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Local SEO: The Ultimate Guide

Local Citations

After your Google My Business page is set up and optimized, you’ll want to get NAP citations.

What does NAP mean?

NAP stands for Name, Address, Phone number. More recently a few terms have been thrown around like NAPU (Name, Address, Phone Number URL) or NAPW (Name, Address, Phone Number, Website).

You’ll want to get NAP citations on relevant directories around the web for a few reasons:

  1. According to the latest studies by Moz, Citation signals account for 13% of the ranking factors!
  2. Many people ALSO use these directories to search for businesses (not just on Google!)
  3. Many of these directories rank for localized terms
  4. You can also get a relevant link to your site by creating a listing!

As you can see, having correct NAP citation is important for lots of reasons!

Citation Consistency

Citation inconsistency can cause ranking issues.

Sometimes business can run into a pickle if somethings has changed like your address or phone number. It’s time to do an audit to make sure all your citations are consistent.

Why is that important?

A citation is any online reference to your NAP. It does not need to link to you, but Google evaluates them as a local signal to determine an entity’s online authority.

Having inaccurate and inconsistent NAP can negatively affect your local SEO.

According to Search Engine Land columnist Myles Anderson, citation inconsistency is actually the no. 1 issue affecting local SEO ranking.

If you have too many variations of your NAP scattered around the web, especially if some or many of those are outdated, this makes it hard for customers and thus, Google, to trust your information. If Google thinks your data is untrustworthy, this could downgrade your local search ranking.

So, how do you check for citation consistency?

How To Audit And Optimize Your Local Citations

The most complete way to do a citation audit is to do it manually and uncover all listings and variations of your NAP.

But if you just want to do a quick check, you can use Moz Local.

Enter your business name in the input bar to the left, and your zip code to the right, then click Check my Business Listing.

Moz Local Citation

Moz local pulls up all corresponding listings related to your website from the main local indexing platforms (high authority resource listings that will have the most impact) and displays any inconsistencies it finds.

Once you see these inconsistencies, record them in a spreadsheet and make a note to contact the website owners to correct the NAP info with the one that’s consistent with what you have.

The results from Moz local are limited to the top indexing platforms that Moz has tagged, so it is possible that you may still have citations from other less authoritative or structured sources.

These other citations may have less of an impact,  and it will take you time to do a proper audit for every last one, but if you’re so inclined, we created a citation audit and cleanup services that can do a more comprehensive, in-depth job for you.

Another alternative is to use our citation audit service – it’s relatively inexpensive and we’re pros at it.

After you have audited your citations, you can move on to building citations.

How To Build Local NAP Citations

All businesses are different, and you’ll want to create custom citations based on your industry and area. 2 good places to start with creating directory citations are these lists:

With these lists, you can find the TOP directories that you should be listed in based on your situation.

When building these listings, you’ll want to make sure to fully fill out the profile, including your business description, hours, photos, NAP, and more.

Citations can be a bit of a pain to create yourself though, which is why we created a service that will do this for you called HOTH Local!

Next, we’ll move on to optimizing your website!

Additional Resources:

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