It should be every website owner’s goal for their website to have a good SERP (Search Engine Result Pages) rank. Having a good SERP rank allows your company to be easily found and helps avoid confusion and misinformation. There are plenty of things that you can do in order to better your SERP like preventing duplicate citations and business info inconsistency. And the best way to find potential issues and clean up your citations is to perform a citation audit. So, what does one have to do in order to execute one? Well, in this article, we are going to go over the most important aspects of performing the perfect citation audit.
Like any other project that you will undertake regarding your website, there are a couple of things you have to do in order to prepare. Before performing the citation audit you need to have a clear idea of what it is and why it is necessary. You also need to be aware of the necessary tools that will make performing the perfect citation audit possible. So, let’s first go over the necessary tools, and then look over the entire process in necessary detail.
Tools that you will need
NAP Hunter – this is a must-have tool for spinning NAP combinations and for not missing any during Google search.
A spreadsheet – later on in the process you will need to have a spreadsheet. It is usually advisable to use Google Spreadsheets.
Scraper – Whitespark LCF and BrightLocal citation tracker are our top choice. These scrapers will help you double-check your work and ensure that everything is in order.
The process of performing the perfect citation audit
Before you start performing the perfect citation audit we suggest that you first completely read our quite. Each step that we will outline is important in order to properly tackle this process. So, make sure that you understand each step completely and that you have all the necessary tools before you start.
Step 1: Gathering data
In order to get good results with your citation audit, you first need to gather the necessary data regarding your company. All the data you gather you will have to put in your spreadsheet in order to have easy access to it when necessary. In professional audits you will usually have to give:
- Current business name.
- Phone number.
- Relocation information.
- Rebrand information.
You also need to be aware of which data provider service you are using. Some services like UBL and mozlocal automatically build citations to various sites. Knowing which cites are in question will help you down the road.
Step 2: Gathering NAP Variation
Once you’ve prepared your data you can start gathering the NAP (Name, Adress, Phone number) variations. Any time you find a different NAP variation, you need to note it in your spreadsheet. Old business info or badly copied info should show up during your search, and you need to be aware of it in order to change it. To actually gather NAP Variations, there are a couple of methods you can opt for:
Using Map Maker
Google Map Maker is one of the commonly used methods for finding NAP Variation among professionals. To use it, you simply need to visit a mapmaker in Google and enter your business name. Once you find click on “Details” and then “History”. There you will find how many times your business info has been edited and when.
To use the Better Business Bureau, you first need to head to their website. There you need to choose your country and type in the name of your business. Once you find your business, you can check it’s profile and look for additional info (alternative business name, additional location, etc.)
Step 3: Manual audit
To perform a manual audit you will have to use the NAP Hunter. Simply open up your browser and click on the NAP Hunter Icon. Once you open it, you will be able to add NAP variations one at a time. For each variation, you can press the Hunt button. This should open up additional tabs in your browser, each of which is a Google search query of the NAP you entered. You should check each tab and see if the link directs to the right citation. Once you check the business info, make sure to properly record your progress in the sheet. Once you are done with your current NAP, type in a different one, and see what you will find.
Step 4: Check data provider
Most data providers only support US businesses. Therefore, they are usually not available to other countries. So, when performing the perfect citation audit, try to check with various data providers about your website. To do so, you need to check whether your business is present on their data packets, as they may not appear on Google search results. Know that if you don’t do this, it will not matter how many times you try to alter incorrect business info. You may even get duplicates in GMB as the original data provider will simply continue to send incorrect business info.
Step 5: Categorizing NAP Variation
With the gathered data, you will need to categorize your NAP variations. To do so properly, you need to have an idea of what categories there are and how to sort through them. This boils down to how precise you want to be. After all, having only current and incorrect NEP variation may not be enough. Among the categories you should consider are:
- Correct NAP – fully correct NAP.
- Incorrect NAP – completely incorrect, or useless NAP.
- Acceptable NAP – slight error in the NAP format.
- Duplicate citation.