Understanding the Power of Places Scout’s New Citation Finder Algorithm
Posted by Mark Kabana on 15 March 2012 04:02 PM

Places Scout’s citation finder algorithm has undergone some powerful new changes in update version 2.2.3. The biggest change to the Citation Finder in this update is that Places Scout now performs citation verification on each potential citation source found by verifying that it is actually a true citation for the given business – meaning that the content on citing website actually contains the business’ name, address, and phone number. This is a huge new addition because now you can be 100% certain whether each citation returned is actually a true citation.

With this new citation verification algorithm, the Citation Finder grid view will now segment between 'Total Verified Citations' (ones that have NAP on citing website), and 'Total Mentions' (sites that have at least one identifier present). When you expand the each result to view the result’s individual citations, you will now see columns titled ‘Name?’, ‘Address?’, ‘Phone’, and ‘Site URL?’ – These columns tell you whether or not each of these business identifiers were found on the citing website. Another column you will see is the ‘Is Verified?’ column, which tells you whether or not the citation is a verified citation source based on whether or not it contains the business’ name, address, and phone number.

Another great new feature added to the citation finder is the ability to choose how many results to crawl for each result to look for potential citation sources. There is a setting (under the Data Filters / Settings tab) in the citation finder you can choose to gather the top 100-1000 or All Available results. This means the citation finder can now crawl ALL available Google results when searching for citations - and it will return basically every mention of your business as well as whether that site is a verified citation source.

While these features are very powerful, they also introduce some things that users need to be aware of when using the Citation Finder or choosing to Perform Citation Analysis in the Find Local Clients section.

Since Places Scout needs to actually visit each potential citation source found, it may take a very long time for the citation finder to complete its analysis – for example, if Places Scout finds 3000 potential citation sources, it will actually visit all 3000 websites, which will take a long time to complete. Although this is done in parallel, you can still imagine how long it takes to query and visit 3000 websites.

NOTE: There is now a setting in version 2.2.4 to disable the citation verification step. You can find this setting under the 'Data Gathering / Settings' tab in the Find Local Clients and Citation Finder sections. If you choose this option, Places Scout will not visit all the citation sources found to verify the business' NAP (which is similar to how it worked in previous versions). This will give you a rough idea of how many citations each result has, but the downside to this is that you will not know if each citation source found is truly a verified citation in the eyes of Google. But adding this option will give more flexibility to the user and greatly speed up finding citations if you are just looking for a rough citation count for each result.

It is suggested that you read and understand the following guidelines when using the Citation Finder or Performing Citation Analysis in the Find Local Clients section.


Guidelines for Using Places Scout’s New Citation Finder

  • If you choose to perform citation verification, it is recommended that you only use one keyword, one location, and one search term variation when using the citation finder or selecting to Perform Citation Analysis in the Find Local Clients section. The reason is because Places Scout will find lots of potential citation sources, and it will visit all the citation sources found, which can take a very long time to complete.
  • If you choose to perform citation verification, it is not recommended that you choose to gather more than 10 results for each search query when gathering citation data – again, the reason for this is the more results you gather, the more potential citation sources will be found, and the more sites that Places Scout will need to visit to verify the citation sources.
  • It is not recommended that you gather Google Page Rank or SEOMoz Data for each potential citation source unless you absolutely need this data. The reason is because if you choose to gather this data, on top of visiting each potential citation website, Places Scout will then need to gather this data for all citation sources found – you can imagine that if 3000 potential citation sources are found, that if you choose to gather this data for each website, it will take an extremely long time to complete this operation.
  • If you only need to gather citation data for a single business – there is a trick to do this. In the keyword box, enter the business name as it appears on the business’ Google Places page. In the location box, enter the business’ phone number. The software will then search the business name and phone number in Google, which typically will only return one Google Places result that will be that business you entered the information for. Then it will only need to analyze the citations for a single result, which shouldn’t take nearly as long as if you use a generic keyword and location that could produce 10+ results.


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