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Hey, guys. This is SEO Floyd and in this lesson we are going to be talking about something that's very important for local which is citations. For those of you who may be unfamiliar with that phrase, a citation in this context simply means a local business directory that you use like Yelp or MerchantCircle or Foursquare, things like that. These are local directories that will allow you to have a listing and having an accurate listing in them is very important for your local business. It's one of the more important ranking factors. I'm back here on Moz.com on the local search ranking factor and I believe I've mentioned this in a previous video but these results are phoned in by real SEOs that are actually doing this for a living, not people who are just theorizing. They've come up with, every year they come up with this list of what they think is most important.

As you'll see here, the number one most important thing is actually on-page signals which we definitely have covered in the introductory lessons. The next most important thing is going to be links and again, we've talked about that in the off-page section. The third most important thing though is external local signals which is this is where NAP comes in. It's extremely important, it's in the top 3 but I would say it's maybe the second or third most important thing period about being able to rank local. What I'm going to do is show you my process. There's many different ways that you can get citations. You can go on fiber and buy citations. You can use a service like HOF local for instance to buy citations. There's lots of different ways to do this. You can manually go out and do them yourself by just manually logging each one or you can hire someone on like Freelancer or Odesk, something like that.

Depending on where you're at in the process as far as learning if you're just learning this and you just learned what a citation is, I would highly suggest that you go out and create 20 or 30 of them yourself. That's where I would start. I would definitely do that first. I would want to go ahead and make sure that you know how to set one up properly because if you don't, then you're not going to be able to inspect what you expect. Meaning that when you buy citations from other sources, you're not going to be able to inspect the work because you're not going to really know what's required of it. I highly suggest that if this is new to you that you go out and do 15 or 20 or 30 of it yourself.

I'm going to show you my process for this. I've made this a lot easier for you because one of the bonuses that I've given you is my client intake form, the gravity form. All the information that you need to do your citations is in that form. You already have huge advantage over other people because all you need to do is direct your client to that page and have them fill it out in totally then you have everything that you need to get started. Remember that one of the things that I highly suggest is that you get a domain email account for your client. If your client's website is ABC.com, I want you to request an email address @ABC.com. It can be SEO, it can be verifications, it can be your name, it doesn't matter but it's just going to make verifying this a lot easier. There's a lot to talk about so I'm going to do my best to take this in order.

Now that we've talked a little bit about what a citation is, I'm going to show you my process for getting them. There's several places that you can get citation sources from. Whitespark is my favorite, BrightLocal is good, Local Visibility is good, BLI is good, there are several. I choose Whitespark for a lot of reasons. Where I'm going to go is Whitespark.ca. Whitespark.ca and also included in your membership is a free access to this. You should already have that login information, if not, it's in the member's area in the Facebook group. I've already covered this on the webinar training so if you already had that, you can probably skip this video but this is going to be a video for the final course as well. This should be a review for you if you've already watched the webinar.

Let me give you one quick bit of advise before I start off on my actual process. I mentioned that there's lots of ways to get these citations so let me give you my opinion based on 10 years of research and experience with this. Fiber citations are a no-go. Just forget about it. This part of your process is too important to outsource to fiber so forget about it. Am I saying that no one ever on fiber has done a good job at this? No. I'm not saying that. There are exceptions to the rule but over most of the time what you're going to get on fiber is you're going to get people who are going to do a crappy job and they're going to submit to where they want to submit to.

What they do is this, they're going to take you name, address and phone number that we talked about multiple times and they're going to put into a piece of software and there are several that do this, there are several piece of software where you can put on the name, address and phone number, choose on categories and then will go out and spit your website out to up to like 2,000 directories. This is horrible for your SEO guys. This is absolutely horrible for your SEO. For a directory listing or a citation to be useful to you, it needs to have either relevance for location or relevance for niche. Let me say that again. If your business has a citation from a citation source, a business directory you should be able to say this has relevance for either niche or location, the only exceptions to these rules are going to be master directories like top 10, for instance, Yelp.

Yelp is a master directory. You're pretty much going to want to be in Yelp no matter what category you're in and what location you're in. Yelp will have location relevance and niche relevance because your Yelp listing will be listed by your location and sort it with other people in your area and it will be sorted by niche. Other people that are selling the same products and services that you are. Technically, it doesn't break my rule but there's going to be some that are master level accounts that you're just going to want to have. However, the problem with using things like fiber and most of the places that will get you X number of citations per X number of dollars will do 50 citations for $20, will do 100 citations for $100 is that they're using their own handy dandy generic list of citations or they have their own top citation sources. Even the big name brands do this and I'm not going to name any by name.

Even the ones that are, some of the better ones that you would outsource to, they do the same exact crappy thing which is they have their list of citations lets say for Dallas. Any business that's in Dallas, guess what? They get the Dallas citations. That's just crap. That's not how to do citations, that's just being lazy. Although it looks good to people that don't know better. But I can tell you after reviewing citations for clients for years and for student's clients for years, what I found is that inaccurate citations or citations that are not relevant are some of the most damaging things to your local rankings, overall. That's probably the single most damaging thing that I've ever seen for a local client is having inaccurate citations where the NAP doesn't match and/or being listed in directories that don't make sense.

For example, I had a student, his company was a plumbing company that was located in the city in California and one of his citations that he got from one of this high level citation builders was a garment listing, an apparel listing in a directory in France. He's a plumber in let's just say Riverside California and for some reason he's in a fashion directory in France, that's just stupid. That's not relevant for niche or for location. It stands out like a sore thumb. Those citations are actually going to hurt you. Those are just not helping you, they're going to hurt you. My strong advise again is to not outsource to these companies. My advise is to do it yourself first. Once you know what you're doing then train an outsourcer to do it. That's what I suggest that you do.

Now that I've gotten through all that, I'm going to get into the actual process. Again, I'm going to use Whitespark so Whitespark.ca. What you're going to do, you can create an account here, the cheapest account I believe is $20 a month. What you're going to do is you're going to login to the local citation finder. There's a couple of different things you can use this for but specifically for citations, what we're going to do is I'm just going to show you how to do a simple search. I'm going to select the United States as my country. I'm going to enter my location so I'm going to enter in Frisco, Texas. See how that auto-populates here? Since we've stuck with this roofing I'm going to go ahead and do that so roofing. What does come up with this roofing Frisco, now I can choose roofing Frisco or let's say I like Frisco roofing better. Now, I'm going to click search.

What's going to happen is Whitespark is going to go out, it's going to analyze the SERP and it's going to find out who is already winning for the term Frisco roofing and then, it's going to give me some information based on that. To reiterate, I want to make sure you understand. What I'm doing is I am going to be looking at results that are specifically for the SERP that I'm in. That's going to take a little while to pull up so I'm going to go ahead and just do one here. Actually, let me pause and I'll go ahead and do that one. It's already in. That was fast. You see Frisco roofing here. You see that there's 396 citations. I'm going to go and click on view sources. Now, what's important is this is going to show me the people who, there's look like there's a 6 pack for this ranking.

What I'm going to do is, I'm going to click on Compare Citations for These Businesses. Now that I've clicked on Compare Citations for These Businesses, what I'm going to be showing is I'm going to be showing a little chart here. It's going to show me on this access here are the businesses, they're already ranking. Here are the directories that they're in. Obviously here you can see that a green check mark means that Town & Country Roofing has a listing on Yelp as an example. You can see here that C4 Roofing as an example does not have one on Yelp. What we're going to do, this is going to be the list of where were going to get our citations found. We're not going to get a generic list for the city. We're not going to get a generic list for the niche roofing. We're going to get citations that the people who are winning are already using. I hope that makes sense to you why we're doing this. We're going to look at who's winning and we're going to do what they're doing. It's a recurring theme throughout the course.

One thing to be aware of as you look through these citations, some of these are going to be from scrape directories. Meaning that, some of these just because everyone has it, doesn't mean that it's one that you want. If you see one that you don't recognize like here's a good one, Endb-consolidated- I've no idea what that is. SphinxsayUr.com, again no idea what that is. You want to visually inspect some of these that you don't know but of course Yelp obviously, Google, as you see here, you see your Web2.0 also. That's what's good about this, it treats this as citations. Here for instance, FriscoBusinessDirectory.com, obviously this is a Frisco business so this is something really great to be in. As you look through though you're going to see ones that you can't get. For instance, here's Angie's List. You have to have a membership or pay to be in Angie's List. You're not going to give that one to your outsourcer.

Again, what you're going to want to do, you're going to go through here and you're going to want to find the ones that are logical. There's a little Export CVS button here. Now you have this on a list. You can give this directly to your outsourcer. You're going to want to go through it and say, "Yes. I want you to do this one, this one, this one, this one, this one." It's also a good list for you to have because for instance you see the better business bigger one here. I suggest that highly in another training video. You're going to want to do that. Again, the key here is to find out who's already winning and get this listings. I hope that makes sense to you. People always ask me how many, how many, how many, how many. The answer to that is, it just depends on the niche. It depends on the SERP.

What I would do typically for a low competition, I would start off at about 30 of these then I'll see where I land. If it's medium competition, I'd probably do about 50. If it's heavy competition, I'd probably do 75 to 100. You're going to want to go through here again and do this by hand to visually inspect this list. You found this, you're going to export this to your outsourcer then he now has the 2 things he needs to get started. He has all the client information and he has the list so that's everything that you need to get your citations going. In a nutshell, that's what we're going to do for a new client. That's how we're going to do citations. Now, I want to show you a couple of other things that can help you with this so up to this point I've assumed it was a new client. New client, new business.

They shouldn't have many citations but let's assume that you have a client that you're just taking on. One of the things that you're going to want to do is a citation audit. I plan on doing more training later, a little bit more thorough on a citation audit but let me give you the basics on this. The basics for a citation audit would be looking in a couple of places to see what they tell you. First place I'm going to do is Yext, I'm going to go to Yext.com. I'm going to put in the business name here. Again, we'll just stick with our buddies at Elevated Roofing and the business phone number and let's see what was that. I should have had that from the other address here. Still on other video here, all right let me just pull it up real quick. All right, there it is, 469-209-4600. I put this in Yext and I'll hit Scan Now.

What Yext does, Yext is a place for you to manage all of your listings in one place. It's a subscription service, you don't need it but if you want to use it, it make things a little bit easier. What it's doing right now is it's going through and it's scanning a lot of the top directories and it's going to tell you if it finds this business. As you look through here, you see that the area rate is 34% which means that some of these are good and some of them are not. For example, on city search looks like the phone number is different. Local.com, the phone number is different. This one's a completely different business name. You're going to want to go through here, this is a good place to get started to try to find some of these citations that may already exist.

Another thing that you can do is go to Moz.com/local/search. You're going to put in your business name here and your zip code and you're going to click Check My Listing. What's going to happen is this is going to pull up maybe one or maybe multiple. As you look here, you're going to see Elevator Roofing at this address and at this address, both different phone number. This is extremely common and this will seriously mess up your local SEO. This is actually really close to this looks like I think all 3 of these are actually the same business. If you get to this point and you see this, you have got to figure out which one is best and kill the other 2. The way that you kill them is by finding out where these listings are and simply go into each site, let's say that this was bad and we wanted to kill it. I want to click on here, it's going to show me what sites this listing is in and hopefully this won't take too long.

For instance, this one there's a Google+ listing that's wrong with that address, there's a Foursquare, there's a SuperPages, you'd go to each one of these and kill the listing. Each one of these you would go to the listing and you would claim it or you would dispute it basically. They all have their own process but it's typically very easy to get rid of inaccurate ones. It's usually not very hard. Let's say that you don't have multiple listings and this is it. I will go to this one and what this is going to do is this is going to show me what it looks like across some of the top directories, a lot like the Yext just did. For instance, it's saying that Google+ is 100% good, it's showing there's not a Facebook or it's incomplete, there is a Best of Web that's incomplete, Acxiom is incomplete. This gives you another good place to start to try to figure out if you already got a client that exists.

Again, if your client is someone that already has citations, if they've been to business for awhile, then you're not going to start by building citations, you're going to start by auditing citations. I hope I made that clear. If your client already exist and already has some of this directory listings, you need to go through and claim all of the ones that he has and make sure they have consistent name, address, phone number and they all link back to the right place and all that good stuff. If they already exists, you're going to claim all the places he already exist, you can find it with Moz local, you can find it with Yext and then after those are fixed, then you will go in and grab your list from Whitespark and start working on more. That's the first place to start, you got to start with the wrong ones.

If you want to use a service, these are very ... I use outsourcer to do all my work so I don't use services like Moz local or services like Yext but you can and you may want to. For a very small fee, Moz local is $49, at Yext I'm not sure what it is. You can go in and basically they will make sure that all of your top listings all have consistent information as far as the name, address and phone number. This can be extremely helpful if the business moves. If your business is moving, it may be worth it to go ahead and sign up for one of these services, have them get all your listings on the same sheet for the new address. Basically, have them fix it for you and then you can cancel you account and move on.

Citations, again, extremely important so as an overview, if it's a new customer, new website you are going to get them citations from Whitespark, you're going to get those to your outsourcer, have them build them for you. There is no link velocity when it comes to citations and directories. You can build a hundred of them in a day and it doesn't matter. When you're building these citations, these places are going to allow you to have a link back to your site and it's going to be a bare link. Just like when we did the social profiles, it's a bare link meaning it's just http:// either www or not, your domain.com that's what's going to be linking back to your site.

Keep in mind that some of the directories are not going to allow you to verify. Most of them, you're going to verify once you sign up with one, it's going to ask you to verify link in the email and that's all that's required to make the listing go live but there's a few that will not. Those your client will probably have to deal and you have to coordinate that. The ones that we know for sure are going to require that verification or going to be of course Google My Business, Bing Business, Yelp requires that, FourSquare requires that, there are several more that are going to require phone call or postcard. Your best bet is just to coordinate that with your client to make sure that they know that.

The citations just like everything else that we do, we want to make sure that we fill out the source as completely as possible. The sheet that I gave you to get to the outsourcer, make sure that the business description long and short is keyword rich, not stuffed. We want to make sure that any place that allows you to upload images or videos or anything else that you fill this out completely. It's very important that you make sure that they are number 1, consistent for name, address and phone number and number 2, that they're filled out completely and that the correct categories are chosen, all that kind of stuff. If there's ones that allow you to add a coupon, do it. Coupons will help it convert.

That is basically it for citations. This is going to be something that as far as where you're going to do this in your strategy, this is going to be started, it's going to coincide with your on-page stuff. This can be started pretty early. That's it for citations and I'll see you next video.