Although their relative importance is likely to decrease over time, citations – defined as “mentions” of your business — are still the bread and butter of local SEO. In David Mihm’s comprehensive list of Local Search Ranking Factors, citations come in at number four, surpassed only by having a physical address in the city of search, manually verifying your Google Places page, and designating proper category associations. Needless to say, most agencies that provide local search services offer citation submission and cleanup as a regular part of their solutions package, and, for better or worse, it seems as though an entire industry has sprung up around the concept of “bulk citation submission”.
In this post, I wanted to highlight three tools that have the potential to significantly simplify the process of finding and managing local citations for your own business and/or that of your client. Two of the three include a paid upgrade option for expanded functionality, but it’s far from necessary; the tools work just fine without it!
Yext Local Search Scorecard – Yext is a New York-based startup that’s been around since 2006. The company has partnerships with 36 different local directory sites like Yelp, Foursquare, and Superpages, and aims to make it easier to maintain consistent business listings across all of these directories. The actual submission and maintenance service costs money, but as part of its service offerings, Yext also provides a free Local Search Scorecard. Just enter your business name, address, phone number, and zip code to get a report of whether your business is listed in each of the directories that are a part of Yext’s network. The report card also indicates whether the profile includes a link back to your website, whether there’s an accompanying description of your business, etc. My preferred use of Yext is to check to make sure that all of my locations are consistent, i.e. they all use the exact same business name, address, and phone number.
GetListed.org – very similar to the Yext Local Search Scorecard. It only checks whether you have listings in 11 directories (as opposed to Yext’s 36), but many of the directories on this list are not in the Yext Scorecard, so it’s good to use these two services in conjunction.
Local Citation Finder – a popular tool from the fine folks over at whitespark. This app works a bit differently than Yext’s Scorecard or GetListed. Rather than cross checking whether you have listings in a pre-defined set of local directories, this tool asks you to enter a keyphrase relevant to your business (e.g. “dentist”) along with a location. The app then returns a list of suggested directories where you should claim a listing based on its analysis of directories that are already appearing in search results for the phrase that you specified.
That about wraps it up, folks! If there are any similar tools which you use that I haven’t mentioned here, be sure to discuss them in the comments section below.
Lukas Pleva is an SEO intern at Webhead Interactive, a full-service online marketing firm based in Tampa, Florida. When he’s not a student at The University of Chicago, he likes to dabble in SEO, social media marketing, and web design. He currently oversees marketing campaigns for St. Pete Bagel Co., an online merchant specializing in the sale of mail order bagels, bialys, and high-end coffee.