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How to do a quick citation check

Citations are mentions of your dealership’s name, address, and phone number on other websites – what most dealers think of as directory listings. They’re incredibly important to local SEO – and it’s important that they’re consistent everywhere they appear.

This week’s Wednesday Workshop video walks through a simple free tool that allows you to check the top 15 citation sources for your dealership. Whether you’re doing your own SEO or you want to check in on your provider, this tool will help you keep an eye on your citation profile.


Hey everyone, welcome back to another Wednesday Workshop with DealerOn. I’m over across the pond this week, speaking at Brighton SEO, the biggest SEO conference in the UK. But, just because I’m over enjoying some delicious fish and chips and a few pints of Guinness doesn’t mean the Wednesday Workshop train stops.

This week’s tip is a pretty quick one. If you’ve seen me speak at a conference or watched many of these Wednesday Workshop videos, you’ve heard me talk about citations. They’re mentions of your dealership’s name, address, and phone number on other websites.

When talking about citations, most dealers think directory sites – those are what’s called a structured citation. You can also have unstructured citations, which occur when your name, address, and phone info are mentioned, just not right next to each other – think blog posts or news articles.

It’s incredibly important that your dealership’s citation information is consistent everywhere it appears. Check out this graphic – it shows the citation ecosystem in the US. You’ve got the big thick lines that represent the feeds from the primary data providers, which feed down to the medium lines of the second tier providers, which feed down to the thin lines of the third tier providers.

What happens if a site pulls data from a few different sources upstream, but each source is showing different information? Even worse – look how everything points back to Google – when Google is running its local algorithm, it expects that a dealership will have the same name, address, and phone info everywhere.

If you’ve got mismatched information, you’re sending a bad signal to Google. That’s why call tracking can absolutely wreck your SEO efforts.

If you’d like to do a quick check to see how your dealership’s citations look, you can use a tool called Moz Local. Head to, enter the name of your dealership and your zip code, and click search.

Moz Local will return a list of possible matches. Ideally, you only want to see one option here – that means you don’t have any confusing information. If you see multiple options, pay attention to why – is your dealership name inconsistent? Are the different options showing different phone numbers?

If you click on any of the listings, it will take you to a second screen that shows data on your citations on the top 15 citation sources. Ignore the score at the top, it’s an arbitrary score, and as long as you’re about about a 65% you’re good.

You should focus on the bars below. If there’s any red below, that means you’ve got inconsistent data on that site. If there’s yellow, then you’ve got a duplicate on that site. The really cool thing is that you can click on any of the bars and it will jump you right to your listing – you don’t have to try to figure out how to get there. Then you can log in and fix whatever bad info is listed.

So that’s a quick hit on citations and how to check them. If you’ve got any questions or want to know more, leave a comment down below and we’ll get back to you ASAP. Thanks for coming by, and we’ll see ya again next week for another Wednesday Workshop with DealerOn.

Author Greg Gifford

Greg Gifford is the Vice President of Search at DealerOn. He has over 16 years of online marketing and web design experience, and has specialized in automotive SEO for the last 8 years, helping hundreds of auto dealers thrive while the industry has struggled during the recession. Greg speaks internationally at both automotive and SEO conferences, teaching thousands of small business owners and marketers how to get their sites to show up higher in local search rankings. Greg also spends his spare time doing freelance website design and SEO for local businesses. He graduated from Southern Methodist University with a BA in Cinema and Communications, and has an obscure movie quote for just about any situation.

More posts by Greg Gifford

Join the discussion 2 Comments

  •' JRL says:

    Great Stuff – I am just starting to build my citation links . . When I started I had the basic 4-5 (google, Facebook, yelp) but now I am expanding to the top groups for my niche and location, Orlando. How long before Google recognizes that I have these citations. Hypothetically if I added 1000 quality link sites right now – would it be overnight, a week, a month, or several months before google would recognize those links?

    • Greg Gifford says:

      Keep in mind – citations aren’t links… sure, you might have a few citation sources that also include a link, but those are almost always no-follow links. Plus, you’re not getting citations because of the links, you’re getting them because they’re a huge part of the local algorithm.

      And there’s no possible way that you have 1000 quality citation sites – there simply aren’t that many, regardless of your niche… but as far as how long it takes for them to show up, it’s based more off of how long it takes for those sites to update. Some citation sites only update their database every few months, so it could be 60-90 days before your citation shows up there. Then, once they’re all live, Google has to crawl them. So, there’s no set answer as to how long that all takes…

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