3 Tips on Using Citation Reports for Thorough Directory Cleanup Efforts

When managing business information on the web, utilizing a citation reporting tool can be extremely helpful in cleaning up incorrect or inconsistent business listing information. Personally, I use Whitespark, and the process simply requires entering the business name, phone number, and city, resulting in a comprehensive report of all citations as they appear on the web.

With Search Influence’s recent office move, I used a citation report to identify most of the sites where our business info appears (not just directories). This allowed us to locate the most authoritative sites that listed our address, and in turn, we could update those sites with our new location information.

Coincidentally, soon after these efforts, one of our account managers came to our production team with a request to clean up directories that might have bad listings for a particular client. The challenge was that the client had gone through two other business names before arriving at the name they currently have.

Using the citation reporting tool, we were able to search directly for the bad data that we presumed would be out there. After running two reports seen below, we identified a total of 308 unique citation sources which was a very good start. Of those we discovered 140 listings with incorrect information including yet another incorrect business name associated with that location from other outdated listings.


There are a variety of scenarios where this kind of cleanup process can help correct business information online. Whether a business gets a new phone number or is looking to create a consistent representation of the business name online (& or and, LLC or Inc., etc.), running citation reports will help identify any inaccurate or inconsistent information.

In summary, here are my three tips for running a thorough citations cleanup report:

  1. Run Multiple Reports: Use all past and present variations of a business’s listing information.
  2. Analyze Your Results: Locate the authoritative and actionable sites that allow you to update the information.
  3. Take Action on Bad Listings:  Update the information and for the sites you can’t update directly, report any incorrect or inconsistent information for removal from the sites they are found.

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