Local SEO for Advisors: Creating Citations

What is a Citation?

A Citation is an online business directory where you can register your business. 

Although they play less of a role in Local Rankings than they did a few years ago, there are still benefits to creating citations.

  1. Local Search Rankings: The more places that your business is accurately “cited”, the easier it is for the Search Engines to find your business, and the more confidence they have in listing it on the search engine results pages.
  2. Referral Traffic: Most citations have the potential to send referral traffic to your website.
  3. Signal Relevance: A highly focused citation (i.e. location or industry focused) may provide extra relevancy signals to the search engines.
  4.  Build Authority: Citations may provide a backlink (albeit a weak one), to help build your site’s perceived authority.

Best Practices for Creating Citations

  1. Make sure that your NAP (business Name, Address, and Phone number) is listed consistently across the web.
  2. If your NAP changes in any way, remember to update all citations.
  3. Include your address on every page of your website. The footer can be a good place for this.
  4. Use a local phone number rather than a toll-free number.
  5. If you have offices or stores in multiple locations, try to have a separate page for each rather than listing them all on one “Contact Us”  page. Use a different local number for each location.
  6. Most citations have a “premium” option, however, I don’t recommend paying for most citations. The exceptions are those citations that are important in your community (i.e. chamber of commerce), the financial planning industry (i.e. FPA, NAPFA, etc), or to your target audience.

Not all Citations are Created Equally

Some citations are more important than others.

  1. Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business page)
  2.  Social Media Sites: LinkedIn and Facebook
  3. Financial Industry Citations: industry associations like…
    • Fee-Only Network
    • Smart Asset
    • NAPFA
    • CFP
    • FPA
    • XYPN
    • wealthtender
  4. Other Local Search Engines:
  5. Super Aggregators: there are 3 primary aggregators for local search data. These send out information to the U.S. search engines and other business directories.

According to BrightLocal, the top niche citations for Financial Services Businesses are (note, these may not all be relevant to your specific business):

More Citation Sites to Get You Started

In addition, you could get started by setting up directories like:

Note: I am recommending the FREE version of these sites. Sometimes it looks like you have to pay, but if you scroll down, or look around, there is a Free option available.

Finding More Citation Opportunities

1. Search: Use industry and location-based search queries to find directories or business listings that you could use for citations. Search:

  • City + Directory
  • City + Business Listings
  • Industry + Directory
  • Industry + Business Listings
  • City + Blog (for possible links)
  • Industry + Blog (for possible
  • links)

For example, I could search Boise + Directory, Boise + Business Listings, or SEO + Directory.

2. Look at Your Competitor’s Citations:

Your competitors, especially those that appear higher in the rankings than you, may have found other opportunities for citations. To analyze their citations, type the business name, and either the address or phone number, in quotation marks in the Google search bar. The search engine results page will probably show many listings, including some from citation-type websites.

3. Local Citation Tools: There are many of these available. I work with both Whitespark and BrightLocal – both offer free tools to check your citations.

Citation building is part of our SEO Accelerant Framework

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