Is citation quality getting worse?

sjr4x4

Member
Joined
Nov 19, 2015
Messages
19
A view from the directory side of the fence. The quality of outsourced citation creation or updating was always (in my mind) pretty low, but over the last 12 months, is it me or is it getting worse?

Whether these are just automated requests squirted at us, or just very low paid workers on tickover mode, we seem to get lots of requests to update business details on our directories, because our info is out of date, when there is nothing wrong with it, or it is something trivial. St for Street, Rd for Road.

Sometimes it's a sneaky way to to replace a legitimate business owners email address with the citation companies email, to enable them to "manage the listing". Which is a simple delete.

But here is a great example of citation updating from one of the bigger UK providers. See if if you can guess who by the template style.

It has been brought to our attention that there are some inaccuracies in the citation details for XYZ Supplies.

The correct citation details to be placed on your website are:

Business Name: XYZ Supplies
Business Address: The Yard Lower Road, Orpington, Kent BR5 2PU United Kingdom
Business Telephone Number: 01234 825958
Business Website: www.....


Please can you advise when this has been actioned by reply to citations@blahblah

As opposed to the current live listing:
XYZ Supplies
The Yard Lower Road, Orpington, Kent BR5 2PU
Tel: 01234 825958
Website: www...


The only difference being we don't add United Kingdom on to the end of our .co.uk directory listings. Now if that is a citation crime, I'll start eating brussel sprouts. And no I can't be bothered to reply to you.

Then there are multitudes of new citations that are added daily, with randomly chosen categories, whole addresses added in a single field, then duplicated. They are so consistently bad that we auto filter out the rubbish for some digital recycling in their thousands. All that wasted effort.

I know it's not very business like, but for the price of some of these services, can't the citation peeps get paid a bit more and go for quality versus quantity? Citations are genuinely useful when done properly (let's be honest, it pays the bills), but I do wonder about the ROI for business owners when you look at some of the rubbish that comes through, or how business owners even measure the effectiveness of citations. Maybe I'm just overthinking it and that's the way the industry always will be...
 

JoshuaMackens

Local Search Expert
Joined
Sep 12, 2012
Messages
1,816
A view from the directory side of the fence. The quality of outsourced citation creation or updating was always (in my mind) pretty low, but over the last 12 months, is it me or is it getting worse?

Whether these are just automated requests squirted at us, or just very low paid workers on tickover mode, we seem to get lots of requests to update business details on our directories, because our info is out of date, when there is nothing wrong with it, or it is something trivial. St for Street, Rd for Road.

Sometimes it's a sneaky way to to replace a legitimate business owners email address with the citation companies email, to enable them to "manage the listing". Which is a simple delete.

But here is a great example of citation updating from one of the bigger UK providers. See if if you can guess who by the template style.

It has been brought to our attention that there are some inaccuracies in the citation details for XYZ Supplies.

The correct citation details to be placed on your website are:

Business Name: XYZ Supplies
Business Address: The Yard Lower Road, Orpington, Kent BR5 2PU United Kingdom
Business Telephone Number: 01234 825958
Business Website: www.....


Please can you advise when this has been actioned by reply to citations@blahblah

As opposed to the current live listing:
XYZ Supplies
The Yard Lower Road, Orpington, Kent BR5 2PU
Tel: 01234 825958
Website: www...


The only difference being we don't add United Kingdom on to the end of our .co.uk directory listings. Now if that is a citation crime, I'll start eating brussel sprouts. And no I can't be bothered to reply to you.

Then there are multitudes of new citations that are added daily, with randomly chosen categories, whole addresses added in a single field, then duplicated. They are so consistently bad that we auto filter out the rubbish for some digital recycling in their thousands. All that wasted effort.

I know it's not very business like, but for the price of some of these services, can't the citation peeps get paid a bit more and go for quality versus quantity? Citations are genuinely useful when done properly (let's be honest, it pays the bills), but I do wonder about the ROI for business owners when you look at some of the rubbish that comes through, or how business owners even measure the effectiveness of citations. Maybe I'm just overthinking it and that's the way the industry always will be...
No, you're right about citation services needing to get things correct and not submit junk. And yes, there's no reason for "United Kingdom". I'm sure that's super annoying to deal with massive, spammy requests.

We make sure our team goes for quality. Their work is double checked too. I doubt most citation builders do that though and that's probably the ones you're having issues with.

Sorry buddy!
 

Phil Rozek

Local Search Expert
Joined
Jul 26, 2012
Messages
1,540
@sjr4x4, your assessment is spot-on. All citation-building beyond the basic directories + more-prominent industry-specific sites + sometimes aggregators has always been busywork. The only thing that changes over time is how many local SEOs recognize that. That's happened at a glacial pace, but it influences what local directories offer, how they market themselves, and how many of them continue to squeak by.
 

sjr4x4

Member
Joined
Nov 19, 2015
Messages
19
To be fair and to add balance, there are also plenty of good practitioners out there as well. We also work with a lot of SEO agencies that started off as a rap over the knuckles for bombarding us with rubbish, but those that are willing to chat means you can easily arrive at a mutually beneficial position.

On average we auto delete around 1000 low quality new listings a month. All of them are manually added, such a waste of resource which someone somewhere has paid for :(
 

JoshuaMackens

Local Search Expert
Joined
Sep 12, 2012
Messages
1,816
To be fair and to add balance, there are also plenty of good practitioners out there as well. We also work with a lot of SEO agencies that started off as a rap over the knuckles for bombarding us with rubbish, but those that are willing to chat means you can easily arrive at a mutually beneficial position.

On average we auto delete around 1000 low quality new listings a month. All of them are manually added, such a waste of resource which someone somewhere has paid for :(
1,000 a month? Yikes!

@sjr4x4, your assessment is spot-on. All citation-building beyond the basic directories + more-prominent industry-specific sites + sometimes aggregators has always been busywork. The only thing that changes over time is how many local SEOs recognize that. That's happened at a glacial pace, but it influences what local directories offer, how they market themselves, and how many of them continue to squeak by.
Respectfully, I'm not sure I would agree with that. I do agree with you that there are probably diminishing returns at some point but there's really no way for us to know that for sure. I know that is said a lot but I've never seen Google post something official (yeah right, like they ever would) and haven't seen any case studies that have proven that (which would also be extremely difficult). I think it does make sense, which I think has led people to say that's the way it works. But the truth is no one knows. And there's also ample evidence that Google doesn't always do what makes sense. Also, Google's local algorithm is archaic in many ways. It wouldn't surprise me at all if they don't have any type of diminishing returns on listing quantity, even though I agree that they absolutely should. They also shouldn't value keywords in a GMB name in the unequitable way that they do. But...they do.

I also think a business with the basic directories (around 10-15) left alone will not rank as well as a business with 100+ listings and aggregators. I definitely think there is benefit to getting as many as you can get. I think it really comes down to how much is that going to cost in terms of money and your time. I have a hunch you and I probably agree on that though.

I think at the end of the day though, I do agree with you it is likely they do some type of diminishing returns. Is it based strictly on pure quantity? What's the threshold? Is it based on some type of domain authority metric threshold (which would likely be a quantity threshold anyway because it's hard to earn that type of domain authority they probably require)? Is it a mix? Tough to say. And again, do they do any type of diminishing returns? You would think so. But this is Google we are talking about.
 
Joined
Jul 8, 2015
Messages
9
I’ll second this. In healthcare, it’s the Wild West though. They’re just banging out across many sites and not bothering with any the fields that drive value for our consumer users.
And probably 5-10 citations per location with multiple Doctors (former and current) on top of the Practice. Medical is the toughest citation cleanup job I deal with for sure.
 

tedchan

Member
Joined
Nov 5, 2018
Messages
37
We have a good tool for cleaning up associates physicians and other providers. The in-house marketing managers use it, the health system rep managers use it, the offshore agencies don’t even look at it. I don’t think they know the top five sites in space from ones that have never had any traffic. It’s just manual offshores citation work.
 

tedchan

Member
Joined
Nov 5, 2018
Messages
37
Inside of our portal the listing owner can easily add and delete associated providers.
 

JoshuaMackens

Local Search Expert
Joined
Sep 12, 2012
Messages
1,816
NPPES should be way more efficient and better than it is. It should also require all websites using its data to update regularly.

Do you use NPPES to correct NPI profiles often @tedchan?
 

tedchan

Member
Joined
Nov 5, 2018
Messages
37
NPPES is unavoidably one of our base data sets, we are probably 5FTE years of data scientists doing hygiene work on it. I mean from my perspective I would love something bad gives you a definitive answer on whether the provider is still associated with that practice. A lot of the issues sloppy data entry by providers.
 

tedchan

Member
Joined
Nov 5, 2018
Messages
37
If you’re an agency and you care about citations just getting NPPES right helps a ton.
 

JoshuaMackens

Local Search Expert
Joined
Sep 12, 2012
Messages
1,816
If you’re an agency and you care about citations just getting NPPES right helps a ton.
I've dabbled but ran into the discovery that NPI is used for either medicare or medicaid billing or something. That stopped me from making any edits. Don't want clients to be pissed.

Any advice?
 

tedchan

Member
Joined
Nov 5, 2018
Messages
37
No that’s right, definitely work with your client to get it right. One of the biggest issues we see is getting credentials wrong, which can lead to all sorts of kooky miscategorizations.
 

sjr4x4

Member
Joined
Nov 19, 2015
Messages
19
Just another little insight into how frustrating poor citation management is, here is an email which we get regularly from another large UK provider of which we are part of the partner network.

Hello,

I am contacting you on behalf of one of our clients.

They have a listing in your directory that needs updating as the current details are incorrect.

The Listing URL is: xyx

The correct details are;
blah blah

Please let me know the best way to get this updated...



Sounds perfectly reasonable?

Guess who provided the listing details in the first place via our API feed, which auto updates any amendments, because this is the 21st century. :rolleyes:

I would of course welcome the chance to to let you know and tell you this, but as always, you email us with a no reply address and no contact info: The email account that you tried to reach does not exist.

Over the years I have escalated and even got up to the marketing director level, but nothing ever changes and the duff requests continue. Smile and wave and boys...

This level of citation incompetence is fascinating. From what could actually be a super slick service, with such a pretty straightforward fix, ie better education and processes, which then provide such a much better service for clients and suppliers.

Not saying all are bad, there are a few good ones, and everyone has their favourites. But from the frontline, there are a without doubt a much higher volume of rubbish compared to quality providers.

Maybe it's time to perfect citation AI or just get better people!

Or of course just do it yourself properly :unsure:
 

Zhivko

Member
Joined
Mar 15, 2019
Messages
44
Whether these are just automated requests squirted at us, or just very low paid workers on tickover mode, we seem to get lots of requests to update business details on our directories, because our info is out of date, when there is nothing wrong with it, or it is something trivial. St for Street, Rd for Road.
Perhaps that's because literally every tutorial or guide on citation building says that citations must be absolutely identical absolutely everywhere. People just get obsessed with the details, I guess.

On average we auto delete around 1000 low quality new listings a month. All of them are manually added, such a waste of resource which someone somewhere has paid for :(
Do you mind sharing your criteria for a low quality listings? And you really just delete them all?

We are starting a global dental directory and I am currently thinking how to handle profiles that have little or no information on them. On one hand, they are legitimate listings of real dentists. On the other hand, having "empty" pages seems to have more disadvantages than advantages.

I am hesitant to delete them because we're just starting and we really need as many profiles as we can get. I plan to send out emails, asking those dentists to login and complete their profiles. Have you tried something like that? Or is it not worth the effort?
 

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