When you provide accurate information about your business, citations can help you bring more potential clients. However, if the information is outdated and wrong, you risk losing those potential clients. In addition, it negatively affects your online visibility, search ranking, and credibility. If you own a local business, it’s necessary to realize the importance of citation cleanup. After all, no one is going to be able to find you if don’t provide an accurate name, address, phone number, and eventually website address.
What’s the importance of citation cleanup
Today, barely anyone relies on traditional yellow pages when looking for a specific service or product. Most people use the internet to find what they need. Specifically, the evolution of search engines made it possible to find anything online. It also made it possible for business owners to advertise everywhere. So local searches become one of the most efficient ways to get closer to your audience. However, just like the right information can be easily spread over the internet, so can the wrong one. That’s why it becomes necessary to track, maintain, and correct this data. You will need citation cleanup to ensure the consistency of your information online.
What precisely are citations?
In general, you can find citations on places like directories, social media, data aggregators, review websites, Google My Business, Yellowpages, and many more. They are typically online mentions of your business, that consists of NAP information. Which is basically short for a business name, address, and phone number.
The benefit of clean local citations is:
- they increase your local visibility
- send signals to search engines that your business is valid
- improve SEO
- help potential clients to obtain information about your business
In addition, citations from credible websites like Yelp also serve as validation and provide confidence that your business can be trusted. The more accurate your citations are, the better you will rank for local search queries.
Why it’s necessary to clean citations?
For everything to function as it should be, you need to audit your citation listings. As we said, you need clean, accurate, and consistent citations so consumers can find you. This is, among other things, essential for having a successful business. There are three types of citations you need to clean and correct:
- Duplicates, or double, listings on the same directory
- Incorrect citations that provide wrong NAP information
- Incomplete citations that don’t offer at least basic NAP info
Considering it can be a tremendous task to complete, citation cleanup requires some serious time investment. Fortunately, professionals like AZ Citation Services provide solutions. SEO professionals will not only handle citation building, they will also deal with citation cleaning and save you from unnecessary troubles.
How citations become incorrect?
Here is a couple of reasons that can lead to the spreading of incorrect citations:
- Data aggregators obtain wrong information about your business
- You moved your business to a new location
- Changing a phone number
- You are using wrong variations of your business name in listings
- By submitting wrong info that later automatically spreads across the internet
- Not using the correct format of a local number
Additionally, someone is claiming your business citations without paying attention to the accuracy and consistency of NAP information.
The process and importance of citation cleanup and audit
To correct all the wrong information about your business in citations, you need a thorough citation audit. This is essentially hunting for all the citation online, and documenting them. The next step is to manually correct everything. Basically, the entire process looks like this:
- First, you are searching for and documenting everything, without correcting anything yet. The best places to start your search are popular directories.
- To make the entire process easier, use online tools. There is a number of free and paid tools you can use to find your business citations.
- Double-check the results by typing only your business phone number in Google search and see if you are missing something.
- Review results and decide which citations have priority for cleaning. In most cases, government websites, local directories, popular websites, and industry-specific resources should have high priority.
- By all means, don’t forget Google My Business, for obvious reasons.
- Start cleaning your citations manually by updating them with correct NAP information for your business.
If you don’t have the time nor means to do it by yourself, get experts to do it for you. It is probably the best option if you are operating your business for a while already. If you didn’t pay much attention to citations, the amount of wrong information online can be huge.
Use the right tools to streamline the process
Manually checking for all online citations is extremely difficult. And in some cases, nearly impossible. Luckily, there are tools that can help you with finding inconsistent business citations:
- Whitespark local citation finder
- Moz Local
- GeoRanker local citation finder tool
- PlacesScout local citation tool
- Citation Builder Pro tool
- BrightLocal citation tracker
- Click Intelligence local SEO tool
- The Syneup platform
- many more
By now, you have realized the importance of Citation cleanup and how it can affect your business. But, the entire process is easier said than done. Mostly because it requires great effort and takes time. You need to be patient because even if everything is done right, you won’t see true results for at least a couple of weeks. Meanwhile, you can check ratings and answer existing customer reviews and questions. In addition, you can shift your focus to improving other aspects of SEO. Or to get consultancy from SEO professionals about what more can be done. By the time it’s complete, you should be able to see the first signs of improvement. Eventually, your local presence will improve, and the final results will be more than rewarding.