SEO Citations Study: How Many Citations Do Local Businesses Need?

SEO Citations Study: How Many Citations Do Local Businesses Need?
Key Findings
  • Local businesses who rank in the top 10 positions in Google Local have an average 81 citations
  • Businesses ranked #1 in Google local rankings have an average 86 citations. Businesses ranked #10 have an average 75
  • Hotels, bars, and restaurants have the highest number of citations. Photographers, tradesmen, and storage businesses have the lowest on average
  • The most popular citation sites across industries are: 1. Facebook, 2. Yelp, 3. Mapquest, 4. Yellow Pages, 5. Manta
  • 5% of local businesses don't have any of the most popular citation sites. For tradesmen, this is 18%!

In local search, local SEO citations are an incredibly important piece of the puzzle. Keeping your name, address and phone number (NAP) consistent across the internet helps Google decide where a business should rank in local search results, and impacts consumers’ trust in a business.

While it’s clear that consistent citations are a necessary foundation for local businesses, there’s little direction out there to help businesses know how many citations they need to compete in their industry, or which sites to get listed on.

As a pro local citation building service, we have a lot of data at our fingertips. So, to solve this, we delved into our extensive citation building data and studied the citation profiles of 122,125 local businesses across 26 different industries. Our objective was to find out:

  • The average number of citations for businesses in each industry
  • The average number of citations for businesses ranked 1-10 in Google Local results
  • The most popular citation sites for each industry
  • How many businesses are missing listings on the top citation sites

Jump to the overall findings
Please note: Apple Maps, Google My Business, and Bing were not included in this study as data was unavailable. Take a look at the methodology for more information. 

To find out how many citations your business has, you can run a citation audit to find out when signing up for a BrightLocal free trial.

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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