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Do's and Don'ts of Submitting Citations for Local Search

by Jenny Foster | Updated Nov 9, 2021

In the realm of local search, citations are an important player.

A citation is a mention of a business online, specifically publishing a business's name, address and phone number. Each time the Googlebot can assign a citation to a particular business it adds to their local relevancy. Thus, giving the business a better chance in earning one the top 7 positions in the local map results.

Not all citation websites are the same however. Some allow for robust content buildout, others simply allow for submission of the business name, address and phone number - with no future edits allowed accuracy is key. I have devised a list of do’s and don’ts to help highlight the path to citation greatness.

The Do's of Submitting Citations for Local Search

Do - Submit Citations in Order of Importance/Relevancy

  • Top tier directories should be done first - Yellow Pages, Manta, HotFrog, Yelp, Etc.
  • A lot of times more established businesses will have profiles on these sites waiting to be claimed, so always search the site for existing profiles before submitting a new one.
  • David Mihm’s local search ecosystem gives a great visual to better understand the vast network of online citations.

Do - Ensure NAP Uniformity

  • Remember, NAP refers to Name, Address, Phone Number.
  • It’s best to double and triple check your work to ensure everything is correct. Slow is fast with citations;  it’s easy to create more work for yourself by submitting incorrect info.
  • While you’re searching each online directory for duplicate profiles, keep your eyes open for incorrect information about the business as well.
  • Most websites have support portals that tell you all about the process of deleting profiles and how to clean up your info.

Do - Create Unique Content

  • Many online directories allow for a business description or ‘About Us’ sections. This is an ideal spot for the Googlebot to scan for keywords, so make sure its packed with value and not wasted real estate.
  • It’s best to have a few ‘About Us’ variations to use for the purpose of citations, something that’s not duplicate content from the business’ website.
  • Also, don’t forget the pictures! Some, not all, sites allow for pictures, but they really help bring your business to life online. The more the merrier I say.

Do - Use Tools to Help:  Like BrightLocal and MozLocal

  • Most of the businesses I work with are well established, making them a great candidate for the CitationTracker tool from BrightLocal. The reports include info on NAP uniformity, Top Tier completions, and growth over time to name a few.
  • For the newer businesses that I come across, I like to use the MozLocal tool to submit them automatically to all the major data aggregators.
    • In the past it was easier and usually free to get into the top sites, but many are paid now. Instead of paying each website to host your info, you can pay MozLocal once a year ($84) to maintain your profiles and give you that much needed citation.

The Don'ts of Submitting Citations for Local Search

Don’t - Keyword Stuff

  • The Googlebot is getting smarter and smarter, it can understand conversation and no longer needs to be manipulated by adding keywords and locations to profiles.
  • A good rule: if you can’t say it in conversation, then don’t include it.

Don’t - Leave Empty Boxes

  • Fill out each citation as fully as possible. Each box is another opportunity for the search engines to scan content and assign keywords/relevancy to the business.
Screenshot from for Citation Do's and Don'ts Blog
Screenshot from


 Don’t - Assume Quantity Will Over Power Quality

  • Volume of citations does not dictate rank in the local packs.
  • Don’t pay for every citation website either, plenty of high quality citations are free, it’s okay to skip sites that ask for your credit card or proceed with the free version that has limited info displayed without payment.
  • What’s most important, is getting the search engines to successfully assign the citations to the business. The best way to ensure this is by submitting quality citations that are both complete and uniform!

Digitopia is passionate about helping businesses grow by tapping into the power of social media and SEO. To discuss how we can help you grow your business, contact us today!