This is the 17th installment this year of our Deep Dive Into Local series. For the week ending Monday, May 9th, Mary Bowling and Mike Blumenthal shared their thoughts about the previous week in local. The complete video, including links and commentary on critical happenings of the previous week is posted in the Local U forums (paywall). In the second half of that video, they take a deeper strategic and tactical dive into one interesting area that caught their attention during the week.
In this discussion, part 2 from May 9th, Mary and Mike discuss the importance of citation consistency. The extended conversation was part of the week in review but we felt it deserved to be seen more widely.
Mary: Gib Olander did an article at Street Fight where he talks about duplicate listings and the fact that exact duplicates really aren't the problem in most cases, that it's these near duplicates or old listings with a lot of unmatched data points that cause the problem for us.
Mike: Right. There's an area that we talked about a little bit just a minute ago that I think people stress over the citation consistency. Historically, citation consistency was much more important than it is today because essentially Google was using the web index to create a listing, and it would get restructured every six weeks. And the only way you could literally impact errors in the local listings at Google was to fix your local listings around the web. So one big change is the switch from this rebuilding the world every six weeks to a static database with a knowledge graph.
So that makes it less -- what happened in the old world was these listings would bifurcate and create multiple listings at Google. That doesn't happen that much anymore. So that's one issue. The other issue is that Google is able, even if it finds two listings that at say Yahoo as long as you noted, there's a number of common data points, Google is able to associate them with your listing properly.
And then finally the value of these listings that tertiary sites, like Merchant Circle have, used to have an impact. They no longer do have an impact on rank. Google determines relevancy in rank typically without those tertiary sites. So it really ... I mean it's important to be consistent, but I wouldn't even worry about it over past the top 30 or so sites. Obviously I'd worry about seeding good information consistently, but I wouldn't get my underwear in a bundle about fixing every bad citation.
Mary: Yes. That seems to be the hallmark of small businesses and agencies who are not quite keeping up with the algorithm, that they put so much emphasis on citations. It's almost as if they're reading information from two or three years ago and trying to apply it to the current local algorithms. I would be careful of dealing with an agency who is insistent on spending a lot of your money cleaning up every single little citation you have out there on the internet. You need to just be able to zero in on which ones are important for your business, your location, which ones have the best chance of referring actual customers to you, and make sure that you're worrying about those.