Testing the Ranking Effects of Citations on Local Business Websites

Testing the Ranking Effects of Citations on Local Business Websites

Just within the last couple of weeks, I have been running an experiment on the effects of local citations on the rankings for local businesses. Because of the results of this experiment, I am hoping to launch a unique citation service within the next couple of weeks.

Why These Work Well Post-Panda

These citations are basically raw or branded linked URLs with the business address below.

There’s no need to worry about over-optimization or getting tagged for unnatural link building. These are for the most part nice authority business directories in which every business should be listed.

What The Data Tells Us

Preliminary results look really promising. For businesses that are already on the map, I’ve already been tracking some pretty decent results from landing about 40+ solid citations.

Here are a couple of screenshots of some of my test subject’s results.

Just starting to get some positive upward movement, from 4th page
4th – 2nd page
Bottom of page 1 to #1
40-something to top of 2nd page
#6 to #3 – this was an interesting project. We were given 4 keywords all on the front page and got raises across the board.

((Sorry these screenshots above were lost sometime in 2013 after this WordPress install was hacked))

Keep in mind, while the keywords themselves are usually what you’d consider being the most un-competitive in the marketing space, this ranking right here is perfect for your local clients. It’s all 100% safe ranking suitable for client work.

September 2013 Update

How Many Citations Do You Really Need To Front-Page A Local Business?

It’s difficult to say exactly how many because it all depends on the competition, but I can share a quick case study that is insightful.

A few quick takeaways:

  • Doing citations every month is probably better than doing them all at one time. A natural progression will look a lot better.
  • It takes some time before citations kick in. Google runs updates to account for the new data they get fed, so results don’t seem to be as quick as a typical link building campaign.
  • These are the bomb. The fact that you can rank a local business from nowhere to front page with purely citations is freakin’ awesome.

Here are some screenshots of what I did with a plumber. Now, remember this was done using only citations, about 30-50 per month over the span of just a couple of months.






Andrew David Scherer

My name is Andrew David Scherer and I've been involved in digital marketing since 2006.. Feel free to contact me if you have questions about marketing your local clients online, I'm always happy to help and share what I know. I've built local businesses from 0 to 6 figures in sales. Leased, sold, and rented a handful of them. And I've had hundreds of them as clients. Marketer's Center gives digital marketing consultants the ability to easily scale their local marketing agencies in a way that isn't labor-intensive and still very profitable. If you want to get my "6 Month SEO Plan" please request a free reseller dashboard account here. You'll also be able to download a price list for all of the services we offer. You can connect with me via Facebook in our Local Marketing Freethinkers group, or via Twitter and Linkedin.

  • Don

    Good to know that citations are still important for local. Thanks for the case study!

  • Rich

    Hi I’m already listed in google places for front page but I am trying to be number 1…will this service help move me up on google places rankings?

    1. Andrew Scherer

      Yes, I’ve had the best results from citations with sites that were already ranking somewhere on 1-3rd page. Citations will help you move up in the listing, as well as reviews. But it is hard to control reviews, so citations are your best bet IMO.

  • Josh

    Can you show us an example site with the exact type of local
    citation you are talking about?

    1. Andrew Scherer

      Manta, Yelp, Hotfrog, etc.. are all popular ones.

  • Anthony Brooks

    Hey Andrew!

    I’ve done some cleanups from you guys which I’d highly recommend to everyone by the way, and added citations with your services and my rankings seem to keep going up!

    I’ve gone from page 2 to page 1 simply doing a cleanup and adding about 50 citations.

    Some of my clients I haven’t even needed other links to get significant rankings increases.

    You guys have some good things going on here!

    Thanks for what you guys do!

    – Anthony

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