The importance of citations is easy to understand once you look at them from the viewpoint of a search engine. Namely, they act as credible sources of information related to your business. And, while cleaning up your citations may be a long and tedious process, it is well worth the effort. Just remember that you are doing it for the sake of bettering your work. So, without further ado, here are the best ways to clean up your citations.
- The first thing you should start with is the citations that are specific to your city and industry.
- Second thing – keep a list of directories on which you have previously updated the NAP. This will allow you to follow up with these directories with greater ease. It will also turn out to be very helpful for you to audit your citations after a while. Know that you can use a spreadsheet for this action.
- Thirdly, make sure that you don’t just add new citations. Instead, you have to update the old ones.
Clean up your citations with the following steps
You have to identify all possible NAP variations. It is best that you use a spreadsheet to record all data that you will encounter in this step, as well as in the next ones. You will then have to do a bit of research, and find out what information is on all the web regarding your business. A good system of keeping the list clear, convenient, and comprehensible is to color code it. Perhaps use green for all the correct variations and red for all the incorrect ones.
For example, if your company is named ‘The Royal Move”, the incorrect NAP variation would be ”The Royal Movers”, or ”Royal Moving”. The correct NAP needs to have the correct name, address, and contact.
You will have to investigate for incorrect NAP online
Finding the incorrect NAP online can be time-consuming and a bit laborious, but it is crucial work if you want to clean up your citations. So, once you have completed the previous action, know that you will have to come up with a list of NAP variations yourself. To do this, follow these steps:
- Check the BBB Listing
BBB’s listings display additional business names, as well as phone numbers, and addresses. This will be of tremendous help when finding the NAP variations for your business.
- Find changes made in Google Map Marker
You may have already known that you can view the edit history of a business on Google Map Marker. To do this, simply search for a business on the Map Maker, and go to the History tab. Then, select ”Show All Changes” and you will be able to see all the previous edits. Note all the NAP changes that have occurred over time, and make sure to record all variations.
- Check all NAP variations that are associated with your business
If your business is recognized by Google, Google My Business will integrate all reviews on other websites. To check these listings, you will have to go to the “Manage Reviews section” and view “Reviews from around the world”. Once there, you will be able to check the NAP for citations.
Use tools to simplify the cleaning up of your citations
Upon listing all possible NAP variations, you want to scout the web and see how your NAP is listed across the top directories. However, doing it manually will cost you a lot of time, energy, and nerves. Luckily, there is a way to circumvent this by using certain tools:
- Synup is a free scan feature that will show your business’s NAP across top citation sources. It will also identify the incorrect listings.
- WhiteSpark Local Citation Finder offers a free version of its product. With it, you can search for inconsistencies across top directories by providing your phone number, location, and business name.
- You can also check Advice Local, Moz Local, and Universal Business Listing.
Now comes the actual cleanup process of your citations
Remember the spreadsheet we have advised that you create in the beginning? Now would be the time to turn to it. The way you should fill it would be as follows:
- Website – here add the address of citation source, as it will ensure easy tracking.
- Business Name and Address – add the business name and address from the citations here. Make sure to add these even if they are wrong. It will be easy to correct them in the following steps.
- State and Zip – here add state, city, and zip as it is in the citation.
- Links – add the URL that your citation is linking to.
- Live Listing – here goes the URL of the citation, for easy reference.
- Issues – note all issues with the particular citation in this column.
- Duplicates – add the URL of any duplicates in this column
- Status – you can use color code for this, so as to indicate the problem and resolution. For example, if there is a problem with the citation, you can mart it red. For minor problems, you can use yellow, and if there is no problem, use green.
You would do this for every citation source.
Reach out to websites and clean up your citations
Use these steps to finalize this process:
- Find out whether the website has an option where you are able to claim your listings. This is probably the fastest as well as the easiest way to clean up your citations.
- Make sure that you use your official email ID when sending a request. Not only will this establish a level of credibility, but it will also help with the verification process.
- Certain sites have an automated system for verification. For this reason, be ready to take a few calls and ensure you gave the right number.
- When trying to contact the website through an email, make sure that you are clear and concise with your request.
Admittedly, this process takes quite some time, but the result is more than rewarding. Just make sure to give some time for search engines to index new listings. Sooner than you know, you will see your business’s local rankings improve as clean data starts circulating. Good luck!