Local listing management: Everything you need to know (Updated 2022)By Ankur Pramod
Online directories make up a network of websites that connect consumers with what they’re looking for. Local listing management ensures that businesses are found across these directories with the correct information, effectively building trust with consumers simply by being consistent. Queue local listing management resellers to raise their hand as a managing party for small businesses that need help in this area.
Do you remember that thing called the Yellow Pages? Yes, that big, yellow print directory that used to list all the telephone numbers of residents and local businesses for you to skim through before finally finding what you were looking for? A directory that used to be the lifeline for not just business owners looking to advertise their services in their local market, but also for agog consumers looking to fulfill their needs.
No longer available in print, Yellow Pages now exists online in the form of an online listings management directory. This is now considered to be one of the “big four” online directories along with Yelp, Bing Places for Business, and of course Google Business Profile.
With the rise of online business directories, most consumers tend to refer to them before embarking on their buying journey. Approximately 92 percent of consumers will choose a business from the first page of local search results (reviewtrackers). Therefore, it’s imperative for businesses to manage online listings and ensure that their local listings are accurate and updated in as many listings directories as possible.
What are local listings?
Local listings are online business directories like Google Business Profile that house business information on search engine results pages, social media, directory sites, and business review sites. This information can be as simple as a business name, phone number, and physical address if there is one. Information can also include business categories, maps, images, and more. It’s important to fill out as much information as possible and to make sure that if a listing can be claimed that the listing is claimed by the business. If a listing is left unclaimed it’s easy for anyone to swoop in and change the information or even claim it themselves. Leaving a claimable listing unclaimed makes the process far more complicated than it needs to be. It’s thus vital to manage online listings related to your business.
Consumers use these local listings to find that business information as an important step in the purchasing process. The more listing sites a business is found on, the more likely a prospective customer will find it whether or not they were looking for that particular business.
To add to the complication of managing numerous listing sites, online directories are also usually a place where consumers can leave business reviews. Not only should a business be listed on as many directories as possible, but these listings need to be managed closely to ensure the information is accurate across the board and all customer reviews are answered promptly.
What is local listing management?
Local business listing management is the process of constantly checking and updating the information pertaining to a business’s location, website, and other related data on online directories.
In addition to some online business directories like Google, Yelp, and Yahoo, the information must also be maintained on popular public-facing platforms such as Facebook and TripAdvisor.
Is there a specific type of business that requires local listing management services more than others?
It’s not just brick-and-mortar and multi-location businesses that need to communicate their physical address and store hours with consumers. But considering how the current landscape is shaping up, even those businesses that are completely online need local business listing management.
As mentioned above, a large majority of the consumers today search for a business using their phones, and Google is the first thing that comes to mind. Any and all information related to a business’s website, their social media channels, and their reviews can be found online. That’s why it’s so important to manage online listings.
Therefore, along with updating everything to ensure that the information is accurate everywhere, you must also be fast while doing so since millions of searches are being done everyday. Online listings management is time sensitive.
Why is local listing management important?
Local business listing management is important because the internet is where consumers today research, shortlist, and finalize a business they want a service from, before even interacting with one. Online listings management is closely tied to online reputation management as well, which can boost search rankings.
We live in a technology-dominated age, where about 95% of consumers make their purchasing decisions based on the reviews they read online about a product or a service. In addition to that, surrounding information about a business like store hours and address are equally important in online listings management.
Hence, a process like local business listing management is of utmost importance as it improves the visibility of a business, helps create a unique customer experience, and ultimately drives sales.
1. Improve visibility with online listings management
Improving the visibility of their brands is one of the most important reasons why businesses and their agencies must get on board the local listing management bandwagon as soon as possible.
It goes without saying that the more online directories a business is listed on, the higher the probability of a customer finding them. Therefore, the next time you do a Google search about “restaurants near me,” try mapping out your own journey through the lens of a local business.
You, as a customer, are more likely to visit a store that you’ve just found online within a day of you running the search on the internet. In fact, the number of consumers who follow that exact same practice through their mobile phones is 50% (smartinsights).
This proves the importance of local business listing management and how it’s crucial to drive up revenue.
2. Increase traffic with online listings management
Speaking of driving up revenue, businesses can also increase the consumer traffic online to their websites by incorporating the best local listing management practices.
For example, imagine that you’re a customer who has just conducted an online search for ‘chiropractors near me’ and have come across two listings online. While one of them has all of their information like location, timings, and website fully updated, the other has a few missing slots.
Needless to say, in a bid to enjoy a better experience, you will be more inclined towards clicking on the website of the chiropractor that has all the information updated and accurate.
Along with increasing online traffic to their websites, maintaining impeccable listings standards also leads to an increase in physical consumer foot traffic for your business clients.
Another way to increase traffic with listings management is to suppress all duplicate listings. These divert traffic and can confuse potential customers with incomplete listing information. Claim all duplicate listings found by your local listings management software so that you can either suppress or delete them.
3. Manage online listings to save time
It would cost your clients an exorbitant amount of time to find local business listing websites and update their business information on each one.
Let’s say that even if you create a spreadsheet of some sort to manage online listings for a business. That spreadsheet consists of all the different directories out there. Keeping track of their information on all of them and updating that sheet regularly would be nothing short of climbing Mount Everest.
While it’s not impossible, it surely will take a lot of time and effort to do so.
With the presence of local listing management services and software, not only can businesses enjoy the luxury of keeping track of their information on all the online business directories in just a short time period, but they also have the ability to make changes on the fly and have them reflect instantly.
Furthermore, due to all the information being consolidated at one central location, businesses can update their information just once and it would automatically reflect on all directories.
4. Is local business listing management important for SEO?
Yes. Local listing management is definitely an important piece in local SEO ranking factors. In today’s SEO-dominated world, the battle to appear at the top position of Google’s search results goes hand in hand with the battle to win more customers.
While reviews and location do play a significant role in influencing the purchasing decision of a consumer who runs a search online, the earlier a business appears on a search engine result, the greater the chances of that business converting the prospect into a paying customer.
So, what’s the secret behind getting that coveted top spot on Google? While there is no direct answer to that question, what is certain, however, is that search engines prefer to list those businesses on top that provide consumers with the best search experience.
Therefore, it’s a good idea to manage online listings and ensure they’re updated and accurate. As you can see, online listings management can drastically improve the chances of your client’s business showing up on top during a search. On the other hand, the presence of inaccurate information provides consumers with a bad experience and hinders a company’s rank.
5. Real-time updates
One of the pain points that businesses have is not being able to make informational changes in real time. While making changes might be a swift process, it often takes time for them to reflect.
Further, the pain of not being able to manage online listings and make those changes all in one place adds to the misery.
Maybe a restaurant owner had to change the timings of their business and wants his customers to know instantly. However, the system that they use doesn’t allow that and takes time. Not only does that lead to a bad customer experience, but it also proves to be a hassle for the owner.
With local business listing management software, you can help those businesses make changes in real time and update their information across online business directories from one single location.
It’s important that businesses always have correct information on their listings so that they can enjoy a better search rank on search engines that punish businesses for inaccurate information.
How to manage online listings
By now you’re likely onboard with the concept of incorporating the best local listing management practices. There are three product and service approaches you can offer to your listings management clients, ranging from very hands-on services to letting them manage their own listings with the software you resell.
Most small business owners manage online listings themselves. As the nature of this process goes, manually updating every listing out there can take a lot of time and effort. This option makes the most sense for single-store small-business clients with limited resources.
If your business client has multiple locations spread out over a large geographical area then they likely have more in-house resources or at least capital to spend on local listings management.
In either case, local listing management services are less involved in a do-it-yourself model.
Another option for local listing management is to offer full services to your clients. This will be a more comprehensive and expensive option for your clients to choose, but your busiest clients will save themselves time with do-it-for-me.
As a local business listing management reseller, it can become overwhelming to manage all the listings of all your clients. Rather than hiring more in-house employees to take on that task, you can outsource to a team of talented marketing strategists. They will do the manual fulfillment work to claim, sync, and updated business listings. White-label listings services allow you to outsource fulfillment to a team of experts to do all the heavy lifting for you. They’ll manage online listings for your clients, all under your brand.
3. Local listing management software
Lastly, if you feel that outsourcing is not the way to go about managing your operations, you have the option to do everything yourself by using robust local business listing management software.
The benefit of using online listings management software is that you would save a lot of time and effort since you would be able to claim, sync, and manage online listings in a single dashboard. This would be considered a software reseller opportunity.
How to monitor local listings
The key to local listing management is ensuring that all your clients business listings are maintained. At this point you’ve done the work. You’ve researched to find the best products and services to resell, and you’ve already claimed and verified all the required listings for your client. How you monitor listings now depends on the online listings management tools you’ve chosen to resell and the online reputation management strategies you follow.
There are a few rules of thumb in the local listings management game:
1. Set expectations with your client.
This all-important step should be second nature to any software reseller. Find out what your client thinks they should be seeing and ensure that their expectations are realistic. SEO doesn’t happen over night, and business listing management is only one small part of the ranking factors process. Make sure you’re both on the same page when it comes to check-ins, updates, and reporting cadences. Marketing materials like an online listings management playbook will help in setting client expectations as well as making the sales pitch easier.
2. Set a reporting frequency.
Reporting frequency can look like weekly, biweekly, or monthly. Depending on how often your client wants to see reports you can charge a higher price for the extra effort. Thankfully with most reseller software you’ll be able to pull reports quickly from a dashboard that has all listing information pulling in from search results, social media, and other review sites.
In your report you can include pieces of local SEO reporting as well as the following listings management factors:
- A list of all directories, review sites, and social media platforms being monitored
- Which listings are performing best
- Number of reviews on each listing
- Search ranking of all listings
- Social media shares
3. Discuss how and when listings need to be updated.
Best practice dictates that if the client is to change any business information whether that’s their phone number, physical address, or domain, they need to notify you as their provider as soon as possible so you can manage online listings in a timely manner. Make sure this expectation is set with the client so that updates can be made as quickly as you are able to, ensuring that their customers online experience is smooth. If your listings client chose a DIY package they will be making these changes themselves within your provided dashboard. If your client has trusted you to make these changes make sure the updates are included in the next client report.
What is local listing management software?
As a local listing management reseller, there are a number of tools that you can sell under your own branding. This includes dashboards that can pull all reviews and listing sites into one spot under one login to make listings management a breeze. Listing management services and software can also include tools that help you find and suppress duplicate listings, see map views, and social media page views.
Top 5 Local listing management tools and software
According to G2, the top five free local listing management tools of 2022 include Birdeye, Yext, Vendasta, Semrush, and BrightLocal.
1. Birdeye main features include:
- Ability to scan major online directories across the web for errors
- Build listings from one dashboard
- Use Google Messaging to convert leads
- Get real-time insights on engaged leads and traffic
2. Yext now partnered with Local SEO Guide to add control of your clients listings. Main features include:
- Listing analytics
- Posting from the management dashboard
- Duplicate listing suppression
- Listing status
- Automated updates
3. Vendasta also includes the option of white-label listings management services for the reseller that wants to keep growing their profits and margins. Also included are over 90 listing sites to build in for your clients.
- Google Business Profile management and posts
- Check listings across the web and correct inconsistencies from one dashboard
- Ensure that a business is listed where their customers are searching
- Alerts and reminders to update incorrect listings
- Increase hyperlocal targeting and search rankings with data consistency
4. Semrush includes over 70 listings sites to build in for your clients.
- Automatic business information management
- Google Business Profile integration
- Tracking local rankings and competitors in Google Maps
- Interact with clients on listing sites through one dashboard
5. BrightLocal helps users find new listings opportunities with automatic scanning of the web and has an easy to manage workflow.
- Find and build local listings
- Automatically find business information issues
- Track listing performance
- Build white-label reports
How can Vendasta help you manage online listings?
When it comes to local listing management, Vendasta’s white-label solutions allow you to manage your business listings on all online directories, consistently across the internet.
Our portfolio of local business listing management solutions consists of three robust tools in Listing Builder, Listing Distribution, and Listing Sync Pro. Further, you can get started for absolutely no cost with the Express edition of Listing Builder, a tool that simplifies the complex process of syncing listings.
Using our solutions, in addition to saving time, effort, and money, you would also be able to help clients rank higher on search engines by providing real-time updates and accurate information to customers.
Lastly, Listing Builder is one of more than 250 products in the Vendasta Marketplace.