More threads by Mike Wilton

Sep 24, 2012
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Citations are probably the biggest beast to tackle when it comes to local SEO, especially if you have a client or website with a somewhat established online presence. My question is, how are most of you handling this? I'm sure everyone has their own techniques, but when it comes to cleaning up citations are there certain sites you start with? What do you do when you find listings that may be claimed and the client doesn't know by who, or even how to access them? Curious to hear everyone's thoughts on their practices for dealing with this, especially if you wind up dealing with it on a larger scale.
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Hey Mike,

When it comes to cleaning up and building citations you really need to use a diverse approach.

We have a ton of clients we take on that already have a deeply rooted online presence and it's almost never a clean situation.

We use a a couple different tools to seek out citations as well as good old manual searches on Google.

We always make sure LOCALEZE, ACXIOM and InfoUSA are accurate as well as ensuring sure to delete any incorrect listings on them. (it doesn't cost anything to remove listings on all 3 of them)

As for updating directories, some we try to claim, some we work with the client to have updated if it's something like Yellow Pages, and some we need to establish a process for contacting the directory directly by their "contact us", or by phone.

Hope this helps a wee bit.
Thanks for jumping in Colan and David. I don't really deal with citations any more, so not my strong suit. So I was hoping the community would jump in and help each other out with ideas.

But I'm moving this thread to the NEW Local SEO tools section of the forum and there you will find lots of other good posts about citation building tools and methods.

JUST TWEETED THIS TOO and I see Darren from WhiteSpark is checking in.
So hopefully we'll get a good discussion going.

Thanks guys!

Anyone else have tips to share?
Hi Colan,
Thanks for that seems to be harder to correct a citation than to remove it. Also a time consuming job to say the least but seems to have definite benefits down the track.
Personally we simply start at the top and begin working our way down. Google+ is obvious, as well as Bing and Yahoo. From there we encourage the client to list with priority sites like their local chamber and BBB. Depending on how many locations they have and what the monthly budget is, this alone can be time consuming.

From there we are continually refining our priority and secondary citation lists. As shown on there are a select list of sites that dominate overall and we focus our efforts there first.,, etc. Then depending on our strategy and budget we'll work further down the list. Best Sources for Local Citations by City (U.S.) |

Of course starting with your NAP and getting that perfect based on keyword, category and competitor research is key AND of course distributing consistent data from your approved NAP through the big 3 data distributors is a no-brainer.

I have more thoughts on my blog about Google+ and all the rest if interested. Christopher Auman - Local. Search. Optimization.

I hope this helps. Looking forward to other thoughts from all!

Awesome topic, and surely one of my favorites :)

Colan shared some solid thoughts indeed, here are mine (some might overlap though):

1) Are there certain sites that you start with?

Yes, we start with the websites that have been proven to have the largest business database. These include:

The list goes on. As most of these tools are covered either by Yext, or by, we use them to fast scan through all of them. After this we usually use Whitespark's Citation Finder, Bright Local's Citation Tracker, and in some more serious cases - Sweet IQ. All of these usually return different results, so it's not rare that this way we find duplicate listings, or listings on websites that if we use just one of these tools we wouldn't find. We save the URLs of all listings that we find this way on a master spreadsheet and we use different coloring for different types of listings, so that we could more easily figure out what to do - color X for listing that have problems, color Y for listings that look fine, and color Z in the cases where on particular websites that has been predetermined to be valuable in the particular niche there is no listing for the business (neither correct, nor incorrect).

2) What do you do when you find listings that may be claimed and the client doesn't know by who, or even how to access them?

In the majority of the cases contacting the websites by phone would be the easiest way around this. They usually either set new account for you, fix the listing by themselves (as per your input), or delete the listing. However, there are some "stubborn" ones like Yellowpages for instance, where dealing with such cases is a little nightmare. But these cases are generally very rare.

A few articles that might help here:

Local Citation Building Study Part 2: What the Pros Think | Local Search Marketing Blog by NGS

Local Citation Building Tools | Local Search Marketing Blog by NGS

Removing Duplicate Listings from Different Business Directories

Hope this helps!
Super response, Nyagoslav! Definitely check out Nyagoslav's articles on citations. They are very valuable!
Yes I was hoping Nyagoslav would see this and weigh in. He's def the expert when it comes to citation building!

Thanks Nyagoslav!
Great to see everyone's responses, thank you! It's always great to get perspective from others who are facing similar issues. There are definitely a few nuggets in here I can work with. And I agree, Nyagoslav's posts on citations are awesome. Highly recommended to anyone else who hadn't read them when he originally posted them.
My battletesting is showing me what Sue just said is spot on:

"it seems to be harder to correct a citation than to remove it"

Is anyone else having the phone directory clones give you a hard time?

I've found.. updating from the web dashboard they provide is ineffectual... we have to call them on the phone to "get em to update"

it appears there is no incentive for a yellowpages clone directory to publish accurate information, there is no legal recourse either, some times I get the distinct feeling that "if you ain't likely to purchase advertising from them", they have little reason to make any changes. It's not their problem.

YellowBook it seems is worse.

Does anyone here observe this behavior from the yellowbook clone directories?
Hey David, thanks for joining and posting. Feel free to add a sig and do an intro so folks here can get to know you. :)

Is there a way to trace citations based on targeted location ( city ) ?

It shall be very interesting in order to be able to analyze competition level on a certain location.


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