Citations are similar to online directories and are about 25% of local SEO.
I use Moz Local to build my top 15 citations (Google My Business, Yelp, Facebook…). Then I pay Whitespark around $400 to build 100 new profiles at $4-5 each so I never had to worry about citations again. This is one of the main reasons I’ve been able to rank clients in the top results for local keywords if you view my SEO work. It’s also one of the few things you can confidently outsource in local SEO since Whitespark has a 4.9/5 star rating with 125+ reviews.
While companies like Yext charge $500/year for 47 listings, you can pay Whitespark the same amount only it’s a one-time fee and you own your listings permantly. Whitespark also includes a follow-up report with 1 universal login if you need to update profiles in the future.
You can see how important citations are by looking at Google’s local search ranking factors…
They are especially important for ranking higher in Google Maps (called the local stack / snack pack results) since citations are the #2, #5, and #14 ranking factors…
I have already ordered $2,081.21 worth of citations for both myself and clients…
This has helped them rank in the top results for local keywords. In this review, I will walk you through the process of ordering citations through Whitespark, then show you what to expect as far as pricing, time frame, and an improvement in your Google Map and localized rankings.
Table Of Contents
- What Are Citations?
- Fill Out Whitespark’s Citation Intake
- Purchase Generic + Local/Niche Citations
- What Happens After You Purchase Citations
- Prevent Spam (Only Con To Citation Building)
- Integrate Citation Building Into Your SEO Services
- Don’t Forget About Moz Local (Top 15 Core Citations)
1. What Are Citations?
Citations are mentions of your business name (often in the form of directories) and are 25% of Google’s local search ranking factors. Citations are especially important in Google Maps (local stack / snack pack) where they’re the #2, #5, and #14 factor. They make you rank higher for multiple localized keywords are are one of the few things you can outsource in local SEO.
Can I Build These Myself?
Yes, Whitespark even has lists of the best citations by category, city, and country. But it takes time and many people do this incorrectly. Finding the right citations, filling out profiles 100% complete, and making sure they’re consistent (eg. business name, address, phone) is very important. I just find it much easier to leave this to the experts and save your time, as it’s only $4-5 per citation and they keep everything organized with a follow-up report and 1 login.
2. Fill Out Whitespark’s Citation Intake
The first step is to download Whitespark’s citation building intake and fill everything out as best you can. Read Whitespark’s notes on the right of the spreadsheet for more instructions.
Bulk Submit Worksheet
If you want Whitespark to build citations for multiple locations (since each location needs to have their own profiles), scroll down to the ‘Bulk Submit Worksheet’ option at the bottom…
3. Purchase Generic + Local/Niche Citations
Once you fill out the intake, select your country and do a blend of generic and local/niche citations (there’s no perfect number but I think local/niche citations are more valuable). And obviously the more citations you order, the higher you’re likely to rank in local search results.
Upload your intake to Whitespark’s checkout page, then under the ‘additional options and features’ option in step 4 you will see the option to order follow-up reports, rush orders, and bulk orders (for multiple locations). Follow-up reports are NOT necessary as Whitespark will send you a report upon completion. It’s only if you want multiple reports as listings go live.
4. What Happens After You Purchase Citations
Whitespark will send you a receipt. Then you will wait 3 weeks for them to build the citations. Once completed they will send you an email with a report which includes 1 universal login to access your new citation profiles, along with the URLs where you can find those new profiles.
5. Preventing Spam (The Only Con To Citation Building)
The only complaint I have with citations (not just Whitespark) is the potential spam you may get through your contact form or phone.
This is tricky because NAP (business name, phone, address) MUST be consistent across citations, but this also means you must list your business phone number where anyone can call/email you. Here’s an example of a spam email you might get after the citation building:
@TheDupMan When you build citations, you’re going to get sales emails and calls. No way around it. The listings are free for a reason.
— Darren Shaw (@DarrenShaw_) August 25, 2016
Prevent Spam On Your Contact Form:
- Use Google captcha on your contact form
- Configure an anti-spam plugin for WordPress
- Tighten up your WordPress discussion settings
6. Add Citation Building To Your SEO Services
- Become An Affiliate – if qualified, they will let you become an affiliate.
- Upsell Whitespark Citations – you can easily charge clients $10 per citation and pay $4-5 per citation to Whitespark which can turn a quick profit of $300 depending on the order. Just show clients Google’s local search ranking factors and explain the importance of citations. Then as you order more from Whitespark you can get up to a 20% discount. There is little work on your end (plus the citation intake and follow-up reports aren’t branded to Whitespark) making it very easy to integrate into your SEO services. Just don’t forget to help clients with spam prevention and measuring results using Whitespark’s local rank tracker or Google Search Console’s search analytics.
- List Top Citations In SEO Audits – if you’re doing a local SEO audit where the client wants to rank higher in Google Maps, provide them with a list of top citations using Whitespark’s resources page and give them the option to build these themselves, or use Whitespark’s citation building service. Because if you’re like me you try to provide as much value as you can in your SEO audits and a ‘top 30 citation’ list is a nice addition.
7. Don’t Forget About Moz Local (Top 15 Core Citations)
Moz Local will help you fix your top 15 citation profiles including Google My Business, Yelp, Facebook, and others. I would try to get your Moz Local score up before building new citations with Whitespark. You do this by running your site through Moz Local then clicking through the tabs to make these citation profiles 100% complete, consistent, then delete any duplicates.
Under each tab Moz Local will tell you what needs to be fixed and includes an “update listing” link that goes directly to your profiles. It’s usually as easy as uploading more images, listing more categories, fixing inconsistencies with you business information, or deleting a duplicate.
Here’s my citation building process:
- Create a 100% complete Google My Business Page
- Use Moz Local to fix your top 15 citation profiles
- Build additional citations for $4-5 each with Whitespark
I hope you liked my Whitespark citation building review! It’s a powerful service you can use for yourself, and for clients who are specifically looking to rank higher in Google Maps (local stack / snack pack results). Feel free to leave me a comment if you have any questions. Darren and his team at Whitespark are great with communication if you have questions. They also have a list of citation building FAQs if you want to learn more about their citation building service.