Am I doing something crazy wrong with citations?

RattlingTram

Member
Joined
Dec 16, 2018
Messages
5
Hi folks, I've recently started doing local SEO/directory citations for clients as an add-on service, but things are really not working out.
I'm using consistent NAP across all my citations and I'm flat out not getting backlinks from them no matter which backlinks checker tool I use.

And now Whitespark is telling my I'm not listed in all sorts of directories that I absolutely definitely am. TrueLocal for instance for this client. This is the listing>
https://www.truelocal.com.au/business/clyde-veterinary-hospital/clyde-north

But there it is being suggested for addition in my Whitespark report. Yelp - listing confirmed, umpteen million photos added, the most comprehensive listing you could imagine, but nothing appearing in any backlinks report I'd care to check.

The one backlink that does consistently show up is aussie-hours, but Whitespark is telling me to list in Cylex, where I also have a listing, and the 2 of those are actually managed through the same submissions process (!?!)

Honestly, at this point, I'd be perfectly willing to pay a professional for 1-2 hours of their time over Skype to give me some coaching here. I'm not completely naif about this stuff. I'm familiar with all the funamental principles of local SEO, but I seem to have zero ability to generate valuable backlinks from citations. I don't know if I'm being too impatient, but it's now been well over a month for some of these listings - on site SEO and GMB/google reviews are all going well, but this client is getting tired of being told to wait for their domain authority to build. It's approaching 2 months that some of these listings have been live, but we don't seem to be getting any juice from them.

Can anyone out there be of any assistance, and again I'm prefectly happy to pay for this?
 
Joined
Aug 9, 2012
Messages
332
Hello! I think I can help with this. The Whitespark Local Citation Finder will NOT report all your citations. It discovers citations through a series of different Google searches (as do pretty much all citation checkers), and so if the citations are not indexed in Google, they'll never appear in a citation report on Whitespark.

One thing you can do to maximize your benefits from citations is try to get more of them indexed. I have one suggestion on how to do this in this post:
https://whitespark.ca/blog/local-search-hacks-you-probably-havent-seen-before/
(ctrl-f for "index")

This might help feed them a little extra authority as well so they start showing up in some link reports. Did you check the link reports in Search Console?
 

RattlingTram

Member
Joined
Dec 16, 2018
Messages
5
Hello! I think I can help with this. The Whitespark Local Citation Finder will NOT report all your citations. It discovers citations through a series of different Google searches (as do pretty much all citation checkers), and so if the citations are not indexed in Google, they'll never appear in a citation report on Whitespark.

One thing you can do to maximize your benefits from citations is try to get more of them indexed. I have one suggestion on how to do this in this post:
https://whitespark.ca/blog/local-search-hacks-you-probably-havent-seen-before/
(ctrl-f for "index")

This might help feed them a little extra authority as well so they start showing up in some link reports. Did you check the link reports in Search Console?
Thanks so much for your reply. Yes. My main issue is that all I'm getting in Search Console are Pinterest, Yellow Pages and Aussie-hours. Search Console is showing more backlinks than any backlink checker - including SEMRush, Backlink Watch, Monitor Backlinks, Open Link Profiler.

Major sites like Yelp, Truelocal, Hotfrog are missing from EVERYTHING. That hack is AWESOME though, I'll definitely give that a go. Are we CERTAIN that's not considered black hat? I've pinged a lot of these links myself already and I was advised to stop doing this for that reason.

Great article BTW, you've just earned a share to my Pinterest network with that for your assistance. Many thanks.
 
Joined
Aug 9, 2012
Messages
332
I'm certain that it's not considered black hat. Totally cool for you to link to your own profiles that are out on the web. It's kind of like adding links to your all your social profiles.

One additional tip with that page to index your citations: make sure it's part of your navigation. Can be in the footer. It just can't be an orphaned page on your site. Put it in your XML and HTML sitemaps too.
 

RattlingTram

Member
Joined
Dec 16, 2018
Messages
5
Yes, I noted the article said it needed to be internally linked. I've actually buried it in the menu, and I *tried* to add a bit of contextual text with actual h1 tags on the page and so on, although I wasn't clear whether that would make a difference I figure it wouldn't hurt and used some anchor text instead of making a page full of HTML in case anyone is ever silly enough to visit it.

If you had 5 seconds to take a look with any feedback, I'd really appreciate.
Online Directories - Clyde Veterinary Hospital

I'll obviously add to this - I've got about 20 other sites where the client is sitting on the confirmation email - and one where we need to fix up some problem content. I do realise 9 links isn't enough - but this is turning into a bit of an extended exercise.

So, I've asked Search Console to do it's thing, and crossed my fingers. I'd be chuffed enough just to see a couple of the higher DA links appear in my backlinks in Search console rather than every national variant of Pinterest for a change lol ...

Again, I really appreciate your help with this - I gather you're formally affiliated with Whitespark? It seems like a great product - if I can niche down in this space a bit more, you can definitely expect a subscription here. Cheers!

Edit - OK, sorry just read your signature properly, no need to answer THAT particular stupid question ...
 

Phil Rozek

Local Search Expert
Joined
Jul 26, 2012
Messages
1,530
@RattlingTram, what Darren said is great advice to get citations indexed and more visible.

Then there's the issue of getting links out of your citation work. Relatively few citation sources give you links that pass pagerank (AKA "follow" links). Even when they do, the links tend to be on low-authority sites, and even the "follow" links from higher-authority sites just don't seem to give you any oomph (we can speculate as to the reasons). The main inherent problem is pretty much any business can get listed on those sites, and Google knows that.

Most of the good links you can (and maybe will) rustle up will not be from your citations. They'll be from other, often less-straightforward work. Another big topic there. Just the same, to the extent you want citation work to overlap with link-building that might pay off, your best bet is to focus on industry-specific, niche sites (perhaps including sites that require a fee). Those are most likely to give you a solid link, in my experience.
 
Joined
May 3, 2018
Messages
60
@RattlingTram Loads of good advice from @whitespark and @Phil Rozek. My 2 cents, for what it's worth:

- If a citation isn't indexed, you can't find it on Google, hence Darren's hack for getting more of your citations indexed.

- Not all citations provide a backlink, so a backlink checker (you mentioned SEMRush, Backlink Watch, Monitor Backlinks, Open Link Profiler) isn't the best tool for this work. You can find your citations by searching various combinations of your NAP. For example:
- <business name> <phone number>
- <business name> <city>
etc.

Try the Chrome plugin "N.A.P. Hunter" to see all these search combinations deconstructed.

You can also narrow the search to specific sites. E.g. "<business name> site:cylex.com"

Again, you won't find anything if they're not indexed. But the point is, search for the citations by NAP, not by backlink.

- Finally, wondering how a citation can have any value if it doesn't provide a backlink? See David Mihm's brilliant post on why citations are the new backlinks. (It's from 2008, so it's not so new anymore, but it's still worth reading.)

David's post links to a post by Bill Slawski that's also worth reading. Direct link.
 

JoshuaMackens

Local Search Expert
Joined
Sep 12, 2012
Messages
1,815
If you're looking for backlinks Google knows about, you need to check out GSC. The backlink checkers you mentioned won't be able to show you that. Those tools aren't for auditing your site. They're for auditing other sites so you can reverse engineer their backlinks. Don't use them in this scenario except as a supplement to GSC (aka maybe they found backlinks Google didn't and you can feed those backlinks to Google).

Also, on backlinks from citations (which has already been covered), you don't want to do citations for backlinks. You do citations for, well, citations. Only 20% of citations will have a followed link according to our research on Local Listing Ninja. And even then, they fail the two rules we use for backlink quality:

1) Do real people go to the site?

2) Is it difficult to get on the site?

Any good backlink will pass both tests. Citations backlinks fail both. Typically no one goes to trepup.com. And your listing is free. So it's not a quality backlink.

But citations are still wonderful for their own purpose. I would still suggest doing them for your clients.

Also, if you take a Google sheet and make it public and paste your links, that is rumored to help with indexing as well. Much like posting via Google+ used to be. I think maybe even Twitter can be done that way now as well.

Good luck!
 

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