Published: May 16, 2014
Multi-location businesses face unique challenges in the management, optimization and distribution of local business listing information. Accuracy is critical for every business, but those with a number of locations must also master scale.
With several new location management automation tools taking to the market, it’s becoming easier and easier to literally manage all of your online business listings with a single click. Consider the time and cost savings of taking the time commitment and hassle out of updating each of your business listings individually.
These tools, including Yext, Axciom, Neustar Localeze and Moz Local, push accurate location data to all the major local databases and directories with a single click. But intense competition in the local directory management market is quickly commoditizing the product and will create a downward pressure on the rates these services can charge and the features they include — which is why it’s important to understand what data aggregators are out there and how they compare in helping you manage your local listings.
There are four basic stages or levels at which you can approach data aggregation. Providers at each level cannot be compared to each other on an ‘apples to apples’ basis because they simply offer different service solutions.
- Manual listing & updates – Manage and submit changes on your own.
- Basic automation with low cost data aggregators – These platforms usually focus on basic information like business name, address, phone, website, cities served, brand logo and imagery, business description, category, and hours.
- Higher cost local listings management and automation – comprehensive listings management and ability to customize, highly brand, include unique promotions, and integrate social media. (Real-time data distributors like Yext and niche directory sites like Yelp, Foursquare, and even Facebook function as social networks, but also act as or power business review sites and house local business listing information.)
- Citation management and reporting – Alongside the automation of your local listing syndication, look to citation management and ranking tools for ongoing improvements. These will help you track performance, measure increases in ranking and traffic, and more effectively optimize your local listings across the top search engines, data aggregators, and popular networks.
Start With The Essentials
Depending on how in depth you’d like to control your listings, basic low cost data aggregators like Data by Acxiom, Factual, and Infogroup are a good place to start. These services provide basic tools for correcting data on a mass level. They don’t, however, offer the highest degree of branding, the opportunity for social connection and detailed promotions, viewing and monitoring reviews, or data and reporting. There is also some discrepancy in these services with knowing whether your updated information successfully populated local listings.
Hone in Your Strategy with Higher Quality Solutions
These services like eLocal (Yext), Placeable and even Neustar Localeze offer more comprehensive listing management solutions. Going above and beyond basic data updating, these providers offer extensive customization, enhanced listings, opportunity to integrate social channels, keep up to date promotions visible in local directories, view and monitor reviews, and offer access to data and analytics. For many, this is a great place to start and do everything right with your local listings the first time around. Others opt to start with a low cost aggregator first and then graduate to these.
No matter the route you take, basic data aggregators or a more comprehensive and brandable automation solution, cleaning up and managing your local business listings can make or break new business — especially when it comes to foot traffic. For a more in-depth analysis and comparison of local listing management platforms, take a look at our comparison of eLocal (a.k.a. Yext) vs. Localeze vs. Placeable and other local data aggregators.