Local Citations & Your Business
Why Citation Inconsistency Is a Threat to Your Business
Your citations are inconsistent when your business information – name, address or phone number (NAP) appears in diverse ways across the web. Even the slightest discrepancies can negatively impact your business and could lead to the following:
Poor Online Visibility
Citation inconsistency can damage your rankings as competitors with accurate and consistent data might outrank you, leaving your online visibility in the shadows.
Confusion Among Search Engines
Finding variations of your NAP may mislead search engines into indexing your business as separate business entities. They could even create duplicate local pages of your business that may end up competing with each other.
Confusion Among Customers
Customers looking for your business may end up finding outdated or irrelevant contact information, leading to negative impacts on your business.
Citation inconsistency is often created unintentionally and can occur because of a number of reasons:
- You have changed your business name
- You have changed your physical location
- You have changed your local phone number
- You have used a tracking phone number for listings
- You have used a toll-free number instead of a local number
- Your business name and trade name were different
- The data aggregators have collected incorrect or outdated information about your business
- Your citation campaign has not been executed with knowledge of the need to maintain NAP consistency
Inconsistency, along with other factors, can often result in duplicate citations.
Duplicates occur when more than one listing for a single physical location is present in an online directory. These harmful citations bring their own distinct set of consequences for businesses:
- Reviews may be split up between different listings, which could harm your online reputation. Customers may come across the listing with fewer reviews and be discouraged from engaging with your business.
- Search engines may not find your business trustworthy as they will not know which listing to rely on.
- One duplicate listing with inaccurate data can be replicated across platforms as all sources exchange information between each other
- Managing your listings will be twice as difficult with duplicates. You could be updating the wrong listing while the one that search engines consider the most reliable remains inaccurate.
- Multiple listings for the same business location can be perceived as spam and might result in Google penalties.