is Your Local SEO Suffering From Citation Inconsistency?

Written by: Jason Bayless | February 24, 2015

With 86 percent of users engaging in local search from their smartphones, it is becoming apparent that we need to be aware of local search and local ranking. There are some issues, however, that are plaguing the local search and local ranking system. Citation inconsistency is one of the primary reasons why local search ranking may be affected. Here’s what you may need to know about citation inconsistency and how to resolve it.

How Citation Inconsistency Has Affected the Local Ranking Search

Incorrect business data can cause quite a stir in the local ranking community. Many businesses with inconsistent citations are finding their websites ranked lower because Google’s Pigeon algorithm is not able to reconcile the inaccurate data. Some of the inconsistencies can be crippling and others are quite minor, but the majority of businesses will have some form of NAP (name, address, and phone number) consistency issues.

The most common form of inconsistent citation is NAP inconsistencies. Forty-one percent of businesses polled experienced this issue. The second most common issue was experienced by 27 percent of businesses, which is the duplicate Google and Google+ local listings.

The least common issue is related to Google Places Guidelines Violations. Only four percent of people polled found that this was their most common issues. When violations are cited, they should be described clearly, and the action needed to be taken rectify the situation should also be clear. They best course of action with any inconsistencies is to be proactive. A good start is to remove duplicate listings and ensure that data is accurate.

Proactive measures will help business owners remove low quality and spammy listings. Every consultant and agent probably has at least one duplicate Google+ listing. This is one of the most common duplicate listings, which can be a detriment to website rankings. Most business websites do not stand a chance of getting a high ranking search engine with duplicate listings.

Most of the businesses with lower search engine ranking positions will have duplicate listings. Not all duplicate listings will result in a penalty, but when one is issued, it can be quite detrimental. Many business owners will lose millions from the downtime. It’s best to avoid the situation completely.

When proactive measures were taken, 28 percent of the businesses polled said the return on investment (ROI) was excellent, and 48 percent said the return on investment was good. Only four percent said the ROI was “low” or “very low.”

Is it Worth the Effort?

Most businesses find that it’s worth the effort to take these proactive measures to reduce inconsistencies. In fact, over 70 percent found that the process was effective and that businesses suffered less in terms of rankings when the methodologies were applied. This means that it’s an effective process, and it works if it is applied correctly. The challenge is to get all businesses across the board to take proactive measures to improve the process.

For the most part, we think it is worth the effort. It is tedious to some to continually update their listings and check for inconsistencies, but it’s the only way to ensure that your listing receives a high search engine ranking position, which leads to greater visibility and also more sales conversions. Without this, business revenue will not increase, and companies will not gain the exposure they need to recruit and keep customers interested.

In the business world, this is worth a lot. Many businesses lose significant revenue without paying attention to inconsistencies. Speak with a professional to determine how we can help you succeed in the business world. Ask them how citation inconsistency may be the primary reason why your local search is failing.