5 Ridiculously Sneaky Citations Most Small Business Never Think to Get!

So I was reading Professor Maps blog post today on whether citations help Google rankings?  It’s a great post and there is lots of good dialogue going on in the comment section (as per usual) so be sure to check it out.   The post inspired me to share my thoughts on this subject.

So the question is: Do citations help Google rankings?

Answer: Hell, yes! Citations work. They will help your website rank better in both blended and pure search results.


Just like backlinks not all citations or mentions of your local business are created equal.

There are already a ton of great posts on where to get the basic top 100 citations and/or review site mentions and I don’t want to publish yet another post on that matter.

If you want to know the top citations based on city then visit this page.  However, if you want to get sneaky citations your competitors are probably not getting (unless they read this post too ;)) then stick around.

Step One – Think Outside The Box!

Citations are hell a lot more effective and can provide some serious signals to Google when you think outside the box.  Here are 5 ways to get local citations, mentions & links from high authority local sites.  I am sure once you go through them all you’ll think of all kinds of sneaky ways you can get great citations from local sites in your community.

1. Event Citations

  • Organize local social events: There are ton of high authority sites that allow you to post local events.  Hold regular events… even if it’s social martini night to meet up with clients, colleagues or even local competitors.  Organize and post it on sites like eventbrite.
  • Host regular free mini seminars/workshops at your place of business. Post press releases about them and get them on the major free event sites like meetup.  Search “meetup + your city” or “free workshops + your city” or “free classes + your city” and you’ll find a ton more places to post your event.
  • One of my favorites is to host an event at local libraries.  They all offer space to rent (usually for cheap) and when you book it your event goes on their online event calendar.  How’d you like to get citation/links form library websites? Hell, yeah!  You can rinse and repeat this with local churches, schools, community centers, etc
  • Sponsor local Events: Every city has a marathon, a walk, a bike event, etc  Offer to make a donation or sponsor it.  Not only great for brand awareness locally but a great way to get a citation/link on those local websites.
  • Sponsor local mommy meetups:  Let them host the event in your place of business or offer them some free services/products.  We all know the ladies like to talk and Mom’s make most of the buying decisions for the household.  You can’t go wrong here. A lot moms have blogs.  Get them to check-in socially (offer an additional reward for doing so).  You can get online website citations, calendar citations, social mentions, and even online positive reviews.  So many good reasons to be-friend local Moms.
  • Host a local dating event: Just type in “speed dating + your city” and you’ll see a ton of businesses offering this service.  Contact them and offer to host an event.  You’ll get listed on their site and events calendar.  These dating sites usually have lots of authority and make for great citations.

2. Job Board Citations/Links

  • Post job postings.  Job sites usually have huge authority and make for amazing citations/links.  Think of every service your use or possibly could use.  Most of these sites allow you to post for free.   Type in “job board + your city” to find local job posting sites.  Even leverage web-based job postings is a great way to get awesome citations.  Like voices – request a professional voice over for you phone message, post a wordpress job on jobs.wordpress.networdpress(hello page rank 8 site), virtual working sites elance, odesk,freelancer.  It really is endless on all the jobs you can post online.  When posting be sure to mention your NAP (business name, address & phone) and website link.  Easy mentions that Google loves and your competitors are not getting.

3. Classified Ad Citations

  • Tap the free online classifieds like Kijiji and Craigslist (still wicked citations), but also search for other local classified sites and post something and include your NAP info.
  • Post to local newspaper classifieds.  Often you can get a cheap online ad in their online classifieds for next to nothing.  These local news sites have huge authority and citations from them is worth gold.

4. Student Citations

  • Offer student Internships.  Get links on school sites.  Type in “student internships + your local city” and you’ll find a ton other places you can get your info/site listed.
  • Create a yearly scholarship – make it a essay contest where students need to post an essay on their student blog about a certain subject and reference this is part of a scholarship contest by your business (hello!!!!!!!!! .edu links and citations) and maybe a whack of them.
  • Create a Student Award – create an annual award for students.  Trust me you will get all kinds of local mentions from the school, local blogs, press release sites, news sites, etc

5. Discounts Citations

  • Offer student discounts – you can again get all kinds of great citations and links this way from high quality trusted sites that Google will love.
  • Offer senior discounts – contact all your local senior care homes and services and let them know about your discounts.  See if they have a resource page, get your discount there.
  • Offer disability discounts – search “disability discounts + your city” and you’ll find some great places to get come citation/link love
  • Local coupon sites – there are million of these now.  Just search Google for “Coupon + your city” and you’ll find dozen places you can post your coupons.
  • Local business coupons – offer digital coupons to other local businesses.  Make the digital assets as an image and include link and supply the embed code so it’s easy for local businesses to add to their site.  Tell them they can add it to their thank-you pages.  Who doesn’t like to give their clients and customers special discounts.  This way you are not asking for a citations or link, you are offering something of value first.  By doing this you will get a much better success rate from local businesses.  OR if not discount, offer a testimonial for them they can use on their sites – this is a great sneaky way to get local mentions/links.

The amazing thing about the citation ideas above is they not only get you a ridiculously amazing citation/link, they also (for the most part) help market your business locally too.  You get to kill two birds with one stone!

Got More Sneaky Awesome Ways to Snag Citations?

I shared some of our sneaky local citation strategies, now it’s your turn.  Do you have some great ideas on how to get citations outside the normal directories…?  Post them in the comment section below.


Tags: citations, google local, google places, links, local, SEO

5 Responses to “5 Ridiculously Sneaky Citations Most Small Business Never Think to Get!”

  1. Hey Matt,

    Super post! You say “sneaky” like it’s a bad thing :)

    I’d add that many of the sources / strategies you mentioned will also help you win some good links as well – icing on the citations cake.

    Normally I wouldn’t even bother with a weird idea like this, but because you’ve floated some pretty unorthodox ideas, how about giving away stuff on Freecycle? Not sure how much of a punch that would carry, but hey, if you’re going to give away stuff you no longer need, might as well do it as your place of business and get a citation out of the deal.

    Thanks for posting!

  2. Phil, that is a great one I didn’t think of. Wicked. Hope we get some more ideas.

  3. Thanks for saying so, Matt! While we’re at it, I wonder if eBay Classifieds, or even one’s eBay profile, might serve as a nice little unstructured citation. Again, no idea how much weight Google would give those, but all other things being equal…

  4. Phil, yeah ebay is a good one. Actually used that before. Any classified site works. And hey done right it can be a great traffic source for leads. You’be surprised how well Kijiji Ads and Craigslist Ads do. Ditto with backpage. And don’t forget those small local newspaper’s classifieds too. Or great local arts mag’s. Here in Toronto we have the “Now”, “The eye” and a few popular Gay local free newspapers. Each of them all have online classifieds. Each site is super trusted. Another cool place we’ve been playing recently for citations and links is local realtor sites. Often on their site or they own micro sites that describe the area. Places to eat, places to shop, the vibe, photos of the area, etc If you business is listed in that area you can often get a write up or at least listed in their local business resources page. All you gotta do is ask. Each area has like 100+ real estate agents (or least in major cities like Toronto).

  5. Technically the only thing is your usual Name, Address, and Phone number or NAP. I like them even more if you can get the URL under it all. You can get citations from anywhere if this is the case. Of course they are unstructured, but it helps in the long run.

    So with this information you can get citations from social bookmarks, picture sharing sites, videos, and anywhere else you can put your NAP and squeeze in the URL. I think it looks a lot less spammy if it is just the URL and not an html tag with some keywords, or if you do use and html tag make sure it is the name of your business. I’ve used this technique to beat out some very competitive rankings.

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