Spy On Your Competitors’ Citation Profiles

Matt McGee discovered an interesting tool for finding your competitors’ citations, and it’s not a bad one.  The folks over at Ontolo have put together an automated version of their citation tracking by phone number method.  Basically, the way it works is like this – the phone number is the one absolutely unique element of any business.  A company name could be repeated, or even an address in an office building.  But by Googling a phone number, you’re guaranteed relevant results for the business you’re searching for.  In fact, when you Google a phone number, the results are a complete listing of that business’s online presence…otherwise known around here as a complete citation record.

The tool automates this process, and generates a list of unique domains, sorted by the frequency they show up in the citation profiles of the 7-pack listings.  So now you just need to duplicate your competitors’ efforts and add a few of your own, and you’re all set!

The only additional feature I wish for would be a way to go deeper than just the 7-pack.  Why not show citations for the top 20 (or 200) businesses?

4 responses to this post.

  1. The problem is that while a phone number may be unique to a business, many businesses have multiple phone numbers.

    It is a nice trick but not fool-proof. Nowadays when it is so easy to get local VOIP numbers for every local market and variable numbers are used to integrate into different marketing campaigns as a way to measure and to analyze success, this will not work for a business with a sophisticated marketing campaign which can include hundreds (or more) of phone numbers.


  2. Posted by Menachem Pritzker on August 11, 2010 at 1:19 pm

    Charlie -

    You’re right it’s not a perfect tool, but not for the reason you said. There’s actually a problem in Local Search with call tracking numbers – the search engines penalize a companies that use call tracking with multiple numbers for not having a consistent citation record. It’s likely this will change in a year or two, as there’s no good reason to penalize those companies, but for now, it’s unlikely a company like that will show up in the top 7 at all.

    Here’s the problem, laid out: http://searchengineland.com/be-wary-of-call-tracking-numbers-in-local-search-26895

    And here’s a possible solution that hasn’t been implemented yet: http://www.naturalsearchblog.com/archives/2009/09/28/canonical-phone-tag/


  3. Hi Menachem,

    Thanks for mentioning the Local Citation Finder on your blog. I totally hear you about showing the citations for the top 200, and we’re working on that. We’re actually working on a long list of improvements to the tool that we suspect will blow you away. I’ll be emailing all registered users once we have the improved version launched.

    If you have any other suggestions for improvement, I’d love to hear them.



  4. Posted by Margaret on March 26, 2011 at 5:16 pm

    There appears to be another tool available that does this too, but this is a one-off payment, which is why i bought it. Works pretty good.



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