Is There A Difference Between Good Citations and Bad Citations?

Citations are among the most important parts of your business’s local SEO campaign. Why? Because they tell Google that you are who you say you are. They tell Google that you’re trustworthy.

However, not all citations are created equal. Some can actually harm rather than help your business. In this article, you’ll learn about what makes a great citation and what makes a bad one.

With the right citations, you’ll be getting more leads than you know what to do with!

What Is a Citation?

Every time your business’s name, address, and phone number (NAP) are listed in a business directory is a citation. Citations are like references for your business. They show Google that directories and other sites trust your business and would recommend you to their users. Having lots of good (and accurate) citations will help you rank better on Google Maps.

The Accuracy of Citations

Your business’s citations need to be accurate! This means up-to-date information concerning your enterprise’s name, address, and phone number.

If you’ve moved to a new location, have a new business name, or have made updates to your contact info, make sure that all your citations are updated to reflect these changes.

Not only is the accuracy of your citations extremely important for Google, but you won’t be misleading would-be clients with misinformation!

The Consistency of Citations

Just as it’s important that citations be accurate, it’s important that all citations show the same information. When Google cross-references your NAP with the information about you that’s available online, it recognizes inconsistencies and may penalize you for it.

Be sure that your NAP is the same in every business directory. This is particularly important if you are a newer business or have had changes to your business’s NAP.

With all the information consistent, you’ll be well on your way to establishing trust and authority in both your industry and location!

The Completeness of Citations

Your citations should all include your name, address, and phone number. Citations that do not include the name, address, and phone number for your business are referred to as partial citations. Partial citations can affect your SEO.

Ensure that all your citations are complete and include a link to your website if you have the option. A complete citation is a useful one!

The Credibility of Directories and Citation Placements

The location of your citations says just as much about your business about the citations themselves.

When looking through online directories, social media platforms, and other online resources, make sure they are legitimate and credible.

Some business listing networks will automatically create listings on dozens, if not hundreds, of low-quality domains when you submit just one. Having your NAP listed in the darker corners of the internet could end up damaging your SEO rather than helping it. If you’re not sure, just ask someone!

Structured and Unstructured Citation Placement

There are two types of citations: structured and unstructured.

Structured citations contain your NAP on a business directory. Examples include Yelp, Yellow Pages, MapQuest, Google Maps, Facebook, and the like.

An unstructured citation is essentially a citation anywhere else— any site that is not a business directory. Blogs, magazines, and newspaper sites would all be examples.

Make use of both in your SEO campaign— both to increase your online presence and to reach a broader scope of clients!


For all your local SEO needs and inquiries, the online marketing specialists at LinkNow Media are here to help. Reach out to us today by email at or leave us a comment below!


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