We all understood the importance of Local Citations in a previous article here, and the need to have them perfect and in order everywhere on the Internet. But more often than not, it happens that errors crop up in them and even one small error at one location is enough to get duplicated and spread across the web.
Thankfully, these wrong local citations can be corrected at every place. It is a bit tedious process because you are making things accurate, and there are no shortcuts for such a task. Keep note of these three things:
- Begin with citations that are specific to your industry and city, get a list of top 50 citation sources.
- Maintain a list of directories where you have updated the NAP. You can take the help of a Spreadsheet as this list will make it easy for you to follow up for any future reference.
- Besides adding new citations, you should also update the old citations.
Following are the six steps for the process of cleaning the citations:
- List down all possible variations:
Make use of the spreadsheet to write down all the NAP variations available on the internet about your business. You can use color code to distinguish the correct, incorrect NAP data and the variations in it.
- Investigate online for faulty NAP:
You can find more incorrect NAP online with the help of BBB Listing, check with the Secretary of State’s Filing for Business, and look out for changes made in Google Map Maker. Google My Business integrates all reviews of your business on other websites if it is recognized by Google. For that, go to the “Manage Reviews” section and see “Reviews from around the World.” Then check the listings for all the reviews and the citations in them.
- Use tools to make your tasks easy:
Once you have found out all the NAP variations on the web and listed them in your spreadsheet, the next step will be to start updating and correcting them. But if you go about doing it manually, it will take a lot of crucial time and energy of yours. Hence it will be wise to take the help of smart tools that will do the work accurately and quickly for you. E.g. Review 360.
- The real cleaning procedure:
Now come back to the spreadsheet cited in step 1. There are several columns in the second tab which are named as – Website, Business name and address, State and Zip, Links (add the URL your citation is linking with), Live listing (for reference, add the citation’s URL), Issues (mention all the issues here), Duplicates (add URL of any duplicates you find), and Status. You can color-code the status of the citation as per your understanding and change it as it progresses. Mark priority items in red color.
- Record and also Repeat:
You can audit your citations with the help of these steps:
- Start with the priority columns marked in red.
- Contact the directory site or mail them and don’t change the column’s color until it is perfect.
- You can claim the listings directly from some of the directory sites, and some will require you to send an email for verification.
- Go to websites and fix listings:
Some websites will not do any of the above mentioned in step 5, you will have to manually reach out to them to correct the listings.
- If the website has an option to claim your listing, do it! As it is the fastest way.
- Use your official mail Id to send a request as it will have credibility and help in verification.
- Some sites have an automated system where you will get a few calls, so give the right contact number.
- Be clear and concise with your requests while contacting the sites.
All this process will surely take some time, but it will be worth it and rewarding for you. After all citations are corrected, search engines will take some time to index them, and gradually the local rankings of your business will improve.