Local SEOs excel at nitpicking, trading in superstitions, and billing for busywork. Nowhere is that more true than when it’s time to clean up local citations.
You’ve got dozens (or hundreds) of local listings online, and not all of them have the correct business info. You’ve heard it’s important to have correct and consistent info on those listings.
Do you have to take the time to fix all of them – or do you need to pay someone else to?
No. Not all local listings matter. Having the cleanest listings doesn’t mean you’ll outrank anyone or get any more customers.
The danger of going overboard on your listings is that you feel burned-out after doing a bunch of work that doesn’t matter, and don’t have the time or the energy or the will to do the steps that do matter.
When should you bother to correct or to remove a business listing on a given site? If you answer yes to any of the following questions, go ahead and clean up the listing. (Skip it if you can answer no to all of the following.)
1. Do you see the listing on the first page (or first couple of pages) of Google’s results when you search for your business by name?
If the incorrect or duplicate listing shows up prominently for a brand-name search, fix it or remove it.
2. Do you see the site on the first page of Google’s results for a search term you want to rank for?
Maybe your incorrect YellowPages listing (for example) doesn’t stick out like a sore thumb, but if YellowPages.com ranks for a local search term you care about, it’s worth bothering with your listing(s) there.
3. Is it on InfoGroup, LocalEze, Acxiom, or Factual?
Google and other sites in the local-search ecosystem trust these four sites – known as “data aggregators” – as sources of accurate business info. Make sure your listings there are accurate.
4. Is it on a government site?
It’s likely that Google Maps and the data-aggregators (see point #3) trust the business info on government sites (e.g. State Secretary of State). It may be a pain, but make sure your “official” record is accurate.
5. Have you heard of the site?
If so, I’d fix it. Unless it’s Yahoo. Yahoo is for the birds.
6. Do you have reviews on another listing on the site, or plan to ask for reviews on the site?
You don’t want customers to review the wrong listing.
7. Has a customer ever seemed confused by info that’s on the listing?
Easily the best reason to fix or remove an incorrect listing.
8. Is it clear that you can update the listing with relative ease, and for free?
If it’s controlled by Yext or otherwise requires you to pay to make any changes, I would say it’s not important to fix or to remove.
But let’s say it’s a free listing, and you can fix it or remove it easily if you want to. Should you? If it passes the other 7 tests I’ve described, I wouldn’t say you need to – at least not for citation-consistency purposes. Do it if it’s just gnawing at you, and if fixing one won’t cause your OCD to flare up and compel you to fix 100 other rinky-dink listings.
Do you have a local listing you’re not sure whether to clean up?
Can you think of criteria for deciding when to bother with a listing vs. when to skip it?
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