DavidGetty

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I’ve noticed that every year people say that citations are less and less important. I’m wondering if any of you pros have an updated list of directories that you still think are important for local SEO?
 

Nyagoslav

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@JoyHawkins thank you for so kindly recommending our lists! I just wanted to make a full disclosure that the lists have not been updated in a while. We are planning on making some changes to them in the next few weeks.

The most important changes that have taken place in regards with the US list include:
  • Foursquare and Factual have merged. Factual no longer exists as a separate platform.
  • Yellowbook no longer accept free listings (see attached screenshot).
  • We have removed Local.com, Insiderpages, and a few other sites from our lists as they either no longer get listings added/updated, or the sites are no longer moderated at all.
  • Infogroup has rebranded as DataAxle.
@DavidGetty my humble opinion is that citations have become a victim of their own success. This, together with some search engine algorithms becoming more sophisticated in the way they handle business data, has made it look like citations are less important in absolute terms. There is nothing in the filed patents by Google, for instance, to suggest such a change in the algorithmic value of business mentions.

Over time, more and more businesses have been getting listed on a broader range of business directories. If 10 years ago it could have been enough for a business to be listed on a handful of business directories to have more business citations than their direct competitor, nowadays that would rarely move the needle. That is not to say that setting up hundreds of listings would help much, it just means that the top competitors in an industry might all be listed on the top 30 most important citation sources, so in relative terms, having these citations won't make a positive difference to an up-and-coming business.

Additionally, Google have become very sophisticated in the way they handle business data. While years ago it was very possible for even a couple of incorrect business records around the web to result in a split of data in Google's business data clusters, that is no longer the case. Such a split meant that the "trustworthiness" score of a single record dropped - as some of that added trustworthiness by the extra citations went to the other record, and as the overall trustworthiness of the data was reduced due to the contradiction of existing records with different business data. Again, this is not to say that incorrect business data online shouldn't be fixed (it most certainly should be), it just means that in relative terms, the chance of such incorrect data causing as severe problems as it used to in the distant past might be lower, specifically on Google Maps (not necessarily on other search engines or navigation platforms).

I hope this helps.

Cheers,
Nyagoslav

Yellowbook.jpg
 

Tony Wang

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@Rich Owings thanks, that's an interesting article. Although the usual "causation vs correlation" warning definitely applies. They didn't mention any actual testing to see if changes in the directory listing resulted in changes in SERP. It's hard to imagine we'd see such significant impact in SERPs, but even small improvements might make it worthwhile.
 
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@JoyHawkins thank you for so kindly recommending our lists! I just wanted to make a full disclosure that the lists have not been updated in a while. We are planning on making some changes to them in the next few weeks.

The most important changes that have taken place in regards with the US list include:
  • Foursquare and Factual have merged. Factual no longer exists as a separate platform.
  • Yellowbook no longer accept free listings (see attached screenshot).
  • We have removed Local.com, Insiderpages, and a few other sites from our lists as they either no longer get listings added/updated, or the sites are no longer moderated at all.
  • Infogroup has rebranded as DataAxle.
@DavidGetty my humble opinion is that citations have become a victim of their own success. This, together with some search engine algorithms becoming more sophisticated in the way they handle business data, has made it look like citations are less important in absolute terms. There is nothing in the filed patents by Google, for instance, to suggest such a change in the algorithmic value of business mentions.

Over time, more and more businesses have been getting listed on a broader range of business directories. If 10 years ago it could have been enough for a business to be listed on a handful of business directories to have more business citations than their direct competitor, nowadays that would rarely move the needle. That is not to say that setting up hundreds of listings would help much, it just means that the top competitors in an industry might all be listed on the top 30 most important citation sources, so in relative terms, having these citations won't make a positive difference to an up-and-coming business.

Additionally, Google have become very sophisticated in the way they handle business data. While years ago it was very possible for even a couple of incorrect business records around the web to result in a split of data in Google's business data clusters, that is no longer the case. Such a split meant that the "trustworthiness" score of a single record dropped - as some of that added trustworthiness by the extra citations went to the other record, and as the overall trustworthiness of the data was reduced due to the contradiction of existing records with different business data. Again, this is not to say that incorrect business data online shouldn't be fixed (it most certainly should be), it just means that in relative terms, the chance of such incorrect data causing as severe problems as it used to in the distant past might be lower, specifically on Google Maps (not necessarily on other search engines or navigation platforms).

I hope this helps.

Cheers,
Nyagoslav

Yellowbook.jpg

Hi,

I'm new to the forum but I don't like your answer.

If Google doesn't have a patent, doesn't mean doesn't apply to the algo. What I can tell you is that YES, Google IDENTIFIES Citations and I have proof of that. For me, I don't care if there is a patent or there is not. I always listen to the serps.
 
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I built some pages with auto generated content using an API. On those pages I added the name of local business, address, phone number and a custom description.

I did this without knowing that I was "building" citations for other businesses.

Well...

I'm surprised that when I was checking local business competitors, when I checked their profiles, Google shows at the bottom my website. How is that possible? The only link in those pages is a link to my page, no links to competitors.

How can you explain that?

To me is simply:
Google clearly identify those NAPs, and assign it with the GBP.

If Citations are a ranking factor, that's another topic that I can discuss.

But saying that Citations are worthless because "there are no patents", that's wrong.
 

keyserholiday

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I built some pages with auto generated content using an API. On those pages I added the name of local business, address, phone number and a custom description.

I did this without knowing that I was "building" citations for other businesses.

Well...

I'm surprised that when I was checking local business competitors, when I checked their profiles, Google shows at the bottom my website. How is that possible? The only link in those pages is a link to my page, no links to competitors.

How can you explain that?

To me is simply:
Google clearly identify those NAPs, and assign it with the GBP.

If Citations are a ranking factor, that's another topic that I can discuss.

But saying that Citations are worthless because "there are no patents", that's wrong.

The days of NAP consistency have long been over. I have seen too many businesses rank with incorrect, incomplete, or missing citations. The reason that citations have any value is that they can be the difference to trigger an autocomplete result or a KP. The days of needing to buy 1000's citations are over. I use Yext to that does everything I need for my clients. Directories are a different breed and if I find a directory website A. showing up for my searches or maybe my competitor is listed there, then I will get listed it.
I am interested in your comment that you inadvertently created citations for other businesses. I would love to see how Google sees and recognizes those citations.
 
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The days of NAP consistency have long been over. I have seen too many businesses rank with incorrect, incomplete, or missing citations. The reason that citations have any value is that they can be the difference to trigger an autocomplete result or a KP. The days of needing to buy 1000's citations are over. I use Yext to that does everything I need for my clients. Directories are a different breed and if I find a directory website A. showing up for my searches or maybe my competitor is listed there, then I will get listed it.
I am interested in your comment that you inadvertently created citations for other businesses. I would love to see how Google sees and recognizes those citations.

Thanks for the advice.

For me I don't like case studies or patent theories, I usually see what Google is doing, at the end of the day only that matters.

It's easy but I think it works from low competition keywords where there is no too much seo but:
  1. Go to Google.com
  2. Type any local search term like "lawyer near me"
  3. Click on any of the 3 local results
  4. Google will open the local business info
  5. At the bottom you will see "Web results".
Google show those results based on NAPs, NOT LINKS. I mean, I'm not saying you won't see a link but I'm seeing that Google show those results based ON CITATIONS.

So the guy in these thread talking about that there are no "patents" about citations is wrong.

That's the difference between people who knows about SEO, and people who actually DO SEO.
 

Blueviolet38

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Thanks for this.

If I'm okay with spending the money would you recommend using Yext to sort the main citations?

or is whitespark better?

Managing all the citations is a bit of a pain so I'd like to get someone to do it.
 
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Thanks for this.

If I'm okay with spending the money would you recommend using Yext to sort the main citations?

or is whitespark better?

Managing all the citations is a bit of a pain so I'd like to get someone to do it.

You're also welcome to check out BrightLocal's Citation Builder service where we'll help you build and maintain your citations Local Citation Building Service | Citation Builder by BrightLocal

We've also just added two new aggregators (GPS Network and YP Network) so that you can include more citations in your online footprint in the most cost-effective way. Shout if you have any questions and I'll be happy to help.
 

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