Expert Local Citation Survey

Expert Local Citation Survey
Key Findings
  • 90% of experts believe accurate citations are important to local search ranking
  • 59% think citations are less important than they were 12 months ago
  • The most important factors in citation sites are: 1. Industry relevance, 2. Local relevance, 3. Domain authority
  • Local SEO experts recommend niche and industry directories above other structured citations
  • Phone numbers, city, ZIP, and URL need to be exact matches, while suite number is less important

In the world of local SEO, citations have long been established as a necessity. But, what effect do citations have on SEO today?

To find out, we asked a panel of 22 of the biggest local search experts to share their experience, knowledge, and insights into how citations affect local businesses today.

Our expert panel shares their thoughts on topics including:

  • Which types of structured and unstructured citations they favor
  • How many citations a new business needs
  • The level of accuracy needed for each NAP+W attribute

This is the fourth time we’ve run the Expert Local Citation Survey, having previously published editions in 2016, 2015, and 2013. Where relevant, we’ve included comparisons to past editions of this survey.

A huge thank you to everyone who shared their excellent insights with us. You can find the full list of participants in the Contributors panel, and read their thoughts and opinions throughout.

If you have any comments on the findings of the report and the future of citations, please let us know in the comments below.


  1. How effective are accurate citations to improving local SEO rankings? 
  2. Are citations more or less important now than they were 12 months ago?
  3. What is more important, quality or quantity of citations?
  4. How important are the following factors when choosing which citation sites to use?
  5. Which type of structured citations provides the greatest authority?
  6. Which types of unstructured citations do you favor?
  7. What is your priority when building citations?
  8. How accurate does each NAP+W attribute need to be?
  9. For a typical new business, how many citations should you aim to build in the first 2 months?
  10. Which approach to building citations is the most accurate, fastest, and most cost-effective?
  11. How would you describe your approach to managing citations?
Rosie Murphy
About the author
Rosie managed BrightLocal's delivery of research and survey pieces. She headed up data-driven content such as regular polls, webinars and whitepapers, including the Local Consumer Review Survey.


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