Must-have Citation Sources for Canadian Businesses

  • November 28, 2013
  • Blog

Building strong, consistent business citations is a key ingredient to any effective local SEO strategy. A citation is simply an online mention of your business name, address and/or phone number and often includes a link to your website. For all but the least competitive markets, structured citations in authoritative Internet Yellow Page sites (IYPs) are needed to help move your site into the top local ranking positions. Not all citation sources are created equal so identifying the best opportunities is more beneficial than taking a shotgun approach to citation-building.

Google+ Local draws its data from a diverse pool of sources so the information you enter for each listing should be consistent and accurate. The name, address and phone number (NAP) should appear exactly as they do on your website and in your Google+ Local listing.

David Mihm’s updated Canadian Local Search Ecosystem diagram illustrates how pulls data from key local data sources. In addition to the IYPs, search engines and social networks shown in the graphic, Google+ Local also draws information from online newspapers, blogs, forums and other websites.

Canadian Local Search Ecosystem

Image source:

Getting listed on all the sites shown above is not necessary. When it comes to citations, quality supersedes quantity. Building a few complete listings on the top IYPs has a stronger rankings impact than creating dozens of listings on low-quality directories and link farms. This article identifies what are arguably the top five free citation sources in Canada. Links to the directory submission pages have been added for each site so you may want to bookmark this post.

5 Must-have Canadian Citation Sources

These are five of the most valuable citation sources for local businesses in almost any industry. The SEO value of each source is based on factors including but not limited to:

  • the perceived trust and authority of the domain in the eyes of Google
  • the amount of data that can be included in a listing,
  • the number and importance of downstream sources drawing data
  • the ability of the listings themselves to function as visitor referral sources

1. Industry Canada

The Industry Canada database creates numerous pages from a single business submission. It’s database functions as a trusted data source for Google+ Local, Factual and many other IYPs.

Quick Stats:

  • Domain Authority (DA): 88
  • Alexa Rank in Canada: Indeterminate
  • Pages indexed in 14.6 million


  • Treated by Google as a very trustworthy, reputable data source
  • Feeds data to many other IYPs and data providers (see Local Search Ecosystem graphic)
  • Allows companies to add substantial business information to listing
  • Links to your website are followed and pass equity to the target page
  • Can create dozens of backlinks to your website (see example below)
Industry Canada Backlinks

Google Webmaster Tools report showing Industry Canada backlinks to a client’s website.



  • Multi-step registration form requires considerable time to complete a listing
  • Phone verification is required (An Industry Canada rep will usually call the business owner within one or two weeks)

Click on this link to create an Industry Canada account.


2. Yelp

Featured in late-night TV jokes and a spate of recent lawsuits, Yelp is undeniably the most well-known IYP and continues to rank at or near the top for many local searches on Google. Yelp has a notoriously stringent moderation process for approving reviews left by customers and will gladly ban and out any business that is in violation of its many policies. Nevertheless, taking the time to build a complete listing on can really help your local rankings as well as generate a consistent stream of local leads for your company.

Quick Stats:

  • Domain Authority (DA): 81
  • Alexa Rank in Canada: #108
  • Pages indexed in 52.1 million


  • Listing is syndicated across other country-specific tlds (ex:,, which results in a larger volume of authoritative citations
  • Treated by Google as a very trustworthy, reputable data source
  • High-traffic website that can drive visitors to your website
  • Can greatly increase the number of online reviews generated for your business
  • Allows companies to add many business details to listing
  • Creates backlinks from different domains (great for diversity though the links are nofollowed)


  • Website links are nofollowed so they don’t help with organic (non-localized) rankings
  • Claiming your listing sometimes results in subsequent dealings with aggressive Yelp sales reps
  • Has a very rigorous, and many say unfair, review process that disqualifies many legitimate reviews from your customers

Click on this link to sign up for an account on


3. Yellow Pages

Easily the most monopolistic IYP in the Canadian local search ecosystem, the Yellow Pages Group owns several properties and supplies data to both Google and Yahoo. It has one of the simplest business submission procedures that requires less than a minute to complete.

Quick Stats:

  • Domain Authority (DA): 88
  • Alexa Rank in Canada: #102
  • Pages indexed in 3.15 million


  • Yellow Pages Group owns many other IYPs which leads to syndication on some of their properties
  • Treated by Google as a very trustworthy, reputable data source
  • High-traffic directory that can drive visitors to your website
  • Both Google+ Local and Yahoo Local draw data directly from
  • Basic listing pages are simple and well-organized with minimal advertising and other distractions


  • No links to website with free listing
  • Only basic contact information is published with a free listing
  • Yellow Pages sales agents push advertising packages (though not as aggressively as Yelp reps)
  • Phone verification is required (A YGP rep will usually contact you within one week)

Click on this link to submit your business to


4. Bing Places

Direct submission to Bing Places/Bing Local only became available in Canada in October so it’s too early to tell how long the publishing process takes. However, the submission process is straightforward and the control panel for managing your listing is well-laid out. Note: Bing Local is technically a geotargeted search engine and not a citation source, but still well worth inclusion in this elite list.

Quick Stats:

  • Domain Authority (DA): N/A
  • Alexa Rank in Canada: N/A
  • Pages indexed in N/A


  • Postcard with verification PIN takes two weeks or less to arrive (on par with Google+ Local)
  • Bing Local dashboard is easy-to-use and includes virtually the same data fields as Google+ Local
  • As Canada’s third largest search engine (after Google and YouTube), Bing can provide additional referral traffic without the stiff competition often found in Google+ Local
  • Search results are often less cluttered with ads and images than Google universal search results


  • Ranking algorithm is less sophisticated than Google’s and spammy listings dominate many verticals

Click on this link to submit your business to Bing Places.


5. Manta

The desktop version of has listing pages that are cluttered with advertisements and competitor links. Content loads slowly and the internal search engine leaves much to be desired. Still, there are several reasons why you should take the time to submit to Manta.

Quick Stats:

  • Domain Authority (DA): 90
  • Alexa Rank in Canada: #567
  • Pages indexed in 9.36 million


  • Authoritative website with over 9 million pages indexed by Google
  • Listings go live immediately following email verification
  • Many data fields allow you to build out your listing to include photos, videos and extra company details
  • Links to your website are followed and pass equity to the target page


  • Requires more time to complete a listing
  • Listing pages contain many advertisements and competitor links

Click on this link to submit your business to


Checking for Existing Citations

Before submitting your business to the above directories, be sure to check that your business isn’t already listed. Duplicate listings can lead to data inconsistencies that confuse Google and can result in lower search rankings and overall skepticism of the accuracy of your company contact information. To check for existing citations in IYPs, you can search with your business name or phone number on each site or you can perform a search on Google using the site: and OR search operators.

The owner of Phil’s Auto Clinic in Toronto wants to see if his company is already listed on So he types the following query in the search box and finds that he already has a listing and does not need to create another one. You may also note that this listing is unclaimed and does not have a website associated with it.

Checking Google for Existing Citations

Manual and automated methods of identifying current citations exist and the approach shown above is far from bulletproof. But conducting a proper, methodical citation audit is beyond the scope of this article. If your business has been around for a long time, been rebranded, moved or changed phone numbers there may be a surprising amount of inconsistent contact information online. Identifying and correcting this information is often the first step to ranking in a competitive market.


Optimizing Your Citations

Building citations on relevant, authoritative online properties is a great way to boost your rankings as well as broaden your brand presence. Once your listings have been approved and verified, they can be further optimized by adding as many business details, photos and videos as possible. Generating reviews on those listings will also help you move up the local rankings and serves to provide social proof that your business is the real deal. While it may seem like an arduous task, citation building can provide an exceptionally high long-term return on your investment.

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