Local Citation Finder

local citation finder detectiveMany small business owners have learned recently, that citations help to push their Google Places ranking up in the SERPS (search engine results pages), and they are looking for local citation finder software, information, advice, and tools to help them.

We have been working with small businesses for years, helping them to get or increase their number of citations. During this time we have found many great blog posts, websites, and software on the subject, we have also developed our own techniques, which we want to share with you in this post.

Here is what we have learned about citation finder software

While it is okay to use software to find citation sites, you don’t want to use it to acquire them. Much like girls in the movie “Water Boy”, automatic submission tools are the devil. Automated citation submissions have been viewed as black-hat SEO for years, and since the recent Panda and Penguin updates to Google’s Search algorithm, you are almost definitely going to get penalized.

Exception to the rule

There is always an exception to the rule, and this one come by the name of yext (they spell it with a lower case y). They have partnered with a lot of cheesy directories and some not so cheesy, to do automatic submission. Yext got together with all the little directories a few years ago, they were afraid Google would eat their collective lunches in the small business marketing niche. They figured that if they partnered up, they could compete with Google. So for $99.00 a month you can automatically submit your business to the underlings.

Recently, Merchant Circle partnered with yext, if you have a Merchant Circle listing, your email probably gets hit once a week with yext advertisements. Spoiler Alert: The verdict is in, and most say it isn’t worth the money. One more quote from Water Boy: “Which brings me to my next point, don’t smoke crack!” – LT

Whitespark local citation finder software

This tool will help you find citation sites. This is a more advance type of do it your self tool. They will not only find you citations based on keywords, but they will track your local competitions citations too. These guys help you find all citation sources, not just directories.

They also help you to keep track of where you have submitted your company. Whitespark will cost you $20.00 a month, but they will let you run up to 3 campaigns for the dough. These guys are pioneers in local SEO, and I have used them in the past.

SEOMOZ Recent acquisition “GETListed.org” a free citation finder

Getlisted.org was the birth child of David Mihm a local search expert, but now the proud property of SEOMOZ. This is a great free tool that is gaining a lot of popularity. I believe it will cost money in the not to distant future. This website not only offers the citation finder, or as they say “See how your business is listed on Google, Bing, and other major local search engines.”, but, there is also a ton of great information about local SEO.

Not only the president but also a member

I am a big fan of the BBB and the Local Chamber of Commerce. I have every small business I work with join these two sites. If you scroll to the bottom of any page on my website, you will find a link to my A rated BBB listing, and also a link back to my local chamber. They are not only great sources for citations, but they actually drive paying customers to you. I get better leads from these two resources, than any other directory. Of course it matters what industry your in, if your in food service you may find you get more leads from Yelp or Urbanspoon.

Acquire Local Citations Through Sponsorship

Find a local little league team, adult softball team or such with a website or facebook page you can sponsor. When they post your company as a sponsor, ask them to include your contact info. A lot of local pubs have a website, find a dart team to sponsor and get a citation.

Plan to be a toys for tots drop off, all drop off locations are promoted on lots of local websites (just missed that bus for 2012 though, but there is always next year).

Most organizations have a Facebook page, even if they don’t have an official website. You could buy a case of cookies from the local girl scouts troop, and ask them to post your address in in return on their Facebook page as a place to buy cookies.

Acquire local citations through promotions

Run a promotion that benefits a good cause. We worked with an auto repair shop to run an oil change promotion benefiting the local homeless shelter. When you donated 5 cans of food, you got an oil change for $15.00.

The local news papers picked up this story and came down to take a picture of the owner, and of course they included the name, address, and phone number in the piece. The local garage expanded it’s customer base, up-sold some front-end work and brake jobs, while earning some citations.

Their are a lot of meet-up groups and organizations that need space to meet once a month or once a week. If you have the extra space, or if you don’t use your boardroom at night, you can find local hobbyist groups, book clubs and such that will list you as the place to meet.

You don’t need to be original to succeed. Find a good local cause that is already being promoted, and ask to co-sponsor the cause or event.

Put a webcam in your store front for citations

People love webcam sites, especially during harsh weather situations. For the cost of a $65.00 streaming webcam. You can post your location. CAMSCAPE is just one such site that lists webcams from all over the world. If you investigate this website be prepared for your work rate to suffer, because some of these webcams are awesome. Not only can you get a citation, but also you will get a link.

In conclusion, there are infinite ways to get local citations for your business. Use your own creativity and the principles and resources listed in this post to come up with your own ways to find citation sources.

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7 Responses to Local Citation Finder

  1. Darren Shaw says:

    Thanks for the mention Michael! Great post.

  2. Paul S says:

    Are you sure about that exception to the rule? I don’t want to end up getting penalized by google for buying links on all those yellow page sites.

    • Michael Kern says:

      The exception to the rule appears to be yext. You are not buying links from the Yellow pages for the purposes of gaming Google’s rankings. You are subscribing to a service to drive targeted traffic to your website or to get phone calls from their visitors.

      Google will not penalize you for paying for advertising, they will penalize you for paying to game their system. I do not currently have anyone listed on the Yellow pages for a fee. I use them for free citation only to improve Google maps rank. I have paid for Superpages and YP PPC and premium listings to see if it was worth it in the past, and I was not able to justify the expense. Money is almost always better spent advertising or getting listed on Google. Please let me know if you find it different.

      Thanks for the comment!

  3. Paul S says:

    That does seem to be fine if that’s what you buy. It’s confusing to read the reason to do it on the blog though.
    “So even if you can’t get your site ranked high for a specific search term, you can appear on the local directory site that ranks for that term. Perhaps even more important is that links to your site and mentions of your business (aka “Local Citations”) can help your site rank well in both “national” organic search as well as in the Google Places results (I still can’t bring myself to say the “Google+ Local” results).”
    Which makes it sound as like the more important reason to pay is to help your site rank higher by getting all the links.

  4. Garth says:

    Those are some clever, creative ideas for truly local citations. You just opened up a whole new way of looking at this for me. Hmmm…

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