For a business with an online presence, nothing is more important than having control over where, how, and why you have been mentioned online. While it seems like a tall order, citation audits can escort your organization halfway through gaining control. A citation audit aims to comprehensively analyze your business’s online mentions and listings, from your business name down to the address, phone number, and any other relevant information.
Citation audits ensure that a business’s information is accurate, consistent, and updated across all online platforms. This includes directories, review sites, social media profiles, and search engine listings. This article will show you how to conduct citation audits and why they are essential for your business.
How To Conduct Citation Audits
While every business has its way of conducting citation audits, these are some of the common steps followed:
- Identify the online platforms where your business might be listed.
- Use a search engine or citation audit tool to search for your business name, address, phone number, and other relevant information on the platforms you identified.
- Check for the consistency of your business’s name, address, and phone number (NAP) in all citations. Put particular focus on variations, misspellings, abbreviations, outdated information, and more. Also, review the business hours, website URLs, images, categories, and descriptions.
- Check for any conflicting information that may confuse potential customers or search engines.
- Fix the identified issues and update accordingly.
Why Does Your Business Need A Citation Audit?
- Helps With Local SEO
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) benefits significantly from citation audits by optimizing your web content, structure, and code to rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs). Citation audits ensure that your business information is up to date and consistent all across the internet.
Such consistency makes it easier for search engines to trust your business and thus rank it higher in the search results. A higher rank makes it easier for potential customers to find your business and contact you. Citation audits help make your business more visible online, which is essential for local SEO.
Recognizing that a significant percentage of online experiences begin with a search engine, American expert companies like Manwaring Web Solutions now emphasize the importance of citation audits and their overall impact on local SEO. Local businesses that lack online visibility lose out on many potential customers.
- Citation Audits Improves The Credibility Of your Business
Regarding the credibility of your business online, two groups of people matter—the customers and the search engine. Search engines recommend your company to people searching for goods and services online, and the people then contact you.
Suppose the information you’ve shared about your business online isn’t consistent and accurate. In that case, search engines will be less likely to share it with people searching for your business. And if they do, customers will find it hard to trust your company due to the inconsistencies present. Citation audits help to discover and weed out inaccurate or outdated information to improve your business’s reputation and credibility.
- Enhance User Experience With Your Website
Some of the ways citation audits improve user experience with your website are:
- Identifying outdated and duplicate content, broken links, and gaps that need to be filled.
- Citation audits ensure that citations are accurate and consistent by enabling you to identify and fix duplicates or incorrect addresses.
- You can tell which web pages perform below par with citation audits and fix it.
Once your information is accurate across all platforms, potential customers find it easy to access the information they need when they search for your business. With citation audits giving you an avenue to fix these errors and annoyances, visitors to your site will get the best user experience.
- Citation Audits Help You With Competitor Analysis
It is possible to perform citation audits on your competitors’ websites. Citation audits on your competitor’s sites should ideally focus on the following:
- The overall consistency of their name, address, and phone number (NAP) across online directories, review sites, social media profiles, and the like.
- The quality of the platforms where their citations are listed. Use this information to determine whether there are gaps in your citations.
- Information provided in their citations, like business hours, website URL, and images. This information will help you ascertain whether your citations are as comprehensive and competitive.
- Focus on your competitor’s reviews and ratings. Such information will help you gauge their reputation and run it against your own to identify opportunities for your business to improve or stand out.
When you focus on the four points mentioned above, you will realize that citation audits can help you identify gaps or inconsistencies in your business by comparing them to your competitors. With this information, you can develop strategies to outperform your competitors in search engine results and improve your business market share.
- Citation Audits Help With Reputation Management Online
Besides helping with accuracy and consistency, citation audits are also good tools for reputation management online. Citation audits help you note how your business is represented online by third parties like review sites. When people leave reviews for your business, whether negative or positive, prompt and appropriate responses might be the lifeline that your business floats on.
Regular audits may help you to identify and address any negative publicity or issues on diverse platforms, which will help boost your online reputation. Citation audits allow you to stay vigilant and track online discussions, social media posts, or news articles mentioning your business. You can quickly respond to any potential crises.
Also, citation audits can give insight into your competitors’ reputation management strategies, which might be helpful when applied to your business.
- Citation Audits Improve Your Brand Visibility
With regular citation audits, your brand will be more visible and discoverable. You will identify platforms, review sites, or directories that you had not introduced your business to before but could be of great benefit. Adding your business to these platforms introduces you to new customers and improves the visibility of your brand.
Also, maintaining accurate and consistent information across all your business and social platforms helps propagate your brand identity, which people can associate with your products and services, improving its visibility.
Citation audits ensure that your business information is accurate and consistent across all platforms, fostering trust among potential customers and search engines. A comprehensive citation audit strategy is essential for your business’s visibility and credibility. Also, if done well, it can expand your market share in the ever-evolving digital world.
Like what you're reading? Subscribe to our top stories.