Skip main navigation

Local SEO: How to Perform a Citation Audit

In this video, we'll look at how you can perform an audit of your citations.
In this video, I’m gonna show you how to perform a citation audit for your website. So before we even get into it, I wanna explain that there’s couple of ways you can do this. The first is a manual method where you physically search for whatever citation you have out there on Google. And a second is you use a tool called BrightLocal, which automates the whole process. So before we do any of those two processes, let’s start here with the business detail. So I’m gonna include this spreadsheet as part of the downloadable attachment a part of this section, in the course. You simply need to fill it in.
So we have your business name, your address, your city and states, and your zip code, phone, and your website. So these details right here, they need to match exactly what it says on your Google My Business listing. So if we go back to the Google My Business listing, just to make sure. So we’ve got LevelFinish right here, which I’ve put down as the business name. Again, it doesn’t really matter if you have a capital letter here or not. Again, you should have it exactly as so. So I’m gonna change that now. The address is gonna be 510 Oliver Hill Way. Just to make sure is exactly the same 510 Oliver Hill Way.
Then it got Richmond and Virginia for the second part. I’ve got Richmond and Virginia here. The zip code is 23219, just to make sure it’s the same 23219. Then I have the phone number down here, which is (804) 393-9283. Which is exactly what I’ve got right here. The last element is the website.
So just make sure this is actually the website that’s linked in your Google My Business listing so make sure you can just right click website, copy link address, go to the spreadsheet, delete that one and then paste it over. And as you’ll see, it’s exactly the same one. So this is where you wanna be starting. So if we start off with the manual way All we need to do is go over to Google and Google the business name in the location the business is based. So if I type in LevelFinish, Richmond Virginia, this is just telling Google to bring back all the information about LevelFinish in Richmond in Virginia.
The reason why I wanna include that the location, is because if we don’t, we can just put in a LevelFinish like so, there could be another business out there which is called LevelFinish, and we might get results, which are not accurate. So the best thing to do is always put in the whole business name and location. So if you start scrolling through page one, you’ll see you’ve got the actual website at the top. We’ve got the about page. We’ve got the, which if you remember correctly, will be the site we made in the GMB section of the course earlier on which you can see at this part right here.
If you keep on scrolling down, you’ll see we’ve got a listing on Manta, which is a citation website. So let’s open this. You’ve got one on mapquest. We’ve got cityfos right here. So what we’re looking at right now, these are all citations. So we don’t look at all of them. I’ll do one as an example. So let’s close these two ‘cause it’s slowing the computer down a little bit. Let’s look at so you can see, I’ve got LevelFinish, I’ve got the address, I’ve got the phone number and I’ve got the website. So what you need to do is make sure this is exactly how it is listed on your Google My Business listing.
So the easy way to do this is to go over to the spreadsheet. If we go to citation sources, so in this table you wanna start listing all the citations you found. So the first website we found is The business name on manta is LevelFinish. So we’ll just copy and paste that in there. Don’t worry about this for now. You can sort the formatting after, or to be fair, you can just copy it here and it’ll keep the formatting makes it a little bit easier. The address as listed on manta will be all of this part. So we’ll actually just pick the beginning part. So let’s just paste it up there for ease.
Let’s just take this, 510 Oliver Hill Way. Go back to the spreadsheet, paste that in there, the city and states and the zip code. So that will be Richmond, Virginia. They ought to be… we’ve got it up here already. So we’ll take that, go back to the spreadsheet and we’ll paste that in, so like so. Phone number will be listed on the website. So again, that would just be this part, go back to the spreadsheet and paste that in there like so. Links to, so what does this link to? If you click visit website, you’ll see it actually links to… I’m pretty sure it should be the homepage. You’ll automatically be directed to LevelFinish.
So yeah, this is the URL we get directed to. So what we wanna do is just make sure we copy that. Add it to the spreadsheet. Issues, we’ll come back to at a later date. URL of the Live listing, so this is the URL or the actual citation. So we simply go back to where we found that, just refresh that. So we get the URL back. Once it’s loaded, we wanna copy that. Go back to the spreadsheet and then paste it in. So what you wanna do is go through all the citations that you find on Google.
So I’d actually end up listing this one, this one, this community, go for all of the pages to find all the citations. A little trick you can do as well. If you’re a big business and you have loads of citations, you’ve done some in the past. You might wanna change your search results to show a 100 per page. So at the moment, there gonna be 10 listings on one page. So it’s a lot of pages to go through. You can actually go up here to settings and then go to search settings and their results per page. You can actually bring this up to a 100, just like so.
Just bear in mind, it will make the computer a little bit slower, and then click save. Your preferences have been saved which is fine. Yes, so I’m not a robot, click verified done. I’m not a robot, there you go. Clearly, I’m not a robot. So essentially this will now give me a 100 results per page that saves me opening page one, two, three, four, five. You can see there are only two pages here. So what we’re gonna do is go through all of the lessons that come back for searching for your business. List all of them in that spreadsheet. Once you’ve done that, you wanna detect any issue. So this is simply double-checking information.
What is listed on the citation source against what you have in the business details. So for example, business name is LevelFinish. Citation source says LevelFinish, absolutely fine. The address is 510, Oliver Hill Way. The address and the business details is 510 Oliver Hill Way. So that is absolutely fine. City and state is Richmond, Virginia. This is a zip code, 23219 Just double check it’s the same here, Richmond, Virginia 23219 it is. Phone number again, just double cross check that with the phone number here, the website, make sure we have the home page listed, which we do indeed. So issues, there’s actually no issues for this. None.
This is a live, you have all the listings, if you wanna refer to at a later date. So that essentially how we do a manual audit of all the citations. If you wanna find a shortcut way or the way to expedite like this, you can use this tool called BrightLocal, I’ll just close this and show you this now. So BrightLocal they give you a free 14 day trial. Two weeks should be more than enough to do a citation audit and find out any inconsistencies. So do sign up for a 14 day free trial. You don’t need any credit cards, so you won’t get automatically billed at the end of the 14 days if you forget to cancel.
So sign up, I’ve already done it and once you sign up, you get to this page and you simply wanna follow it through step by step. So first I’m gonna do is click single location business as that’s what you want. Thanks. Now it’s going to locations. You can either import your Google Map Business listing, or you can find your business details. I’ve found from experience it’s best just to find your business details, it’s much easier. So let’s go for this one, search for your business. So you put in our business name. So LevelFinish it’s right here. Let’s select that, use this location.
Now what this will do, this will bring all the information in from your Google My Business listing, however do just double check the information is correct. As you can see straight away, the business category has changed to furniture store, which I’m not sure why. So let’s put that back to what it actually is, which is a flooring contractor. The same as it is on my Google My Business listing. Just check they’ve got the same city and town in there, the phone number’s right. You’ve got the state, zip code, the website, just check everything is okay before we click let’s get tracking. If it’s all look good, then go ahead and click.
Lock and load so what this will do now, this will put all the information in, from a Google My Business listing and then it will populate and display all the information in a dashboard. So instead of me letting you sit here and watch it download, I’ll do some magic and fast forward the video before you know it, it will be done. (exclaims) and just like that, it is done. So from this sketch, you can simply skip the last three. We don’t need to do it at all. So click, skip. Skip this, now we can skip this. Great, now take me to my location dashboard. Let’s give that a click as well.
So this will now create a dashboard of all the results. This will take some time to load the information as well. So what we need to look at is this part right here, citation, so currently what BrightLocal is doing is searching the web just as we’d done it in the manual version. And it’s looking for all the citations out there and it’s gonna list down any which it finds they are incorrect, which are fine. And give us a total count as well. So this will take a bit of time. It does take after five minutes. So what I’ll do is I’ll do a bit more magic on the video forward it, and I’ll be back and it’ll be done. Right!
And just like that, we’re back. So you can see the citation report is now fully completed. It’s giving me a score of 40 out of a 100. It’s found 31 live citations out of the citations it’s found 31 there’s no errors at all, which is really good. We can click view for reports, get a bit more information about that. And you’ll see it should list all the citations below, so it has actually found a 15 in total. Sorry, there you go back. And 14 of them are correct. You can see as you scroll down, these are all the ones it’s found. It’s found at Foursquare, MapQuest which is one we saw on a brief search earlier. It’s found Brownbook.
It’s found CitySquares, so on and so on and so on so, we can see straight away. So we were unable to grab (speaks faintly) you can try refreshing NAP details now. For some reason that hasn’t loaded, we give that a refresh. You do get a few errors coming in every now and then, but don’t worry about it. You can just refresh it like this, but essentially you can see it’s found all these citations, it’s listed there, the address, the postcode and the phone number and they all match up so there’s no issues at all. So that is high performance citation audit what I’ll do is, well, I will link into BrightLocal in the description below.
So you can sign up for your 14 free day trial and run a manual automatic citation audit on your website and your GMB listing. Just to add to that, for some reason the Google Directory listing was not loading properly. I had to refresh it. I’ve just refreshed it now. And the details have populated with no issues at all. So if you get any issues, no worries. Just give it a refresh and things should be fine. Okay, see you in the next lesson.

Ensuring your business has accurate citations is crucial for achieving optimal exposure for your Google My Business listing.

Bright Local is a paid software, however, you can get access to it for free for 14 days via a free trial:

14 days is more than enough time to perform a citation audit, however, my advice would be to watch all of the course first and then sign up for the free 14 day trial at the end.

This article is from the free online

Google My Business: Complete Listing Optimisation Training

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Reach your personal and professional goals

Unlock access to hundreds of expert online courses and degrees from top universities and educators to gain accredited qualifications and professional CV-building certificates.

Join over 18 million learners to launch, switch or build upon your career, all at your own pace, across a wide range of topic areas.

Start Learning now