Local Citations You Do NOT Want

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Citations help your local rankings and overall visibility to customers.  The more you can rack up, the better – right?

Wrong.  There are some sites you simply don’t want your business to be listed on.

If I had to categorize them, I’d call them consumer-protection / complaint-board sites.

How would you like to be the proud owner of juicy citations like these?




Didn’t think you’d want a piece of that action.

(Please note: I picked the above listings at random.  For all I know, the businesses listed there do a great job.)

Here are some sites I’ve found where a citation = bad local visibility:

BBB.org (if you have a bad rating there)










TheSqueakyWheel.com (charges $5)

My guess is Google will not put a wet towel on your rankings if you’re mentioned on any of the above sites.  (But who knows…maybe.)

It doesn’t really matter, though: The goal is to attract customers.  If any of the above sites shows up in the search results when someone types in the name of your business, you’re repelling customers.

If you’re in the unenviable position of being listed on one of these sites, at least respond to the complaint.  Many sites give you (the business owner) some way to address the beef – as a way of making things right or of telling your side of the story.  Whatever you do, be wary of companies that claim to be able to remove complaints.

If angry customers are doing your citation-building for you, you’re in trouble.  But things will never get out of hand as long as you care and try to do a good job:


  1. I’d add one more to these – call scam and caller complaints sites. I used to know a company that was creating quite a number of these for the sake of improving the rankings (because that was the only deliverable), without taking care of the reputation disaster it might cause for the business.

  2. I would say businesses listed on such websites would be good candidates for reputation management 🙂

    • Indeed…but only reputation-management that the business owner does himself/herself. As opposed to writing a check to a company that claims to be able to help. Plus, only business owners themselves can fix the deeper problems that would have resulted on their being listed on those sites in the first place.

      Thanks for bringing up a good point!

  3. Phil,
    I agree you certainly don’t want those citations – and I recently started talking about expanding that list even further to less obvious ones. Mainly, worthless PR ones. I’ve had clients showing me new businesses trying just to launch a lot of identical sites and market them as “help local directories.” Anyways, if you get a chance give it a read and let me know what you think: http://www.londes.com/ldm-blog/local-seo-citation-bubble-be-careful-with-local-directory-listings


    • Hi Mike,

      Thanks for passing along that piece. I like how it goes against the grain. Although I agree there’s a “bubble” of people who think that (1) “local SEO = citations” and that (2) “more citations = better rankings,” I think that the bubble doesn’t encompass as many people as you might think. I think most good local SEOs would agree with me when I say – as I did in the 2012 Local Search Ranking Factors – that there are a lot of junk directories, and that being listed correctly on the BIG sites is much more important than being listed on a bunch of rinky-dink sites nobody’s heard of. My exact words there were “quality over quantity,” and I’ve seen even more evidence to make me believe that.

      So I agree that there are a lot of people who view citations the wrong way, but I think any good local SEO is well outside of the “bubble” you describe.

      Anyway, again, good job.


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