In addition to manually building citations or using a tool, you can use a data feed known as an Application Program Interface (API) to grow your local citation profile. APIs work autonomously, so no human intervention is required in the submission process. It can help to think of an API as the conduit for information. Data is entered at one end, and the API securely transports that data to the recipient at the other.
Behind the scenes, the API standardizes the transfer of information and acts as the messenger between point A and point B. As they are so efficient, APIs are used to complete a wide range of tasks — from data sharing to integrations — often without the end user being aware of their existence.
Numerous APIs are available to submit citations, with each providing business information to its own network of sites. Some sites may accept data from one specific API only, while others may get data fed into them from several different sources.
Why use an API to build citations?
The main advantage of this method of citation building is speed. The automatic nature of the process allows for listings to be built quicker than is possible with a manual approach alone.
An API versus human-led input can also improve accuracy and NAP consistency. The fact that a large number of listings can be built in a short time frame also provides a visibility boost.
Is there more than one type of API?
When it comes to local citation building, there are two types of APIs available to you.
The first type submits your business information directly into the database of the listing site. It will continually push that data through so the recipient site knows the information is correct. This doesn’t necessarily mean that your listing will be permanent, however. If you stop using the API, your listing may be removed.
The second type works as a data layer, with the business paying the API to have its data placed on an existing web page. If you use this solution, your listing will remain active as long as you’re paying for it.
Is this option right for you?
Not every method of building citations will be suitable for all business types. An API is often better suited to large and multi-location businesses that can’t realistically keep their business information up to date manually.
Other methods may be more suitable for smaller organizations that don’t expect to make changes continually.