Google runs on a trust factor and user experience. The cleaner and more authoritative citation profile you have, the more likely Google will see you as a trusted business that they’ll display higher in the SERPS.

If your Google My Business listing is set up and your on-page SEO is handled, then it’s time to start building citations.

I recommend building your citations manually (rather than using a service like Yext). Though it may save time up front, it can create a huge hassle later on should you ever want to remove your citations.

The benefits of manual citation building (versus automatic):

  • No subscription fees
  • Control each listing with a unique login
  • Easily fix any NAP discrepancies
  • No listing removal

Manual citation building is the way to go, but you don’t have to do everything by hand. A service like Moz Local will get you set up in the big four aggregators and uncover NAP inconsistencies.

1. Audit Your Citations

Before building any citations, you need an idea of the work that’s already been done. Even if the business (or its previous Local SEO agency) didn’t build any citations, there’s a good chance its NAP data has been scraped and added to local aggregators.

Main things to look out for with an audit:

  • NAP errors an inconsistencies
  • Closed or duplicate listings

If everything checks out, it’s time to look for opportunities. Start by spying on your competitors using a tool like BrightLocal or Whitespark. Both tools show a list of the citations built by your competitors.

Write down a list of their citations; you’ll want to add them later.

2. Build Citations

After finishing the citation audit, you should have a prioritized list of citations to build.

To start, focus on these three types of citations:

  1. Big directories (eg, Yelp and Facebook)
  2. Big niche-specific directories
  3. Locally-relevant directories

For niche-specific citations, check out BrightLocal’s 1000+ Niche Citation Sites for 41 Business Categories. For location-specific citations, browse through this guide: Local Citation Sites for Top 100 USA Cities

After adding your business to the major directories and niche/location-specific sites, begin building those competitor citations you found from Section 1.

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