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Having accurate information on the web is extremely important. If your information is incorrect, it can hurt the chances that people will find you, and that's not good for you or the customer that you could have served. The more a search engine can trust your location information, the more confident it can be in returning your pages to the local searcher, and for this reason, citations are extremely important. A citation is any mention of your business name, address, and phone number on the web, and this combination of information is often referred to as NAP for short.
Aside from having as many as possible on quality sites, citations should also be exactly the same wherever they appear. You can check how your business looks on lots of directory websites by visiting getlisted.org. GetListed is a site that provides information on local search, and you can use the tool to find out how well your business is listed online by entering your businesses' name and ZIP code. GetListed will then look up the listing across a host of different popular directories, and give you a listing score that tells you how well you've used the free listings search engines used to collect local search data.
Clicking on each of the tabs to the left will provide even more information on the accuracy of your business information, reviews, and other things you can do to improve your listings online. For example, in the Accuracy tab, you'll see your business information listed on a number of local directory websites. Here, we can see that the Google listing still needs to be claimed, and the Bing listing doesn't even exist. And we can also see that there are some subtle differences between the name, address, and phone number among some of this listing sites.
For example, Yelp has the business listed as White House Press Room, while Foursquare has it listed as White House South Lawn. You can also see that there are slightly different phone numbers that are shown across different directories. Having this information is crucial, and by claiming each of these listings, you can make the changes to the information to ensure that the name, address, and phone number is consistent across them all. Another great part of GetListed are their studies on local citation sources for each city and category, found in the Learning Center area.
These will tell you which local citation sources are the most popular in each city and for each business category, and they can be very helpful in finding specific listing sites that you'll want a citation from. When you run out of things to discover on GetListed, there are still lots of places that you can list your business, and it's just a matter of digging a bit deeper to uncover them. A great tool for this is the Whitespark Location Citation Finder tool. Here, you can research and manage all of your local citations in one place.
You can search by either Keyphrase or a Phone Number, and for this example, let's say we're looking for citation sources for an auto repair shop in Allston, Massachusetts. We fill in the fields, click Search, and wait for the tool to generate a list of suggestions on which local directories we could use for this business. In the search results, you can scroll down and get a list of lots of potential citation sources you may want ago after. If you find citations that you already own, you can mark them as Got It. You can also mark citations which don't make sense for your business as Useless.
These options can help you organize your citations in a meaningful way, and help you keep track of which ones you're getting over time without wasting hours looking at the same websites over and over. The quantity, quality, and consistency of the citations that search engines find around the web for your business are an important factor in how well you rank in local search, and having tools like these to manage your existing citations and help you find opportunities for new ones can make a big difference in your overall local search strategy.
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