Business directories are a notorious pain in the rear for business owners. Many change often and some are link bait for paid services like Yext—I’ll explain later why you need to avoid these.

This guide will help you list your business in as many places as possible with as little frustration as possible.

Why Do You Need to List Your Business in Free Directories?

Google changed how they display local search results again—I’m [not] shocked! They used to display 7 local businesses on the map listing. Now, they reduced the number to only 3. That’s a 57% reduction!

Business listings—also known as citations—are the top ranking factor for map results. Less listings means more competition for the top 3 spots.

Old 7 pack map listings

It’s more important than ever to get your business as many citations as possible. With all other factors being equal, the power and sheer number of citations will determine your rank.

How to Build Citations the Easy Way

The definition of a citation is the NAP—name, address and phone—of the business. The citation site can also let you include a link to your website, categories, images or a description.

It’s always best to fill out each site as completely as possible. This makes your citation more interesting and also gives Google more data about your business.

Use a spreadsheet to keep track of the data you will be entering. It’s very important to keep all the data exactly the same on each site.

Click here to download my citation template.

My suggestion is to enter the Google My Business (GMB) listing first, then match all other citations to this one.

For whatever reason Google likes to display suite numbers with the “#” sign. Even if you enter it another way Google usually changes it so the suite is listed with a hash-mark after the street name. i.e. 123 Main St. #456.

If you already have a GMB listing then just copy the NAP exactly as they list it.

Get an Auto-Fill Form Plugin

An auto-fill plugin will automatically fill in common form fields with a single click. Admittedly, they don’t work so well on some sites but using one will definitely save you a few keystrokes in the long run.

Once you install one of these plugins in your browser, the first step is to fill out a profile with all your data. Then, navigate to each directory site and click a button on the browser’s menu bar to fill out the form.

Here are few popular auto-fill plugins:

Firefox – https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/autofill-forms/

Chrome – https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/autofill/nlmmgnhgdeffjkdckmikfpnddkbbfkkk?hl=en

Don’t Fall for Citation Rental Services

If you spend any amount of time building business citations you will undoubtedly encounter services like Yext that build citations for you for a monthly or yearly price.

They might seem like a good deal—but if you quit paying—the listings they create for you are almost impossible to reclaim.

Think of them as citation rental services. Why rent when you can own?

The best way to build citations for your business is to add them yourself or hire a company to build them for you, in your name.

List of Important General Business Directories

Click on each link and add your business listing. Most sites require verification—either by email or phone—before your listing is approved. Be sure to check your spam folder as the verification emails routinely wind up there.

City and Industry Specific Business Directories

There can be dozens of directories specifically for your city or industry. Be sure to check the following two lists for your geographic area as well as your business type and add your business to the appropriate directories.

City Directories- https://www.brightlocal.com/2015/03/31/local-citation-sites-for-top-100-usa-cities/#top

Industry Directories- https://www.brightlocal.com/2014/10/09/top-citation-sites/#top

Competition Analysis

Getting the most business citations possible is a good strategy, but to maximize your time it’s always better to spy on your top competitors to see which listings they have.  Knowing what citations they have, you only need to build just enough to outdo them.

For a free analysis of your citations and your top 3 competitors, click the box below to get it.

Get a Free Citation Report for Your Business Plus 3 of Your Competitors

Your information will never be shared.

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The most efficient way to build citations for your business is when you know which ones your competitors have and which ones you don't.

We'll do a competitor search in your local area and send you a detailed report on which citations you need.

Get a Free Citation Report for Your Business Plus 3 of Your Competitors

Your information will never be shared.

Close this window


The most efficient way to build citations for your business is when you know which ones your competitors have and which ones you don't.

We'll do a competitor search in your local area and send you a detailed report on which citations you need.