prove that your site is well optimized and it has the cache for us to rank it? So in terms of localism directory citation, the delineation I want to make sure I make is, it's a great way to build authority for your website in a sense of like, "I'm a real business." But it is not the way to link build to improve your domain authority, domain rating, or your overall strength of your website.

It's more of a foundational like, "Hey, okay, we're a real business." That's great. But the directories are not always the best way to link build. Google actually doesn't provide much link value to directories. What they do provide though is, they do provide confidence that you're a real business, but they don't assign much link value.

So in terms of how to use it, ensure that if you're going to go into local SEO, that your local citations are all done well, and they're all consistent across the web. After that, I would say, once you're there, pretty much good to go. Don't worry too much about them. Move over towards link building and trying to drive more links to your website. So directory listings and citations are a very important topic about local SEO. There's a lot of literature out there. There's a lot of services out there that help you do it. My agency, we do it for a lot of companies as well. So you can definitely find ways to improve your citation scores and everything like that.

So hopefully that's helpful. If you're going to do the local SEO, I'd really encourage you check those business information first. You can have a really strong site, but if your information is not consistent across the web, it will get in the way of your local SEO. So again, if you guys found that valuable, you liked the video, please like and subscribe. I'm going to go have my cup of tea now. And I hope to see you guys again soon. Thanks everybody. Oh.

Jason Khoo

Jason is founder and CEO of Zupo, which is an Orange County based SEO consulting agency helping construct powerful long term SEO strategies for our clients. Jason also enjoys multiple cups of tea a day, hiding away on weekends catching up on reading and rewatching The Simpsons for the 20th time.