3 Ways to Identify and Fix Local Business Citations

­In May 2012, Google merged their Places for Business with Google+ Local, throwing the entire Local scene into chaos with Local marketers trying to make certain their Local optimization tactics didn’t result in a dip in client positioning. Now that the dust has somewhat settled, a factor that remains important is having inconsistencies in your NAP information on Local Search sites.

Below are listed 3 incredibly helpful sources in identifying and fixing incorrect citations.

Best Citation Sources

Getlisted.org released a map which details the best citation sources by U.S. city. Their methodology for determining the best citations per city is explained on the page:

Using Whitespark’s Local Citation Finder, we searched Google for the most common keywords within 71 local search categories across 53 large US cities, 20 medium-sized cities, and 20 smaller cities. We then scored the sites inversely based on ranking position combined with overall number of occurrences. The sites that appeared most often and with the highest rankings were deemed “best”.” – Getlisted.org

(Credit: GetListed.org)

Why This Matters

If you’re having issues with duplicate listings or are desperate to keep a tight grip on the consistency of your NAPs, this is your perfect starting point. Starting with the top citation source for your city, go down the list and correct any incorrect listing information on these local search sites. Odds are if you find a listing that is incorrect, it could be a source for a troublesome duplicate listing that keeps popping up.

Rebranding and Name Change Issues

A great guide to changing business names & SEO was posted on Search Engine Land by Andrew Shortland. This details all the steps needed to successfully change your business name without effecting your current +Local and organic SEO strategies.

What This Means To You

The main example he uses is when a dentist in Carlsbad wanted to include his sons name in the name of his dental practice. When changing your business name you’re essentially changing the way your business is identified on Local Search sites across the web. Without making the necessary changes beforehand and monitoring potential NAP consistencies there is a HUGE risk of duplicate listings and drops in +Local visibility. Bottom line, proceed with EXTREME caution!

Local Search Ecosystem: Fall 2012 Update

A wonderful way to look at the complex Local algorithm, David Mihm explains in his recently released infographic on the Local Search Ecosystem where the big and small Local Search sites grab their information for your business.

(Credit: DavidMihm.com)

Why The Heck Should You Care?

Referring to this infographic when fixing incorrect NAP information for your business can eliminate a lot of future work. Taking care of the biggest Local Search sites can have a spider web effect, trickling down to the not-so-major Local Search sites. With so much talk in this article about correcting your listing information, I hope you start to understand how important it truly is.

In conclusion, this quick re-cap can make a world of difference once the tactics are put into play. Each resource is incredibly valuable and decreases the amount of time you spend identifying and fixing NAP inconsistencies.