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How are citations found and checked in Citation Tracker reports?

Helen Barnes -


How does BrightLocal find citations?

We use a wide range of sources and approaches to find citations, for example using combinations of your business information (business name, phone number, zipcode and address) to locate citations.

What citation sources does Citation Tracker use?

  • Google, Yahoo!, and other search engines: we run searches on these engines using combinations of your business information
  • Our own citations database: we have our own database of 500 million citation pages that we search through
  • Direct search on citation sites: for the top citation sites we perform a search using their own search function

Through this process we gather a large selection of citations. Many of these will be correct, but some are not. Some will be citations for businesses with similar names or sister-stores in the same town (e.g. there are over 50 Starbucks' in Chicago).

How does Citation Tracker validate citations?

We want to confirm that the citations we show you are for the correct business and location. We do this using a validation process:

1) We check for the presence of the business name on the page. If we find your business name on the page, and it passes our percentage match level (see below) then we return this citation in your report

2) We check for zipcode or phone number on the page

If we are not able to find or match your business on the page, we then check to see if we can find your zipcode (aka postal code) and phone number. If we identify your zipcode and phone number are present then we return this citation in your report.

Because some citation sites have your business name written differently, and may have you listed at an old address with a different phone number, this validation process is quite complex.

The Percentage Match Algorithm

We use a small algorithm to determine a percentage match for your business on a web page. If the percentage match is high enough then we return that citation in your report. If it isn't a high enough match then we discard that page and don't show it on your report.

We set this percentage level high enough to filter out incorrect matches. However, it sometimes also removes correct citations. We constantly monitor the percentage level to ensure it's set at the optimum level, but getting it right for every business and every citation is an impossible challenge. Unfortunately it's not an exact science (we wish it was!)

Managing and cleaning your reports

Because we know that the Citation finding process isn't perfect, we provide tools within Citation Tracker that enable you to manage and clean up your reports:

Update citations: you can update/swap a citation by clicking on the 'Edit Citation' pencil icon next to each citation

Delete citations: you can remove citations by checking the checkbox of every citation you'd like to delete, and then selecting 'Delete' from the checkbox dropdown at the top of the report.

Add citations: you can add missing citations to your report one by one, or in bulk using a CSV upload

Click here to find out how to manage citations in your Citation Tracker report.

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