For those who are newbies in this industry, I just want to share some quality tips for structured Citation. But first, let us define what Citation is?
A citation is simply the mention of your NAP (Name, Address, and Phone) on other websites. You will get credit for more mentions because google identifies your business through your NAP presence as an authority and trustworthy. There are 2 types of Citation, the structured and unstructured.
Structured Citation can be found in Business Listing Directories, where I can give you tips on this later, while Unstructured Citation can be found in a blog, article, or press release.
Conduct an Audit
Before I start to list my business in a new directory, it is effective to conduct an audit first. It can help to avoid duplicate and can be useful for further cleanup. Here’s how to do it.
Citation Audit is simply searching your NAP information on the web. Search it in Yext, Whitespark and you can use NAPhunter to keep it easy. There are patterns that can be used to assure that you will gather all of the existing listings.
Here are some of the patterns that I am using:
Or you can manually search each local directory using these search formats:
Note: Do not forget to search for all the variations that you have and then separate the correct and incorrect listings.
Use Quality Sites
After collecting all of the existing listings that you have, it is easier to get a list of directories that you can use in submitting new Citation. But, you still need to be careful on choosing the sites for your business. Some sources might help or hurt your ranking. Here are a few factors to consider in choosing quality sites:
- Use top popular sites
- Pick highest (DA) Domain Authority sites
- use niche and geo-specific sites – these are local directories that are related to the industry and geographical location of your business.
- check the site’s feature
Despite performing an audit, there are some directories that cannot be seen in google index. So, we need to search each site manually to avoid duplicate. Why avoiding duplicate listings? Because customers and Search Engine might get confused. It may also hurt your credibility, trust, and rankings over time.
Accuracy and Consistency of Business Information
Having an accurate and consistent information is the major factor in building an effective citation. We define citation as mention of your business NAP on other websites if we have an inaccurate or inconsistent information Google might probably notice this and will sure to affect our business rankings.
100% Profile Completeness
100% profile completeness is not possible from all sources but can be possible for others. So you have to check the site’s feature to input all of the information that you have. Every information that you have is of high importance regardless if it says it is required or not.
Citation must be Claimed or Verified
One of the most important process, that others take for granted in citation building is to claim or verify their listings. Verified or claimed listing gives you the authority to your business listing. Comparing your unclaimed listing with your competitor’s claimed listing might lessen your credibility. With the unclaimed listing, you might have some restrictions to input your information on the site. Imagine others claimed your listing? Your competitors, perhaps?
Properly use of categories
Is category important in Citation? It is a big YES!
It is important to list the correct categories each time you create a local business listing to determine the relevance of a business in local search. You can never rank as a lawyer if your business is listed as the home contractor.
Properly Record the Citation Link and Login Credentials
You have to make sure that you record all the citation link and login credential. If it is incorrect or if you need to update your information, you can edit it immediately.
After collecting all of the existing listings in Citation Audit and identifying their accuracy. Last thing, but very important thing to do is to fix all of your incorrect information or what we called Citation Cleanup. How are you going to do this? Here’s what you have to do if you do not have or failed to login to the sites.
- You have to focus on incorrect or duplicate listings. Try to fix all of the incorrect listings and delete all duplicate.
- Provide an email that you can use for outreach.
- Prepare your template
- Check each site manually, some sites required to log in or required to claim the listing before you can edit the information.Contact the website and wait for their response.
I can’t give you a 100% guarantee that your listing will be fixed. Here are some reasons:
- Some sites do not honor a generic email account, either to claim or request, try to use email under companies domain.
- Phone verification is required.
- Some sites are not managed by anyone.
- Paid listings site. If you are not willing to pay, there is a big chance that your listings might not be fixed.
I am still in the learning process on Local SEO. Send your feedback, and suggestions to onlinecribinc.com or post your comments below.