I’ve noticed that every year people say that citations are less and less important. I’m wondering if any of you pros have an updated list of directories that you still think are important for local SEO?
@JoyHawkins thank you for so kindly recommending our lists! I just wanted to make a full disclosure that the lists have not been updated in a while. We are planning on making some changes to them in the next few weeks.
The most important changes that have taken place in regards with the US list include:
@DavidGetty my humble opinion is that citations have become a victim of their own success. This, together with some search engine algorithms becoming more sophisticated in the way they handle business data, has made it look like citations are less important in absolute terms. There is nothing in the filed patents by Google, for instance, to suggest such a change in the algorithmic value of business mentions.
- Foursquare and Factual have merged. Factual no longer exists as a separate platform.
- Yellowbook no longer accept free listings (see attached screenshot).
- We have removed Local.com, Insiderpages, and a few other sites from our lists as they either no longer get listings added/updated, or the sites are no longer moderated at all.
- Infogroup has rebranded as DataAxle.
Over time, more and more businesses have been getting listed on a broader range of business directories. If 10 years ago it could have been enough for a business to be listed on a handful of business directories to have more business citations than their direct competitor, nowadays that would rarely move the needle. That is not to say that setting up hundreds of listings would help much, it just means that the top competitors in an industry might all be listed on the top 30 most important citation sources, so in relative terms, having these citations won't make a positive difference to an up-and-coming business.
Additionally, Google have become very sophisticated in the way they handle business data. While years ago it was very possible for even a couple of incorrect business records around the web to result in a split of data in Google's business data clusters, that is no longer the case. Such a split meant that the "trustworthiness" score of a single record dropped - as some of that added trustworthiness by the extra citations went to the other record, and as the overall trustworthiness of the data was reduced due to the contradiction of existing records with different business data. Again, this is not to say that incorrect business data online shouldn't be fixed (it most certainly should be), it just means that in relative terms, the chance of such incorrect data causing as severe problems as it used to in the distant past might be lower, specifically on Google Maps (not necessarily on other search engines or navigation platforms).
I hope this helps.
I built some pages with auto generated content using an API. On those pages I added the name of local business, address, phone number and a custom description.
I did this without knowing that I was "building" citations for other businesses.
I'm surprised that when I was checking local business competitors, when I checked their profiles, Google shows at the bottom my website. How is that possible? The only link in those pages is a link to my page, no links to competitors.
How can you explain that?
To me is simply:
Google clearly identify those NAPs, and assign it with the GBP.
If Citations are a ranking factor, that's another topic that I can discuss.
But saying that Citations are worthless because "there are no patents", that's wrong.
The days of NAP consistency have long been over. I have seen too many businesses rank with incorrect, incomplete, or missing citations. The reason that citations have any value is that they can be the difference to trigger an autocomplete result or a KP. The days of needing to buy 1000's citations are over. I use Yext to that does everything I need for my clients. Directories are a different breed and if I find a directory website A. showing up for my searches or maybe my competitor is listed there, then I will get listed it.
I am interested in your comment that you inadvertently created citations for other businesses. I would love to see how Google sees and recognizes those citations.