How to build High Quality Citations?

by Sergiu Draganus

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What is a Citation?

A citation is the mention of your Business Name, Address and Phone Number. It is one of the most important factors used by Google algorithm to understand the level of Local SEO Authority for a certain URL.

After running an analysis on a high number of websites ranking on top Gooogle Rankings we’ve discovered 3 different things:

  1. Citations Number – is one of the most important factors correlated with top ranking websites, but only up to a certain level
  2. Citation Source Quality – is very important to have citations on high quality websites related to your industry
  3. Citation Source Local Authority – need to identify citation sources with high authority on the location your are targeting

This is the reason why Generic Citation Lists will not provide a competitive advantage. Using large public citation source lists, the same as your competitors will not bring you any extra advantages and Google will make the difference on other factors when will chose which site to rank on top.

To improve rankings you need to build Citations on Sources with a High Local Authority on the Industry you are targeting.

The question is: How to discover best Citation Sources for your Local Business?

Here’s a very good way to identify the best local citation sources using Google and a reverse engineering algorithm.

First of all be sure you have chose the right keywords to run the algorithm on.  In order to have good results be sure you are running the algorithm on implicit keyword. To understand which keywords are better you shall read the next article:

Lets take for example the keyword “law office” and run a Google search query on it. I will do the test with an Internet IP address from Miami, FL. The top results are from the Map Pack in this case:


In case the results were Organic only or Local Carousel Results you shall ran the same algorithm. To understand why Google generate different type of SERPs ( Organic, Maps + Organic or Local Carousel ) you shall check the next article:

  • Open each different website and try to identify the Name, Address and Phone number. In this example things are easy because the Maps Pack is already listing them.
  • For each different NAP discovered run the next Google Search Query

“Brand Name” “phone number” “address” -site:domain.tld

ex: “Greenberg Traurig” “(305) 579-0500″ “333 SE 2nd Ave” Miami

Result: the Best Citation Sources used by ”Greenberg Traurig” for ranking on TOP position on Miami

Citation List



As you can see local yahoo com and citysearch com are the only 2 citation sources listed on the public citations list. The sources are the ones Google consider to be the most important for this company.

  • run the same algorithm on all other keywords and website listed on Google SERPs.
  • save all citation sources in a Spreadsheet  and remove duplicates.
  • start building citations on each of those sources
  • monitor the Local Rankings  and you will see first improvements in less than 2-3 weeks

Please note that:

  • you should claim your listing on Google Maps before starting the citation building process
  • NAP Consistency – the Name, the address and the phone number need to be the same as the one used when registering on Google Maps
  • best is to have your website connected to your Google+ Business Page ( or Google+ Local Page ) – this step is not mandatory

In order to discover citation sources for a large number of keywords and location at the time GeoRanker Citation Source Finder Tool can be very helpful – for this you need to register a free account with GeoRanker. It will not only discover them in only few minutes, but the technology used is optimized to discover High Authority Citation Sources for Implicit Keywords.

For building the citations you shall use professional services as the ones provided by Nyagoslav Zhekov from NGSMarketing

Sergiu Draganus – who has written posts on Local SEO Blog.

  • Matthew Hunt

    Sergiu – nice post. and your tools is great!

    • Sergiu Draganus

      Thank Matthew!

  • Christopher Arnell

    Great post! TY for the info.

    • Sergiu Draganus

      Thanks Christopher!

  • Mozalami

    Good recap except that when you have 400 stores or you’ve agency running tactics for 10 clients on 20 keywords each this is not scalabale I would prefer rather to run your local citation finder tool. I noted the vote for that’s wired as the client should take care of that but in any case 3.50 per citation is not the best price in the market.

    • Sergiu Draganus

      For a large no of keywords and locations is mandatory to use a discovery tool to do the job, as it will take too much to do it one by one.

      From my POV the price for citations building is always relative as the client should always check what services he gets for the money he pay. There are two different types of building citations:

      1) directory submission – which is the basic one – where you only need to post your NAP and that’s all – it will take no more than 4-5 minutes – but this is something you can do your own – and for sure most of your competitors are doing the same

      2) building citations on any other type of websites which has a High Local Authority for your Industry – this is the most important one – the one providing real competitive advantage – but, sometimes, building citations on those website might be tricky, as you can not find only a registration button and is more than a 5 minutes job. Those types of website also requires content to post citations – and as we all now, good quality content ( different content for each different citation ) has also a cost.

      An expert will share with his client other type of hints as which categories are best for him, how many citations shall register at once and even how to automate a part of the citation building process ( and I am not referring hear to generic citation sources aggregators ), but to industry secrets which are know and discovered only by the ones building citations and running tests on daily basis.

      • Mozalami

        I agree about quality versus quantity but we have here in Canada shipper services that provide both ;)

  • Andy Williams

    Really good overview, such an important element and possibly the factor that is totally overlooked by so many online businesses simply because they have no idea how powerful a good citation can be.

    Great post.

    • Sergiu Draganus

      Thanks Andy!

      The Goal of this article is to explain how powerful citations are together with the new approach of custom citation sources list for each different keyword and location targeted, which can bring competitive advantages compared to the generic citation lists where all other local competitors are registering.

  • Roland Omene

    I am a small business owner who is new to local SEO. How do I add all my targeted keywords in my google plus page or google place listing? I see just the option to select the category of my business.

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