Local SEO Citations Guide for your ABA Therapy Practice

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Local SEO is essential for businesses aiming to enhance their online presence. A fundamental element of local SEO is the use of citations, but only some people are familiar with what citations are and how they work.

What Are Local SEO Citations?

A local SEO citation is any mention of a business’s name, address, and phone number (NAP) on the internet. These mentions can appear on local business directories, websites, social platforms, and more. Unlike links that direct back to your website, citations don’t need to include a hyperlink to be effective for SEO purposes. They serve as a reference to your business, helping search engines understand where and what your business is.

Types Of Citations

When optimizing for local SEO, understanding the different types of citations can significantly impact your strategy. Citations generally fall into two main categories: structured and unstructured citations.

Structured Citations

Structured citations are your business listings that appear in a consistent format across various directories and platforms. These are typically found on business directories like Google My Business, Yelp, Bing Places for Business, and industry-specific directories. A structured citation includes your business’s name, address, phone number (NAP), and, depending on the platform, additional information like your website URL, business hours, and categories. The standardized format of structured citations makes it easier for search engines to recognize and index your business information, contributing positively to your local SEO.

Unstructured Citations

Unstructured Citations on the other hand, occur when your business is mentioned in a less formal or standardized way. These can include mentions of your business in local newspaper articles, blog posts, or on various websites that aren’t specifically business directories. An unstructured citation might not include all of your NAP information or present it in a consistent format. However, these citations are equally important as they contribute to the overall visibility and credibility of your business online. Unstructured citations signal to search engines that your business is being talked about, which can enhance your local search rankings.

Citation Strategy

Both types of citations play a critical role in local SEO. Structured citations help search engines easily find and verify your business information, directly impacting your local search rankings. Unstructured citations, while less direct, contribute to your business’s overall online presence and authority, indirectly boosting SEO. A balanced approach that incorporates both structured and unstructured citations can effectively enhance your business’s visibility and credibility online, making it easier for potential customers to find you.

Why Are Citations Important for Local SEO?

Citations are important for local SEO because they improve a business’s online credibility, visibility, and ranking. Search engines like Google rely on citations to confirm the accuracy of your business details. Accurate citations across various platforms increase your business’s chances of appearing in local search results, making it easier for potential customers to find you. Additionally, businesses with more citations tend to rank higher than those with fewer, emphasizing their importance in an SEO strategy.

How to Create Effective Citations

Creating effective citations involves more than just listing your business on various websites. Here are some guidelines to ensure your citations strengthen your local SEO efforts:

Maintain Consistency

The accuracy and consistency of your NAP information across all platforms are crucial. Even minor discrepancies, like differences in abbreviations or spelling, can confuse search engines and dilute your SEO efforts.

Choose The Right Platforms

Not all directories are created equal. Focus on reputable platforms relevant to your location and industry. Start with major directories like Google My Business, Yelp, and the Better Business Bureau, then move on to local and niche-specific directories.

Monitor and Update Regularly

Business information changes and directories can sometimes contain errors. Regularly check your citations across all platforms and update them as needed to ensure accuracy.

How to Get Your Citations Listed

Boost your business’s online presence with local SEO by choosing one of three primary strategies for listing your citations: 

  1. Manual Entry: Directly input your business details into directory sites to ensure the accuracy.
  2. Hiring a Service: Save time by employing a service to handle these submissions on your behalf.
  3. Aggregator Services: Utilize platforms like Whitespark or BrightLocal to distribute your information widely and efficiently.

Each strategy offers a unique balance between control, ease, and exposure, enabling you to select the option that aligns best with your business objectives.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Avoid these common mistakes when working with citations:

  • Inconsistency: As mentioned, consistency in your NAP information is vital. Inconsistent information can harm your SEO efforts.
  • Neglect: Once established, citations need maintenance. Don’t set them and forget them.
  • Spammy Practices: Only create citations on relevant platforms. Spamming irrelevant directories can do more harm than good.


Citations are key for local SEO, helping search engines find, verify, and understand your business. You can significantly improve your business’s local search rankings by ensuring the consistency, accuracy, and strategic placement of your citations. By following the guidelines outlined in this post, you can use citations to improve your local SEO and enhance your business’s online success.

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