Are you sitting inside your restaurant, searching Google for the type of food you offer, only to find that you are unable to see your own business listed? One explanation for this is that there aren’t enough citations for your establishment. But what exactly is a citation?

Any time a website lists a company and references its NAP (name, address, and phone number), it is commonly called a citation (aka local, directory, or map citation) in the digital marketing world.

Citations are an important component of local search engine optimization (SEO) and can heavily influence where your restaurant is ranked in Google Maps.

Below, we dive into the process of growing your business’s citation count and list several of the top directory websites that your restaurant needs to be in.

DIY or Paid Citations?

Local citations are crucial when it comes to promoting a local company online as they improve SEO and increase visibility in local search results, but obtaining them can be somewhat time consuming and/or costly.

Here are some tips to get started.

First, decide if you’re going to take on the project by yourself or hire a company to submit citations to other websites for you.

Do-it-Yourself Citations

If you choose to DIY your citations, you’ll need a spreadsheet populated with the details about your business that most websites ask for:

  • Business name
  • Website address
  • Phone number
  • Business category
  • Address
  • City
  • State
  • Zip code

Many sites also ask for year established, social media links, and more. When they do, you can add these to your spreadsheet for future reference.

Additionally, you’ll want to have on hand:

  1. At least one long description (approximately 200 to 250 words) and another shorter description of about 50 to 100 words. Providing unique descriptions to each site is favorable when manually submitting your business information to citation sites. We recommend that you tweak or reword submissions to keep them unique.
  2. Photos of your establishment and your company logo.
  3. A list of the top citations websites to begin with, including restaurant-specific ones.

Paid Citations

There is no shortage of citation tools, web-services, or companies willing to conduct the citation submission process for you. While there is a fee associated with a citation submission service, these services can save you valuable time while still getting your business listed on top sites.

Here are a few of the most trusted paid citation services:

  1. BrightLocal ($3 per submission or $2 for bulk orders)
  2. Yext (Subscription-based starting at $199 annually)
  3. Moz (Subscription-based starting at $14 monthly)
  4. Whitespark (Starting at $349 one-time fee)
  5. Semrush (Requires paid plan starting at $120 monthly)

Best Citation Websites

Not all websites are equal when it comes to passing signals to Google. In fact, Google and other search engines score individual websites based on how authoritative the domain as a whole is: The higher the score, the more value the citation carries.

While Google traditionally refers to this metric as Page Rank, other third-party tools have emerged, using their own nomenclature. Moz refers to their zero to 100 (with 100 as the most powerful) scale as Domain Authority (DA) and for the following purposes, so too shall this author.

Top 10 General Citation Sites

  1. Google Business Profile (DA 100 / Free)
  2. Apple Maps (DA 100 / Free)
  3. Facebook (DA 100 / Free)
  4. Bing (DA 93 / Free)
  5. Yelp (DA 93 / Free)
  6. Foursquare (DA 92 / Free & Paid)
  7. Waze (DA 91 / Paid)
  8. Snapchat (DA 91 / Free & Paid)
  9. Here Maps (DA 86 / Free)
  10. TomTom (DA 78 / Free)

Top 10 Restaurant Citation Sites

  1. TripAdvisor (DA 93 / Free)
  2. OpenTable (DA 86 / Free & Paid)
  3. Zomato (DA 84 / Free)
  4. Grubhub (DA 72 / Paid )
  5. HappyCow (DA 68 / Free)
  6. (DA 62 / Paid)
  7. MenuPix (DA 52 / Free)
  8. Foodio54 (DA 46 / Free)
  9. DiningGuide (DA 45 / Free)
  10. DineHere (DA 44 / Free)

See the entire list of general and restaurant-focused citations from BrightLocal by clicking here.


Free Local Map Audit.

Get a personalized demo to uncover easy things you can do to improve your restaurant’s local visibility.

Free Local Map Audit.

Get a personalized demo to uncover easy things you can do to improve your restaurant’s local visibility.




Key Takeaways

If you want to rank high in local Google Maps searches, citations are essential. Google gives businesses more local SEO authority and ranks them higher as the number of websites that include information about your restaurant (i.e., citations) climbs.

These mentions of your business and links to your website send signals to Google of your company’s legitimacy. As odd as this may sound, it’s one of many safeguards Google and other search engines use to protect their users.

Finally, citations, on the right websites, can drive business from those platforms. Yelp, for example, is a citation website that ranks very well in Google’s search results, and a strong presence on this website can lead to new customers.

Reach out to our team with questions! We have digital marketing experts on hand who can help as you navigate your company website’s presence on Google.