How To Find Quality Citations With Darren Shaw Of Whitespark

Local Stampede - Darren Shaw InterviewBeing able to find quality citations is essential to helping local businesses succeed online. The best tool I use to find and build those citations is WhiteSpark. This interview is with Whitespark founder & president Darren Shaw. He is incredibly knowledgeable in local marketing and just an awesome person. Be sure to connect and follow him on Twitter, Google+, and on the WhiteSpark Blog.

The Interview

Q: What makes a quality citation?
  1. Google considers the site trustworthy based on how often it appears in search results. See this study and this study.
  2. The site is relevant to your locality. Ex:
  3. The site is relevant to your industry. Ex:
  4. The site is relevant to both your locality and industry. Ex:
  5. The site has a high domain authority.
The very best citations are from sites relevant to your industry and your location. For example, if you’re a lawyer in Chicago the University of Chicago’s law blog would be a kick-ass place to get your NAPW (Name, Address, Phone, Website) listed. Ok, it’s true that it’s going to be pretty tough to get a citation there, but a simple search like “chicago law sponsorship” can bring up opportunities like this one.


There is great value in getting the “core” 50 to 80 common generic business citations in the US. I think this is necessary for all businesses to “level the playing field”. After that, find local/industry relevant opportunities. There are many local and industry specific business listing sites you can simply submit your listing to, but citations from guest blogging and sponsorships are a great way to go beyond what the typical competition is doing.


Q: Is there such thing as a bad citation? One that can negatively hurt you?


Not directly. The presence of just the NAP (Name, Address, and Phone) on a super spammy site will not hurt you, but the *links* from these sites can lead to Google update issues. Just don’t build citations on super spammy sites and you’ll be fine.

Q: Tips on scaling citation building?


The only way to scale is with data aggregators since they distribute to so many other sites. Make sure you’re accurately listed in InfoGroup, Localeze, Acxiom, and Factual.


Q: Advice for building citations for several locations?


Same advice.  InfoGroup, Localeze, Acxiom, and Factual all accept bulk feeds.


Q: How can someone find problems?


This is a serious pain in the neck. Start by asking the business for any and all previously used names, addresses, and phone numbers. Then Google these to dig out all the sites that are using them. You’ll likely find additional NAP variations that the business forgot about when doing the audit.


Q: Tips to scale fixing wrong citations?


You can’t really scale this work at the moment. We at Whitspark are working on a tool that will help.


Questions About Darren Shaw


Q: What is your favorite quote?
My favorite quote is from Henry Ford:
“Whether you think that you can, or that you can’t, you are usually right.”


People often self-sabotage their success by doubting themselves. I try to operate under a “hells-yeah, I can do that!” mindset. Sadly, I learned that Henry Ford was anti-semitic, so now I think he was a dick, but I still like the quote so I just pretend Bill Gates said it, because Bill Gates is a rad dude.


Q: Book you think everyone should read?


Knuffle Bunny Free by Mo Willems. I just read it to my daughter before bed. It was pretty good.


I don’t really read business books, but Phil Rozek sent me a copy of 80/20 Sales and Marketing by Perry Marshall which looks great, but I haven’t read it yet. If Phil recommends it, then I’m pretty sure I would recommend it as well.


Q: Tool / Resource you can’t live without?


Aside from  Local Citation Finder (which Darren is the owner of). For a tool outside of Whitespark, Open Site Explorer is my next most used tool.


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