How to Claim and Verify Your Online Business Listings to Grow Citations

Citations and backlinks are still the backbone of any local SEO strategy. A citation is an online reference to your business’ name, address and phone number (NAP). Online referral services use citations to list businesses such as Google, Yellowpages, Angie’s List etc. Unlike a backlink, a citation does not need to link back to your website for you to gain credit and the accompanying SEO juice. As long as the NAP information is correct and congruent across your entire web presence; website, Google My Business, referral sites, social media, etc. then you are reaping the benefits of your citations. If your NAP is inconsistent or contains errors, Google’s search algorithm will become confused, hurting your search ranking and causing you to miss out on valuable search engine traffic.

Claiming Your Online Business Listings

So how do you claim and verify your online citations? Services like Google pull citation information from the databases of large business data aggregators. While you can alter NAP info directly in Google My Business, Google still checks this info against the data of these aggregators. To ensure your NAP info is correct and consistent you want to cut out the middleman and head straight to the source.

There are 4 major business data aggregators responsible for most business citations in the US, Acxiom, Infogroup, Neustar / Localeze and Factual. You will want to visit each of these sites and either claim your listing or verify the information within to ensure its accuracy. Each site has a slightly different way of claiming your business. Most require you have access to the phone line with which your main business phone number is connected so you can receive a verification call or text. In some cases, or if you cannot access your main business phone, you may be required to scan and send in a copy of your LLC or DBA.

Just be sure to keep all of your business info consistent. If you include a 1 in front of your phone number in one listing, be sure it’s there in all listings. If you include LLC or Inc at the end of your business name, it must be present across all platforms.

Take a look at some of our other posts about SEO to learn more. And as always, if you have any questions about web marketing or want to take your business to the next level, drop us a line!

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