How to create very high value citations for Google Local

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  • December 17, 2010

Google Local works based on citations and the more citations you have the higher your listing will rank. A citation is basically a mention of your business address of phone number on a website that Google trusts as a data provider.

The standard advice is to list your website in as many of the major citation providers as possible which is a good strategy until all your competitors do the same thing. Citation building is the same as link-building, you need to get the sort of citations that your competitors can’t get.

One of the best ways to do this is to build a custom relationship with a partner which is trusted by Google to give citation data but in a sector not directly related to yours. As an example if you had a chain of restaurants you could approach a hotel reviews website and pay for a sponsored section on each of their city & town pages listing the 3 nearest restaurants from your chain.

The best way to demonstrate this is to show an example of how Halfords citations are being pulled from the excellent website. The site has a very useful feature where it shows the nearest Halfords to each campsite so that caravan owners can buy spare parts etc.

If you have a look at the place page for Halfords you can see that Google is pulling all of the data from the source site into the Halfords listing as a citation.

Now obviously Halfords and are not intentionally trying to do this to get citations, they have a very useful feature and Google is misinterpreting the page data.

However I’m sure you can see how there is a lot of potential for this to be intentionally abused by people who are willing to pay websites purely to get lots of valuable citations.

Patrick Altoft

About Patrick Altoft

Patrick is the Director of Strategy at Branded3 and has spent the last 11 years working on the SEO strategies of some of the UK's largest brands. Patrick’s SEO knowledge and experience is highly regarded by many, and he’s regularly invited to speak at the world’s biggest search conferences and events.

  • BlueGreen SEO

    Excellent, a good example of how a company can use the chain to increase their exposure. It’s good that Google has, intentionally or not, taken this into consideration. I’d stay near Tryfan though, great area :)

  • carolinelbell

    QUOTE: “Now obviously Halfords and are not intentionally trying to do this to get citations, they have a very useful feature and Google is misinterpreting the page data.”

    Google are misinterpreting so much data on Local that it’s a bit of a joke. Would be good if they paused to refine the features and services they currently offer and hit the pause button on new ones for a while.

  • Jonathan

    Ref my comment: Post; Local in The UK / Patrick Altoft on December 14, 2010
    Jonathan 15 Dec 2010 at 11:39 am
    Jonathan 19 Dec 2010 at 10:47 am
    Would Google Local list and others individually subject to there local area ex – – where before Google would have counted (local service or not) any-more than one as farming?

  • Michael Jones

    How would you go about finding Google’s partner sites? In the U.S., insiderpages is a big one with reviews and such. But it would be great to know where I would find a list of these companies. Thoughts?

  • BlueGreen SEO

    @Michael Get Listed has a few once you’ve enter your company details. A nice tip is just to check on the citations of the listings you’re trying to compete against in your target area – also look in other locations to try and use citations others may not have.

  • malechitech

    @bluegreenseo thank you!

  • Krest

    Thanks for the information, but i have a question to ask, what is google citation? am a newbie

  • Craig Addyman

    “A citation is basically a mention of your business address of phone number on a website that Google trusts as a data provider”

  • JohnMcNally

    I like the way Google Local works Patrick. It rewards real local businesses as opposed to national companies with local offices.

    Now that I’m aware of this I have started leaving my location with my signature. 😉

    Leamington Spa, England

  • Search Monkey

    Its seems to work well to do directory submissions in the major local search directories as well as trying to get links from your local chamber of commerce or even the better business bureau. Of course, mentions from yelp and review sites will authenticate the listing as well.

  • Web SEO Company

    Nice work
    excellent views about increasing citations for place.
    Citation stands for – your data that can be fetched by google from a trustworthy sites like, phone number , name or address.

    I can say directory submission,business listing can help in this matter .

  • Vlad

    Good article, but the article doesn’t go too deep into the “how” part of the citation creation. It would’ve made it a more valuable read.

  • Paul

    Local as you all probably know by now is the big thing in this year, last year and probably for a another year or two to come.

    If you have multiple stores/sites you can create multiple listings. However if you have only one ‘store’ but service many areas you should not as that is spamming or farming. You can take advantage of the ‘areas we server’ feature instead.

    if you have multiple sites for the same service then create separate listings and accounts for each.

    Remember if you listing gets banned than its usually banned for good.

  • the english effect

    Good to see that Google is working to make the local thing effective for larger chains too.

    It’s an interesting angle, but maybe a little time consuming for non-pros…

    Certainly a useful tool for tricky to rank clients in packed sectors.

    I’m looking forward to using this method with restaurants and other service industries, where I susspect this could be a really useful tactic.

    Thanks for sharing…
    Enrico @ The English Effect

  • Jonathan

    Paul@ 07 Feb 2011 at 11:56 pm

    Thank you, good quality advice. I guess one way to create multiple listings safely is to have a generic name for the main site ex and list / PlumberHarrogate / ……………. ??????? Your comment please.

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