When you say "good enough" do you mean to rank? To rank #1?
So let's talk about local citations, anyone can go to a forum and buy 300 citations for their business, will it help them rank? That depends:
is their local business or service competitive?
is their website optimized for the local keywords?
does the citation directory source have traffic or authority?
But just firing off 300 citations isn't optimal imo, and enough to rank in competitive niches. What good will it help an insurance agent to have a citation on tripadvisor or urban spoon?
Just like with social media profile links, or forum links relevance is key. Next consideration for a citation/directory is the traffic the site gets, if there isn't any not only will it not connect visitors with the business (because there isn't any), but it won't help with ranking either.
Imo you need proper site structure, keyword targeting (on site and off site), citations, and relevant backlinks to both your niche and geolocal service area. To me that's good enough, but then again can't say without the location or niche, it could be incredibly easy or downright impossible...
My bad. No. At that point unless they have measurable traffic that can come back through to your site, adding a few more citations beyond the big data aggregators will not in impact local rankings to any measurable degree imo.
Of course besides ranking and traffic, additional citations add relevance and diversity to one's backlink profile, which are benefits of their own.
Maybe if hypothetically two very close sites had similar content, created at the very same time, with the same backlinks, maybe a some more citations that have authority would help out.
But for major metropolitan areas with populations 200k+ citations aren't enough to rank let alone x amount vs x amount of citations imo.
Jim, Phil Rozek and Darren Shaw seem to be very confident that after 50 citations (even that might be a little high, I can't remember the exact number they give) that it's not worth it. I imagine they have based that on their work on citations, which with Darren is definitely extensive, and I would imagine Phil's is too.
For myself, I'm not sure I exactly believe that but have zero data to back it up.
So you choose what to believe
Plus, in our experience there's barely 70 general citation sources out there you can submit to anyway where you are able to change your information on demand, which is a citation quality element that is often overlooked. It does you no good, makes you look bad, and can hurt your customer's ranking if they move, change brands, etc. and you can't update that citation for them. So, if there's barely 70 general sites you can submit to, in the end it's not that big of a difference whether you go with 50 or 70 more than likely.
There is some great advice on this thread - sound, considered & practical.
Ranking well in local search requires effective optimization on many fronts - on-site structure, relevant content, links & citations.
Citations aren't a silver bullet that will drive a business from no-rank to top 3 unless they already have other areas optimized or their industry/location is not competitive.
For 90% of businesses, getting accurate & complete citations on the most important 50 sites is enough. This will give them the lions share of the authority that citations can provide. It's important to be listed on niche/industry sites & local sites as well as high authority sites such as Yelp. These sites provide additional local indicators & service-indicators to Google about the business.
Great to see such good advice coming through the LSF community!
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