In the last couple of months, we’ve seen a number of changes in the local search space, but the more important one of course is the birth of Google+ Local. In the midst of all that, we could only scent that there was something good cooking in the local search kitchen. Just announced yesterday was a study on the best citation sources by U.S. city.

Notably, David Mihm and Darren Shaw of and whitespark published a study to teach others where to best invest your buck on local citation sources. For those who are not up to speed, citations are mentions of your business information (name, address and phone number, also called NAP) on business directories, and extremely important in local search optimization.

The methodology of this study was:

Using Whitespark’s Local Citation Finder, we searched Google for the most common keywords within 71 local search categories across 53 large US cities, 20 medium-sized cities, and 20 smaller cities. We then scored the sites inversely based on ranking position combined with overall number of occurrences. The sites that appeared most often and with the highest rankings were deemed “best.”

As keen as I was, I was interested in seeing the bigger picture with all 93 cities combined and this is what I got for the top 10:

Citation Source


Yellow Pages








Yahoo Local








Service Magic


Dex Knows


There’s no denying that Yellow Pages, Superpages and Facebook are amongst the top citations you absolutely need. Don’t let this list be your only list of citation sources. You’ll need to built it out over time but this study will give you a good starting point for where you need to go.

I recommend reviewing the study for yourself to get the full story.

I would like to thank the team at and whitespark for putting this study together and provided this great list of citations sources. I ponder whether there will be a study similar to this coming for Canada. David? Darren? 🙂