The Three Most Important Citations for a Consistent Online Brand

Dun & Bradstreet, Assumed Names & Secretary of State Records

But First, Are Citations Still Important for Search Rankings?

In regards to Local search engine optimization, citations are mentions of a business name, address and phone on an authoritative site, and they still play a role in rankings online. Search engines like Google use this data to understand where your business is located and what it is called.

In the most recent Moz study of Local SEO ranking factors, citation consistency is still a top contributor. 15.5% of the reason your business or a competitor ranks well in local results is due to a consistent business name, address and phone number online.

Brand signals are also becoming more important in 2015 and will continue to affect organic results. The number of customers searching for your business name in Google, is a widely speculated ranking factor, revealing strong brand awareness. Press and media should refer to your business name and products correctly, spelled correctly. Ideally, all online mentions of the business name and address, should match Dun & Bradstreet, Assumed Name Records and Tax Records.

These three citations in particular are often overlooked by business owners and SEO consultants, yet reveal issues in NAP (name, address and phone) and the brand, that can plague a business online and cause more headaches if ignored.

The Most Official Citations

Dun & Bradstreet, Doing Business As (DBA) or Assumed Name records and Secretary of State Listings are the most official citations, created when the business was originally started or each year during tax season. Dun & Bradstreet is the oldest business directory in existence, since 1841. That predates YELP by a few years I believe!

The first task of a local SEO campaign is to lock down the business data: the official business name, address, phone, website, pictures, categories etc. Here’s the problem, you can’t simply ask the business owner what the official name of the business is… In the same way you should check address formatting using the USPS zip code tool, it should be a mandatory step to check the legal business name on all three of these official sources.

More reasons why these three citations are important

  1. The NAP is indexed by Google and visible to customers
  2. The NAP is shared with other data aggregators, meaning inconsistency on these three citations will affect many other sites.
  3. The NAP is official government information and a strong signal of brand name and geolocation signals.

Ready to get started? Find out how to update and claim these citations in the following guide. As a bonus, we will even address several common questions around business names and the implications it can have online.

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