How to Identify Quality Citation Sources

Citations are a terrific way to boost a business’s local SEO. Just getting its information out there – name, address, phone number, working hours, etc. – will let the Internet know that it exists. By that extension, they tell people that they’re right there and ready for them. And a good source of citations makes this so much easier to do. But you’ll want to identify quality citation sources if you wish to make any real headway, seeing that the bad ones can actually damage your SEO efforts.

So how do you find good citation listings? AZ Citation Services has a few handy tips for you, so keep reading.

Just Google it

When in doubt, Google holds all the answers. The almighty Google actually helps us in two ways here. For one, Google My Business is one of the greatest citation sources the Internet calls home. Not only is it a massive database, but its authority in this field is almost without dispute. If you’re looking to get your citation out there, GMB is probably the first place for you to start.

A laptop with Google on the screen
As is so often the case, Google is an indispensable tool for citations

But there’s another use of Google for those who want to identify quality citation sources. Namely, checking out the page ranking of a given listing can give you a good idea of how worth your time it is. Granted, the page ranking of a citation directory doesn’t tell you everything on its own, but it’s still a good way to see if you need to do some more digging. When you spot a low-ranking listing, look into its other metrics and see what you find. It might be a newly-made page, which would explain the modest page ranking. On the other hand, it could also be that the listing is no good.

Core citation platforms

Before you set out to find quality citation sources, you should at the very least put your citations on the most essential platforms. These directories are some of the best in the game, so you can’t go wrong with them. In fact, you can’t get too far ahead in the citation game if you don’t have your toes in all of these listings. Assuming you know how to make perfect citations, you’ll get a great starting point for your business’s visibility with the below sources.

  • CityGrid
  • Foursquare
  • Apple Maps
  • Bing
  • Superpages
  • Localeze
  • Factual
  • Yelp
  • Acxiom
  • Infogroup/ExpressUpdate
  • Facebook
  • YP
Identify quality citation sources: smartphone screen with Facebook and other apps
Facebook is a very useful citation source

Check the link profile quality

A great way to identify quality citation sources is to take a good look at their link profiles. Run them through a crawler to get a solid picture of what kinds of links are on the website. Most would recommend something like Majestic, which is pretty in-depth in its reporting.

Once the report is in front of you, look for red flags that let you know something isn’t right. The biggest one of these is anchor text links with exact matches on forums, blog comments, cheap article directories, and bookmarking sites. If you see a lot of these, steer clear and keep searching for another listing.

Identify quality citation sources by their networks

If a citation directory business’ network is too large, it could harm your SEO. What does that mean? You see, many of these listing organizations like to spread out to dozens of domains in order to extend their reach on the Internet.

To make that spread faster and easier, they usually just copy and paste information from one listing to another. And as it so happens, many of the domains under these companies are pretty bad. Since bad citation sources are bad for you, you can see how this is a problem. Therefore, do your best to avoid these massive networks.

But how do you go about doing that? Luckily, there’s a pretty straightforward way. Look for a footprint from the site that should appear across other related sites. You can google that footprint in quotes to see other sites associated with the first one. And to see if they copied their citations, include the footer and a listing’s phone number like this: q=%22_footprint_%22+%22_phone_number_%22

Are listings copied on a ton of the network’s sites? If so, give them all a wide berth.

A tangle of differently colored threads
Too large a citation network inevitably leaves a tangled mess

Identify quality citation sources by domain age

You can find good citation sources by checking out their domain age. You see, an older domain will likely have more to offer you than a newer one. That’s because it’s more likely to be good since it managed to stick around for longer.

To be sure, this isn’t a hard and fast rule. Some older local citation sites lists can be a spam-filled mess, while newer ones make more of an effort. Nevertheless, domain age should be a factor in your attempts to identify good citation sources. You can use either the Wayback Machine or a whois search, whichever of the two is more up your alley.

Keep the information on your website updated

As a last piece of advice, we would like to tell you to pay attention to your own website’s citation info. You should do this before you even start trying to identify quality citation listings. You always want it to be accurate and easy to navigate. That will help everyone contact you easily and keep you relevant in terms of SEO.

If you want someone to craft the ideal citations for you, you can always order citations from a professional business. But regardless of how you go about it, whenever any information about your business changes, you have to update it on every page and have it renewed on every listing that holds your citations.

Identify quality citation sources: conclusion

Putting your citations wherever they can be put is hardly a good idea. If you want your SEO to prosper, you’ll need to identify quality citation sources and commit to them. This is not all that difficult as long as you follow the right steps. And with our tips, you’ll be sure on your way to boosting your visibility online.

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