Published: May 1, 2014
For businesses with a local footprint, local search is the critical path to online presence. Listings, which are now easily heralded “the new yellow pages,” are an essential building block of that local search presence.
But local business data on the web has always been a mess, suffering from a combination of marrying conflicting information from multiple sources and lack of awareness by the businesses themselves.
The problem? Local listings are often broken. The ecosystem is fragmented. Consumers use dozens of sites and apps like Google, Yahoo!, Bing, Facebook, and more – but each of those sites and apps has its own database of locations that are totally disconnected. When information changes, everything falls out of sync. Then, to top it all off, it can take weeks and months to update, reclaim your listing, and ensure that it adjusts to the correct information online. This presents a frustrating experience for users, for publishers, and most importantly, for the business that has no control over their own presence.
The Typical Approach
“There really is such a thing as being a victim of your own success. And for brands with large brick-and-mortar footprints one manifestation of this phenomenon is bad location data online. It’s easy for users to blame Google or Apple Maps, Foursquare, Yelp, or any other location directory when getting bad directions or contact information for local businesses. But in reality, the fault lays on the brands who have done a poor job verifying and maintaining the accuracy of their location information.
This is not entirely the fault of brands. Once a company gets over 100 locations, managing all this – often frequently changing – information becomes a monumental task. And until recently, it was a task that had to be done manually, through the use of spreadsheets and disparate interfaces within each consumer platform.”
Historically, to manage a businesses local data, experts have advocated a “spray and pray” approach. According to Howard Lermantye, CEO of location data aggregator Yext, “the strategy behind this approach is that, since the public has no real idea which sources any given publisher uses, and no idea how those sources are ranked, the best idea is to simply “spray” your local data to every known aggregator, update your web site, claim your business, file with all government agencies, etc. Then you “pray” that you guessed every source a publisher uses, that their matching process works, and there is no idiosyncrasy that causes your listings to show wrong data.”
At the end of the day, it can turn into a nightmare. One in which you can’t even guarantee accurate results. Until now…
Manage Your Online Business Listings With a Single Click
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. Help local search engines – and new customers – find your business online. With direct API publisher integration, information that you submit is always presented correctly and updated immediately in more than 50 search engines, apps and mapping services, including Bing, Facebook, Yahoo! and Yelp.
All it really takes is one quick scan of your business to realize just how much of your business information is incorrect online and potentially pointing customers to the wrong location, phone number, or even to your competition when they can’t find your business. See for yourself. Scan your business to see how your brand is represented online. We’ve dealt with it all, it’s time to end your nightmares of manually correcting listing after listing after listing.