The Average Number of Citations Per Google Local Ranking
We also grouped the data into the ranking positions 1-3, 4-6, and 7-10 to find the average number of SEO citations for these groups.
- Businesses who rank in position one for a local keyword have an average 86 citations
- Businesses ranked in the top three have an average 85 citations
- Businesses in position 10 have an average 75 citations; that’s 11 fewer than top-ranking businesses
When looking across all industries, we saw a strong correlation between the number of citations a local business has, and how high they rank in Google’s local results. In every single industry we looked at, businesses that appeared in the top 3 for a search term had more citations than those in the rest of the top 10.
Of course, it’s important to note that correlation doesn’t equal causation. It could be that businesses who achieve the top positions also excel in other ranking factors as well as citations.
The Average Number of Citations Per Industry
- Hotels and B&Bs, Bars and Pubs, and Restaurants and Cafés have the most citations
- Photography businesses have the lowest number of citations
- The average local business has 81 citations
Across all industries, local businesses who are ranked 1-10 in Google Local have an average of 81 citations. But it’s no surprise to see that some industries are more likely to have a higher number of citations.
Hospitality businesses have the highest number of citations, followed by medical-related businesses.
Hotels, bars, and restaurants rely heavily on listing sites when promoting their businesses. There is an abundance of specialist business listing sites out there for hospitality businesses, and it’s extremely valuable to be visible and accessible in every place that your customers are searching.
Medical-related businesses also have a high number of citations. The average dentistry business has 107 citations, medical practices have 101, and senior living services have 94.
It’s no wonder these are so high: if a consumer wants to be able to trust a business with their health, they need to be sure they’ve done their research.
At the other end of the scale are photography businesses, who have an average of just 34 citations.
Industries With The Most Citations
- Hotels and B&Bs
- Bars and pubs
- Restaurants and cafés
- Medical practices
Industries With The Fewest Citations
- Photography businesses
- Storage and removal businesses
- Accountancy and finance businesses
- Cleaning services
However, there’s no magic formula for citations. The best benchmark you can set is against your local competitors. If other providers have a presence on a site, you need to make sure you’re competing in the right places.
The Most Popular SEO Citation Sites Among Local Businesses
Business listings on Google My Business, Apple Maps, and Bing were not included in this study. More on the methodology here.
What Are The Most Popular Citation Sites?
- Facebook (84% of local businesses have a business listing here)
- Yelp (80%)
- Mapquest (72%)
- Yellow Pages (71%)
- Manta (71%)
We identified the citation sites used by the largest number of local businesses and grouped these across all industries.
While having a competitive number of citations is important, it’s equally important to ensure these are in the right places. Every industry has a different set of popular citation sites, with many having a presence on niche directories and industry-focused business listings.
Play with our interactive tool to find yours, or download a PDF report for your industry.
We’ve shared the 20 most widely-used citation sites below. How many of these popular sites does your business appear on?
The 20 Most Popular Business Listings and Directories
The Percentage of Businesses With No ‘Top 10’ Citations
- 5% of local businesses don’t have any of the top 10 citations
- Restaurants, dentists, hotels, pet services, and medical practices are most likely to have business listings on the most popular citation sites
- Tradesmen, locksmiths, and storage businesses are the industries missing out on the top citation sites
Only 1% of restaurants and cafés are missing out on listings on the most popular sites – despite these not matching up with their own top 10 list. Restaurants are also prevalent on TripAdvisor, Foursquare, Zomato, Citymaps, and Yahoo.
Tradesmen are by far the most likely to miss these popular sites, even though their top 10 list closely resembles the overall popular citation sites. Just 62% of tradesmen have a listing on Facebook – far less than the average 84% across industries!