Are backlinks or local citations more important for local SEO? 8 Major Facts

Are backlinks or local citations more important for local SEO? This is a broad topic to discuss because lots of facts are relevant to this topic. When it comes to local SEO, there are various factors that influence your online visibility and search engine ranking. Two crucial elements often discussed in the SEO community are backlinks and local citations.

In this blog post, we will delve into the significance of backlinks and local citations in local SEO and determine which one holds greater importance. So, let’s explore this topic further!

Also Read: How Many Backlinks Should A Page Have? 5 Best Facts

What are Backlinks?

Backlinks are links from external websites that point to your website. Think of them as votes of confidence from other sites, indicating that your content is valuable and trustworthy. Search engines, such as Google, consider backlinks as a signal of authority and relevance. High-quality backlinks from reputable websites can have a significant impact on your website’s visibility in search results.

For instance, imagine you own a local bakery, and a well-known food blogger in your city writes a blog post listing the best bakeries, with a link to your website. This backlink from a respected food blogger can greatly enhance your bakery’s online reputation and boost your local SEO.

There are several types of backlinks that you can build for your website. Let’s explore some of the common types:

These are just a few examples of the types of backlinks you can build on your website. It’s important to focus on quality over quantity and prioritize obtaining backlinks from authoritative and relevant websites in your industry or niche. Building a diverse and natural backlink profile can enhance your website’s visibility, authority, and search engine rankings.

What are Local Citations?

Local citations, on the other hand, are mentions of your business’s name, address, and phone number (NAP) on various online directories, review sites, social media platforms, and other local websites. These citations help search engines understand the relevance and legitimacy of your business in a specific location. They contribute to building your online presence and local authority.

For example, if your bakery is listed on popular local directories like Yelp, Google My Business, and TripAdvisor, with consistent and accurate NAP information, it becomes easier for potential customers to find your bakery. Additionally, search engines recognize these citations as signals that your business is relevant to local search queries.

There are several types of local citations that you can build for your website. Let’s explore some of the common types:

Remember, when building local citations, it’s crucial to ensure consistency and accuracy in your business’s name, address, and phone number (NAP) information. This consistency helps search engines verify and associate your business information across different platforms, enhancing your local search visibility. Additionally, prioritize reputable and authoritative directories or platforms relevant to your industry or location to maximize the impact of your local citations.

Are backlinks or local citations more important for local SEO?

If you asked me are backlinks or local citations more important for local SEO? Then I would say, Backlinks are more focused on overall website authority and organic search rankings, while local citations are crucial for local search visibility and establishing legitimacy in specific geographical areas. Both factors should be considered in a well-rounded SEO strategy, with backlinks being more prominent for broader online visibility and citations being essential for local businesses targeting specific regions. Here the importance that is discussed in 2 major topics…

Importance of Backlinks for Local SEO:

Backlinks have long been considered a significant ranking factor in SEO, including local SEO. Quality backlinks can enhance your website’s authority, improve organic search rankings, and attract more organic traffic. While backlinks are not limited to local signals, they indirectly impact your local SEO efforts by bolstering your overall online visibility and domain authority.

Why Backlinks are important in SEO?

1. Enhancing Authority and Relevance: 

Backlinks from reputable and authoritative websites act as votes of confidence, indicating to search engines that your content is valuable and trustworthy.
Example: If a popular industry blog links to your website as a valuable resource in one of their articles, it demonstrates your authority within your niche and can drive organic traffic.

2. Improving Organic Search Rankings:

Quality backlinks can attract visitors from other websites to yours, increasing your overall website traffic and potential customer base.

3. Expanding Reach Beyond Local:

Backlinks have a broader impact beyond local SEO, benefiting your website’s overall authority and visibility across a wider audience.

4. Link Diversity Advantage:

Having a diverse range of backlinks from various domains and sources can contribute to a more comprehensive and natural backlink profile.

5. Allow to Use Anchor Text: 

Backlinks allow you to use anchor text (the clickable text of a hyperlink) to provide context and relevancy signals to search engines.

6. Drive Direct Referral Traffic:

Backlinks can drive direct referral traffic to your website, potentially increasing visibility and generating leads.

7. Quantity and Quality: 

Both the number and quality of backlinks matter. High-quality backlinks from reputable websites are more valuable than a large quantity of low-quality backlinks. So the more backlinks you can get from reputable websites the more possibility will increase to show your content on Google search visibility.

8. Competitive Advantage:

Building strong backlinks can give you a competitive edge by outranking your competitors in search engine results pages (SERPs).
Example: If your website has a higher number of authoritative backlinks compared to your competitors, search engines are more likely to view your website as more valuable and rank it higher.

Importance of Local Citations for Local SEO:

Local citations play a vital role in local SEO by validating your business’s location and credibility within a specific geographic area. Search engines consider the consistency and accuracy of your NAP information across different directories to determine the legitimacy and relevance of your business to local search queries. Local citations are particularly crucial for businesses that heavily rely on local customers, such as brick-and-mortar stores or service-based businesses.

Why Local Citations are Important in SEO:

1. Establishing Local Relevance:

Consistent NAP information across multiple platforms validates your business’s location and reinforces its relevance to local search queries.

2. Improving Local Search Visibility:

Local citations contribute to higher rankings in local search results, ensuring that your business appears prominently when local customers search for relevant products or services. As a result, search engines recognize them as signals of local relevance.

3. Driving Local Foot Traffic:

Accurate local citations make it easier for potential customers to find and engage with your business, increasing foot traffic and conversions.

4. Google My Business (GMB) Benefits: 

 Creating and optimizing your Google My Business profile is crucial for local businesses. GMB is a powerful platform that combines local citations with customer reviews, photos, and other relevant information, increasing your chances of appearing in the coveted “Local Pack” on Google’s search results.
Example: When someone searches for “coffee shops near me” on Google, the Local Pack will display a map with three coffee shops, their ratings, and other details. Being included in this section can significantly boost your visibility.

5. Trust and Credibility:

Local citations, particularly on trusted directories and review platforms, contribute to your business’s trust and credibility. Positive reviews and ratings can influence consumer decision-making.
Example: If your business has numerous positive reviews and ratings on Yelp or TripAdvisor, potential customers are more likely to trust your services and choose you over competitors with fewer or negative reviews.

Balancing Backlinks and Local Citations:

Both backlinks and local citations are important for SEO success, and finding the right balance is crucial. Here are some key considerations:

1. Industry Relevance:

Focus on acquiring backlinks and local citations from sources that are relevant to your industry or niche.

2. Quality over Quantity:

Prioritize high-quality backlinks from authoritative websites and maintain consistent and accurate local citations across reputable platforms.

3. Diversification:

Aim for a diverse backlink profile with links from various sources to demonstrate a natural link profile.

4. Niche Directories:

Explore industry-specific directories and local business listings to acquire relevant citations and backlinks.

Comparison of Backlinks and Local Citations:

Backlinks and local citations may seem similar, but they play different roles in local SEO. Backlinks highlight your website’s authority and relevance. Backlinks can come from a variety of sources, including blog posts, articles, social media, forums, and other websites. It’s beneficial to have backlinks from diverse sources to demonstrate the website’s relevance and popularity.

Backlinks are often embedded within anchor text that provides context and indicates the relevance of the linked content. This context helps search engines understand the relationship between the linked pages and improves the overall SEO value. Quality backlinks from reputable websites can boost a website’s authority and visibility in search engine results. However, low-quality or spammy backlinks can have a negative effect and even lead to penalties.

While local citations validate your business’s local presence and credibility. They work hand in hand to enhance your local SEO efforts.  Local citations typically come from local directories, review sites, mapping services, and other platforms that list businesses operating in a specific area. The focus is on ensuring consistent and accurate information across these platforms.

Local citations may not always include hyperlinks, and when they do, they are often basic website URLs. The emphasis is on providing accurate business information rather than establishing contextual relevance through anchor text. Consistent and accurate citations across different online directories and platforms can help improve a business’s visibility in local search results. They also establish authenticity for the business.


In conclusion, both backlinks and local citations play integral roles in local SEO success. Backlinks enhance your website’s authority, visibility, and organic search rankings, while local citations validate your business’s local presence and credibility. To maximize the benefits of both elements, it’s important to consider industry-specific directories, niche citations, and the overall online presence of your business.

Striking a balance between acquiring high-quality backlinks and maintaining accurate local citations is essential. This ensures that your business is perceived as an authoritative and relevant local entity. By considering your specific business needs and goals, you can develop a tailored local SEO strategy that harnesses the power of backlinks and local citations to drive local visibility, attract customers, and boost your business’s success.

Remember, local SEO is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Continuously evaluate and refine your strategy based on the changing dynamics of your industry and local market. With a well-rounded approach that embraces both backlinks and local citations, you’ll be well-positioned to thrive in the competitive world of local search.

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