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Citation Category Affects Google Search Results

Thursday, February 13, 2014

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Your citation categories have a great impact on what keywords your website is displayed for in a Google search. Incorrect online information about your business can have a very serious negative effect on your search result appearance and position (ranking)... and your online marketing success.

Google scans the web for any mention of your company (Citation NAP) and uses that information, in conjunction with the categories listed on your company Google Local Page, to decide what keywords your website will be listed for. If your business category is 'Auto Repair Shop' your website has a high probability of being listed when someone searches for an auto repair shop.

How strong of an influence do citations have on search results? I have a client who gets phone calls all hours of the day and night wanting a taxi cab - they are an auto repair shop (no they don't have a taxi, or even work on taxis). This has gone on for years and it drives them nuts! They have checked with the phone company, Whitepages, Yellowpages, etc. with no errors or solutions found. And the problem is not with their phone system as people are directly dialing their phone number.

I started to wonder if the problem was their website as they were being listed when someone searched on Google for 'taxi cab' in their city. I did a very though check on their website for use of the term 'taxi cab'. Negative. Then I thought it might be a Google problem or maybe a wrong category selected on their Local Places Page or G+ Page but no, everything is good there. Then I discovered that Google uses information from Internet wide citations as a strong indicator when deciding for what keywords to list a website... bingo!

The shop in question has a long online history and I suspect they have some old citations out on the Internet with 'taxi cab' as a category. A simple data entry error, or maybe a practical joke... All it takes is one error, long ago, and it keeps getting copied and spread across the web over time until it becomes a major, serious problem.

The problem with citations is that anyone can freely create them for your company. It is up to the business owner to find them and make sure they are correct. This is an important reason for claiming your citations on every website your business is listed on. not claiming your citations leaves your business open to your competitors creating misinformation about you, to say nothing of the lost SEO benefit to your website!

This shop with the Taxi calls problem has never 'cleaned' or standardized their citations to catch data errors like this. And so I suspect Google is finding and using this incorrect citation data and listing the shop website when someone in their city looks for a taxi.

I am sure a thorough citation cleanup would solve this very annoying situation. Standardizing citations would also give their search ranking in Google’s G-pack (see my article for definition of G-pack) a big boost... and for the correct keywords!


About The Author

Doug Fentiman is an auto repair shop website marketing specialist and owner of Robert Maxim Website Solutions. He provides an inexpensive, easy to use, website based marketing system that is designed from the ground up for automotive repair shops. Doug helps shop owners build profitable businesses by attracting quality customers.

Copyright©2015 by Doug Fentiman. All rights reserved under USA, Canadian, and International law.