Are Your Citations Indexed? Are They Helping You?

About a week ago Darren Shaw from Whitespark presented his results from an interesting citation study. In his study Darren wanted to find out what actually happens when you submit your citations through a variety of different data aggregator citation services including submissions to Infogroup, Nuester / Localeze, Acxiom, Factual, Moz Local, Yext, and manual submissions through Whitespark. To do this he created 7 different electrical companies with unique NAP and tracked their results.

After the dust had settled after a few weeks an interesting observation arose. These are the numbers of indexed citations from his study:

Infogroup: 10
Nuester / Localeze: 4
Acxiom: 1
Factual: 0
Moz Local: 13
Yext: 24
Manual Citations: 49

As you can see by the numbers the highest indexation rate was from manual citations.

This got me thinking…

The numbers were troubling at first for me and got me thinking. If your citations aren’t indexed they are not going to be providing any weight in the rankings. This means that a citation that doesn’t show up in Google’s search results is not doing you any good. When you consider this plus the fact that services such as Yext submit to 50+ citations it seems a bit concerning. So I decided to do a little research myself to see what I could find.

I ran a test on indexation rates

test-grade-2To see how accurate this information was I took a sample from a variety of clients. Some of these citations were built manually and some were created automatically through services like Yext.

In one test I found that only 6/25 citations were in Google’s index through an automatic citation service.This was a bit concerning to me so I attempted to see if I could change this easily by forcing a crawl of these citation URL’s. To do this I created a page with the citations I wanted to get indexed and submitted a crawl request through Google’s search console. The results worked pretty fast and within a few hours I found that I was able to get 25/25 of these citations in Google’s index.

Time will tell if they stay, but I anticipate that they will. The good news is that you can do this too.

How you can fix this

As with any citation building you take on you should make sure you’re recording great data. This includes the login and especially the URL’s of the correct citations. If you have the URL’s of the citations you can try to force crawl them using this method.

A quick disclaimer: I would try this method in small quantities of links. Don’t add 1,000 links to a page and expect Google to crawl them. Furthermore an influx of recognized links like that would appear unnatural. So be careful.

  1. Create a page on your website or older blog post. You could title it “Other places to review us on the web” or something to that extent.
  2. Add the links to the citations not showing up in Google’s index. If you’re not sure which ones you can copy and paste the citation URL into a Google Search and see if the result shows up.
  3. After the page is complete open up Google Search Console and select Crawl > Fetch as Google
  4. Enter the URL of the new page you created and select “Fetch and Render”
  5. After the status says complete you should select the “Submit to Index” option. When this pulls up it will give you two choices, select the “Crawl this URL and its direct links” option.
  6. Wait a few days and check the URL’s to see if they’ve made it into the index!



Prefer The Video? Casey Explains How To Check Your Citations & Get Them Indexed


Examples of Citations Not Indexed:


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Casey Meraz

Casey is the founder and president of Ethical SEO Consulting and Juris Digital based in Denver, CO. Casey's specialties are in organic and local SEO. He is a regular contributor to the Moz Blog and the author of How To Perform The Ultimate Local SEO Audit. If you have an SEO question or need advice please feel free to reach out by email: Follow Casey on Twitter @CaseyMeraz.