If you start investigating local web search and Google Local Business Center (GLBC), you'll find that "citations" are important to your ability to rank in Google local search. If you're not familiar with Google Local Search, see my previous post called Getting Found in Google Local Search.
In fact "citations" along with inbound links are generally considered the second most important ranking factor after the actual content of your GLBC listing. Some local search specialists consider citations and links the most important factor - outweighing even the contents of your actual GLBC listing.
A "citation" is not the same as a link. It is a "web reference' found on some site other than your own which contains information about your business. According to David Mihm , a citation "always contains your business address and/or phone number."
The most important places to get citations are major directories such as
- Online Yellow Pages
and many others, as well as well recognized local directories and websites specific to your local area.
To find out which directories and sites Google considers important for citations, do a local search for the keyword you want to rank in (for example, "Kitchener Real Estate" or "Toledo Realtors" and then look at the current "more info" tab of your highest ranking competitors to get an idea of what resources are referring to them. Then try to get yourself listed there too.
Having a consistent business description (address, phone number, website, email address, description) is important. An effective way to spread your standard business listing information to a large number of online directories is to use the submission service available from Universal Business Listings ($30).