How to Rank Locally

Chapter 2. Build Local Citations

1. What are Local Citations

Citations are online mentions of your local business, that typically display your company details: name, address and phone number—also known as NAP.


There are two main types of citations: 

  • structured and 
  • unstructured (inconsistent).

– Simply said, structured are those where the NAP information is layed in a visually well‐structured way. Example of structured citations are those from social profiles, business directories,  etc.

– Inconsistent citations are considered the mentions of your company layed in an unstructured format (didn’t see that coming, right!?). These types of citations can be found in blog articles, on newspaper websites, etc.

2. Why Are Citations Important?

There are two major reasons floating online of why accurate and consistent  citations count:

  • Citations are one of the top-ranking factors (when talking for Local businesses). This is true for both Local and Organic searches. What is the logic here? Well, structuredNAP data (over the web) helps to further confirm the information Google has for a particular company. Unstructured NAP data, on the other hand, leads to confusion, misleads and misdirects search engines and the browsing All this equals to poor user experience — that’s something Google isn’t a fan of.


  • Google isn’t the only search engine people search for companiesThey also search via Facebook, directories, etc. Having a correctNAP published on those websites will help eventual customers find your business easier, which will result in more revenue.

What’s next? Run a Citation Audit!

If you are running your business for more than a year, most likely you already have some citations. To be fair, most of them will be incomplete or incorrect (unless you had somebody creating them).

Some will be with correct business, but wrong address and phone number. Others – correct company name and address, but an old phone number. And there is a 3rd option – some may be with partial information— a.k.a. company name and phone number, but no address.

Take a look at how Europcar London Heathrow Apt Prestige displays their phone number as +44 (0371) 3843410 on their webpage.

But their Yelp page shows 0371 384 3410.
That’s an example of incorrect NAP data online—it should be fixed.


SIDENOTE: Have in mind that both of these phone numbers work, but for the citation purposes, it’s better to pick one number and stick to it. This would ensure consistency online.

How to find incomplete, and incorrect NAP citations?

Next – Perform an Audit in the Big „Suppliers“

Like the Central Index. Auditing your listings on websites like this one can help you eventually update tens of inaccurate citations.

Do a Manual NAP Audit

Fixing the big ones won’t clean up all the citations. I am pretty sure you will still have some incomplete or incorrect information out there. If that’s the case, you need to run for a manual audit and then cleanup. It starts by using Google’s search operators.

You can use some of these Search Operators in order to find incomplete citations:

  • “Correct phone number” + “partial address” – ”business name”
  • “Business name” + “partial address” -”correct phone number”
  • “Business name” + “correct phone number” -”partial address”

For example, I browsed for „0371 384 3410 + TW6 2QE – europcar“ and this popped out:

When I checked other citation listings of this branch, I found that the business name is displayed differently.

Now … Google still knows this is the same business branch! But having a competitor with correct and better-structured citations will indicate that it is more relevant and maintained, so it is more likely for Google to rank it higher.

The very same way, you can search for incorrect NAP citations:

  • “Business name” + “correct phone number” + ”old/incorrect partial address”
  • “Business name” + “partial address” +”old/incorrect phone number”
  • “Correct phone number” + ”correct partial address” + “old business name”

You know how to proceed from here.

Go ahead now and create a list of the incomplete and incorrect citations of your business. Update with the correct one – you might need to claim those citations or contact their support for further assistance.

That should keep you busy for a few days! Go on, play around. Our next article will come out shortly!