1. Introduction
Article #1.15

Want to increase your Local rankings? Go for Citation Analysis.

If you have been in the SEO game for a while. or should i say local SEO, you would never underestimate the power of citations.
While considering to optimize your site for local SEO, you first of all need to make sure that all the factors are in place. This is what the article will talk about.
For any successful local SEO campaign, it is imperative to have consistent and accurate citations over all the relevant places. 


Wondering why do you need this audit at all?   

Citation Analysis, more commonly referred to as Citation Audit, is a thorough analysis of all the citations of your business on the web. 
You must have been following the usual steps to build citations, like all of us do. But, with time are you correcting your citations? Citations make your business visible online. In a citation if your phone number is incorrect and a potential customer dials your number and is unable to reach you, he will move on to your competitors. Right there you lost a customer! 
Citation Analysis is mainly done for three things:

  • Quantity - The quantity or number of citations you have, compared to your competitors. Your competitors might have build more citations overtime, that might affect rankings. 
  • Quality - Is your business listed on the most important directories? Being listed on the high authority websites has a good impact on your rankings. Maybe, overtime new directories would have come up. You need to be aware of this
  • Consistency of NAP - NAP (Business Name, Address and Phone Number) consistency in every citation is a must.

Here is an additional list of 6 reasons that justify the need to do citation analysis 

  • Edit/delete duplicate listings that are on the same directory.
  • Edit/delete listings for your business that have the wrong NAP (Name, Physical Address and Phone Number).
  • When data aggregators have incomplete information.
  • You need to edit/delete listing if your listing was incorrectly submitted and scraped to other sites. 
  • You need to edit the wrong information (might be a result of typo) present on directories/websites. 
  • You might not be listed in any of the important niche websites

You need to check the consistency of NAP as Google wants your information to be consistent all over the web.


The incorrect NAP dilemma

You might understand the concept of backlinks in organic SEO. The concept of Citations is also similar to that. Google in a way, rewards you/your website for having citations over reputable directories/websites. It acts as a vote of confidence for your website.
Make sure that your Business Listings in Google My Business has the correct NAP format (i.e, the way you want it to display over the web). If any of your NAP (and other details) is not the same as it is listed in Google My Business, then you might not get credit for it.



The three types of citations that needs immediate fixing

  • Duplicate Citations - These are duplicate listings on the same business directory.
  • Incorrect Citations - Business directories that have wrong Business Name, Address and Phone Number of your business.
  • Incomplete Citations - We make profiles for our business on Google My Business, Bing Places and Yahoo Places, etc. and at times we do not fill in complete information. It is important to add photos and other details to give as much information as possible about your business so that all the information is seen in the citations. 


Probable reasons why citations mismatch?

  • Your business changed address many times.
  • It used tracking Phone Numbers at some point.
  • You hired somebody to create citations and list your business on online directories. This could have caused miscommunication of information or the said person did not do your work properly as expected.
  • The data aggregators collected incorrect information about your business.
  • You changed your local phone number.
  • You had a different business name and a different trade name.
  • Inconsistency of NAP when setting up listings.


Start off with the audit mission by arming yourself with the following process 

The first and foremost thing that you need to do is, find out what information is out there on the web, about you. Organize it effectively (maybe, on an excel sheet). Prepare a sheet, stating your correct citations and the possible variations (wrong) in them.
Lets go through the things that you need to do

  • Find out where are you cited at

Go to Google and simply put in all the possible combinations of your company’s citations  :
Some of the variations could look like:
Business Name + Address + Phone Number 
Business Name + Phone Number
Business Name + Address
Old Business Name + Old Address
Old Business Name + Phone Number
Business Name + Zip

After doing this, collect all the URLs you get and copy it to your excel spreadsheet. You could even (if it suits you) copy only those URLs, where your citation is not correct.
Alongside, keep a track if you come along any citations that are unique, incorrect in terms of that you hadn’t considered before (might be a typo).

  • Check on Google My Business

This is a very important point. You need to make sure that, the format of your business listings appear the same on the Google My Business page as it does at every other place on the web. 
For example, you have your business name as Louis Cake Shop at Google My Business page, but you are listed as Louis Bakery on yelp, this would definitely confuse your consumers and Google (as consistency is the basic necessity and requirement of Google) 
Be very sure of the categories that you have mentioned. 
Once you have all the information of your listings at various places, ask yourself the following questions

  1. Did you make use of tracking phone numbers instead of a local phone number?
  2. Did you ever move your business to a different physical location?
  3. Is your business address the same that has been on the legal documents? 
  4. Does your business have by any chance any other trade names?
  •  Check on the consistency 

You need to ensure that Name, Phone and Address of your business is consistent at every place you are cited upon. This would help prevent the Search Engines as well as the users to get confused and subsequently establish trust in the authenticity of your business. You need to ensure that your actual NAP is listed at all the relevant places.

  • Check on the Relevancy  

You need to check the relevancy of the places you are cited upon. For example, if you have a Furniture business, you will definitely not want to list yourself in a directory that has listings of restaurants. Similarly you would not want to list yourself on a directory/website that has a low or negative PR. Though Google has not rolled out any update regarding this, but still it would affect the users. Why would they want to visit a place which is listed on a website, that they think is not even worth? 

  • Check on Competitor’s citations

This is a very important part of Citation Analysis. If you actually think, SEO or local SEO is all about being better than your competitors , so that you could rank better than them. In this race, you need to keep an eagle’s eye on your competitors; on the quality and quantity of citations they build. To begin with, you need to replicate them by building your citations/listings on those places where they have been already listed. Once you are done with this, you need to build your listings at more places (just to be ahead of them).

  • Solve the multiple location issue

If your business is located at more than one place, i.e if you have other branches of your business, make sure that you have different URLs for each of them. Each of these businesses (branches) should be listed as separate listings on websites/directories.


Want to avoid this lengthy, manual process? Land on Local RankWatch!

We at Local RankWatch, create a customized to-do list tailored specifically for your business after a complete analysis of your competition and your presence/absence on different websites and directories.


It’s aggregated reviews feature allows you to view all your business reviews from all the websites at one place. Not only this, but it tracks unlimited reviews on a weekly basis, showing you the feedback and the rating.


The Profile analysis feature is another amazing feature which handpicks certain websites where you should definitely have a presence on. Apart from this, we let you know if you are missing out on any business critical data on these websites.


Under another brilliant feature, all the citations and listings of your business from the entire web is collated under one powerful dashboard. May it be a blog or a discussion forum, you will get the update right there just to ensure that you have the right footprints.



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