Common DIY Marketing Fail: Business Citations

This is part three in our series, “Common DIY Marketing Failures,” in which we examine some of the common pitfalls for businesses who attempt to market themselves online without the guidance of a professional.

We’ve already covered some of the common pitfalls of keyword strategy and link building. If you’re following the series, you’re familiar with our hypothetical businessman, the Pants Store Owner.

Well, when Mr. Pants Store bought that cheap link building package, some other problems arose. The guys building his links got the phone number wrong! He didn’t think much of it, as he’s never been too digitally savvy. In fact, he never even claimed his Google Places page or any other citation source!

Fast forward a few months, and he’s now getting complaints from a good number of people that the phone number and “hours of operation” listed online are wrong. There’s no telling how much business he’s missing out because of it!

When the link builders first spread that misinformation about his business, they may have only seeded it to a handful of sites. However, over time, other citation websites picked up information from that initial handful, then others picked up information from the scraper site, and the whole thing snowballed into something awful. Additionally, user-submitted listings from check-ins and other things are cluttering it up even worse.

Now there are listings containing misspellings, incorrect phone numbers, wrong operation hours, and maybe even incorrect URLs (or worse, a competitor’s URL). It’s a nightmare to clean all this up. But with due diligence, it could’ve been avoided altogether.

Moz Local

Moz Local can be a helpful citation cleanup tool!

Citation profiles can be tough to wrangle, especially with the existence of so many scraper sites on the internet. Knowing which sites are trusted “data aggregators” can help you prevent many of the problems before they arise, as these are the sites the scrapers often turn to for new listings.

Citations can be a strong signal for local SEO, so making sure the core elements of your business (Name, Address, Phone Number) are correct can build trust. Plus, it’s definitely nice to actually get the traffic and calls you deserve from potential customers!