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.
Do you still use it? If you do, be assured that you’re referring to an outdated version because the directory stopped printing after 2019, thereby bringing to an end a staggering 51-year run.
It’s true that they still have their online version running strong, but do you recall using their website the last time you wanted to find a coffee shop or a local dentist in your vicinity?
Probably not. If anything you’re definitely one of the 82% of mobile shoppers who conduct a ‘near me’ search on Google or other search engines when determining where you need to go.
Furthermore, with the rise in the concept of online business directories, most consumers tend to refer to them before embarking on their buying journey. Therefore, it’s imperative for businesses to ensure that their local listings are accurate and updated in as many directories as possible.
Recommended Reading: The Top 100 Online Business Directories
So, is that the ‘new normal’ for local businesses when it comes to improving their findability? If so, the concept of local listing management is crucial more than ever in the current landscape.
What is local listing management
Local 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, TripAdvisor, etc.
Is there a specific type of business that uses local listing management 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 to manage their listings.
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.
Therefore, along with updating everything to ensure that the information is accurate everywhere, one must also be fast while doing so since millions of searches are being done everyday.
Why is local listing management important
Local 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.
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.
Hence, a process like local 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
Improving the visibility of their brands is one of the most important reasons why businesses must get on board the local listing management bandwagon as soon as possible.
It goes without saying that the more online directories a business lists itself 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, according to statistics from Google, the number of consumers who follow that exact same practice through their mobile phones is 50%.
This proves the importance of local listing management and how it’s crucial to drive up revenue.
2. Increase traffic
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.
Furthermore, along with increasing online traffic to their websites, maintaining impeccable listings standards also leads to an increase in physical consumer footfall for businesses.
3. Save time
Last we checked, there are about 2.5 million online business directories present on the internet.
Just kidding. There surely aren’t that many, but there are quite a few out there that can cost you an exorbitant amount of time when it comes to updating your business information on each one.
Let’s say that even if you create a spreadsheet of some sort that consists of all the different directories out there, keeping track of your 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, 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.
Furthemore, 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. Search Engine Optimization
In today’s search engine optimization dominated world, the battle to appear at the top position on a search engine like Google 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.
For that reason, in the example above, people would prefer Omega Dental Clinic over others.
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, having updated and accurate business listings online drastically improves the chances of your 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 your 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 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 also proves to be a hassle for the owner.
With a proper local listing management software, businesses can now make those changes in real-time and update their information on online business directories from one single location.
It’s imperative 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 your local listings
We’re sure that by now you’re completely onboard with the concept of incorporating the best local listing management practices. When it comes to managing them, however, you have a few options.
Most small business owners handle their online listings themselves. As the nature of this process goes, manually updating every listing out there can take a lot of time and effort. Hence, it only makes sense to do so if your business is a small one and has just a handful of locations.
If your business has multiple locations, not just in one city but all over a certain geographical area, then managing listings yourself might not be the most efficient way to stay on top of things.
For businesses spread over multiple locations, employing a team of talented marketing strategists to claim and sync their business listings can be a great way to be in control.
However, if you’re worried about the extra expenses that go with employing new people on your payrolls, you can think about judicious options like white-label listings services that would allow you to outsource a team of experts to do all the heavy-lifting for you, all under your own 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 a robust local listing management software.
The benefit of using such a type of software is that you would save a lot of time and effort since you would be able to claim, sync, and manage all your business listings in a single dashboard.
Furthermore, many software today have the ability to provide executive reports that empower you to look at proof of performance. This means that not only will you be able to manage your listings efficiently, but will also be able to analyze the listings that work and those that don’t.
How can Vendasta help you
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 listing 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 rank higher on search engines by providing real-time updates and accurate information to customers.
Lastly, Listing Builder is one of more than 100 products in the Vendasta Marketplace. What this means is that you will get access to a best-in-class end-to-end commerce platform that enables you to handle all your marketing needs in one place without having to open multiple tabs.
So, why wait? Get started today and sync your business information to all important sources.