Local Citation Finder: Must-Have SEO Tool

Filed in Featured, Local Search, SEO & Web Tools by Matt McGee on August 9, 2010 12 Comments

One of the most common tactics in link building is to look for sites that link to your competitors and try to get the same sites to link to you. The effectiveness of this varies from site to site and industry to industry, but it’s one of the things you do early on when building links.

In local SEO, if citations are the equivalent of links, how about doing the same thing? How about looking for your competitor’s citations and trying to get the same ones?

That’s exactly what the Local Citation Finder does, a new tool that instantly becomes a must-have for local SEO.

How to Use the Local Citation Finder

After you register for a free account, you provide a local keyphrase — like “richland wa real estate agent” if I were trying to mine my wife‘s competitors. The keyphrase should be one that produces a 7-pack or 3-pack on Google’s search results.


You can choose which version of Google to use — the .com, the UK, or the Canadian version. After you run your keyphrase, the tool looks at the businesses ranking for your keyphrase, grabs their phone numbers, and then does a Google.com search (or .ca or .co.uk) for those numbers, collecting and collating all of the mentions/citations that it finds.

When it’s done, you’ll get an email with a list of citation sources for the businesses that rank for your keyphrase. Garrett French recently described this process as a manual effort, and the tool takes that and does all the hard work for you. Here’s a look at the email that lists citations the tool found:


And those are citation opportunities that are now gift-wrapped for your local SEO efforts. Cool, eh?

One thing I should mention, and I said this to Garrett via email already: In my experience, what Google shows as citations on a Place Page is dramatically different than what will show on a Google.com search for the phone number. The tool uses the latter, so it may not match the citations that appear on Place Pages. Still, it does give you a list of web pages that cite your competition. And there’s value in that for sure.

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  1. Mike says:

    Interesting tool. Is it possible to use it with business’s name instead of phone number? Just because looking at the example list above – some of those sites seem to be phone number sites rather than citations (
    granted, maybe you can list business name with the phone number on those sites thus creating a citation..)

    • Matt McGee says:

      Hey Mike — Google primarily relies on phone numbers and, to a lesser extent, street addresses when counting citations. Business name mentions on their own don’t generally count as citations in local search. (Think of the millions of mentions like “I was at Starbucks…” or “I love Pizza Hut…” and so forth.

      You’re right that some of the citations are phone number sites, do you do have to do a little weeding through the list you get. Just like weeding through competitors’ links. 🙂

  2. Chris says:

    What a fantastic tool, one for the tool kit. thanks for sharing this. I will test drive it on my next local seo client.

  3. It’s an interesting tool. Not sure how much time it saves off the original manual method. Also, why stop at the 7-pack? I’d like to see a tool like this that harvests citations for the first 100 (or simply all) of the listings for a given location + keyword.

  4. John says:

    Are the numbers in parenthesis the total number of competitors (from the 7 pack) that have a citation from that particular source?

    Would that mean if 5 out of the 7 competitors are receiving a citation from a site that it’s easier to obtain a citation from said site?

    Looks like a great tool.

  5. This is definitely a useful tool and it’s good to see something for free rather than some of the other paid tools that are out there. I’ve successfully used the manual process for finding competitor links for many clients.

  6. This is a great tool to acquire more links to your local listing. Can’t wait till they decide to add extra languages and search engines to the list.

  7. Xovi says:

    Is this SEO Tool only for .ca .com and co.uk?

  8. Jeff says:

    Unfortunately it’s down at the moment. Hopefully it’ll be back soon…?!

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