Citation Management: When You Need It (And When You Don't)

January 19, 2023

Citations. There's no escaping them. In a best case scenario these directory listings help patients find your services. In less ideal cases, they expose every change that's occurred in your chiropractic practice over the years.

If you don't know what citations are, read our article for a quick lesson on citations and NAP consistency.

We're going to lay out three examples of problems that can occur if your citations are out of whack. If any of these examples apply to your business, you need Citation Management.

You need Citation Management if...

You've moved offices multiple times within the last 5 years

If patients can't find you in the local search results, that means you're losing business. But what if your practice still shows up at an old address? Maybe even several old addresses? This is an all too common scenario for fast-moving chiropractors, but thankfully it's quite easy for an SEO professional to sort out on Google.

Google likes accurate information. That's why they've gameified Google Maps with the Google Local Guides program. Local Guides recieve badges and points for their contributions online. They can get points for leaving reviews, answering questions about businesses amenities, and editing information on the map.

Cleaning up duplicate listings on Google is the first step of any successful Local SEO campaign. Thankfully Google is quite responsive to these edits, which means there is no excuse to live with outdated info on Google Maps.

Other directories can cause some more problems. We'll explore that below.

Your patients tell you that your information is wrong

There is nothing quite so humbling as learning from a patient that your phone number was wrong online. That your hours were out of date. That (god forbid) they drove to the wrong address! Those are headaches that none of your patients need to deal with, but unfortunately, you do.

It can be frustrating if you didn't set up the profiles that published inaccurate information, but that is usually the case. Every business directory is trying to make a buck off your information. Over time this created what we refer to as the 'Local Search Ecosystem (LSE)' — A network of data providers and directories that pass information back and forth. It's a confusing mess, but it still falls to you to keep your data as clean as possible.

There is no incentive for these directories to keep your information up to date. In fact, it's better for them if you notice problems and need to fix the inconsistencies. That leaves you with two options: Manual Cleanup (trust us, it's a nightmare), or Citation Management. The latter strategy employs technology to automate the cleanup process. It is much more effective to use the right tool rather than rely on spreadsheets and hope that a citation provider will accept your edits.

You rebranded your business and changed the name

Rebranding your business can cause major problems, but only if it isn't done correctly. The proper timeline for a successful rebrand starts with design and ends with deployment. You need to get your new business assets in order before making any changes to your web presence. When you're fully prepared with new logos, letterhead, voicemail recordings, uniforms, and a well-trained staff — That is the time to announce the change to your brand.

It takes more than an update to your website as well. You need to update all of your business citations, and you need to complete that in one fell swoop. This will prevent inconsistent information from trickling out into the Local Search Ecosystem.

When you don't have to worry...

Has your office been at the same location for 20+ years? If so, you're probably good. Have you used the same company to handle your SEO for years with good results? They're probably on top of things.

The less variables and changes, the less potential risk. But you don't have to guess! Complete our Free Local Business Listing Scan for a full summary of your NAP data on the top US-based citation networks.

Have questions? We're here for you!

Citations are one of the most confusing topics we deal with, so don't feel bad if you have questions about any of these issues. Our marketing professionals have seen just about every situation. From extreme cases of NAP inconsistency to rather small data issues like address formatting and whether or not to include that 'LLC' in your business name.