Local business listings are very important to improving your SEO so that your website will rank higher in search engines such as Google and Bing. When your business is properly listed in directories like Yelp, Facebook, Google Maps, etc., Google boosts your website in its search results (positive ratings and reviews help as well!).
Unfortunately, one of the most frequent SEO challenges local businesses face is inconsistent information in third party listing providers.
You can, of course update your own local listings. Another option is to pay a company to clean up your listings for you which does cost money, but can save a ton of time. Both methods can help solve the inconsistent listings on Google Maps, Apple Maps, and many other online business listings.
However, make sure you understand the implications of both approaches. A recent Whitespark study did some research on what happens if you start down the path Yext and eventually decide to cancel your subscription:
- 60% of the business listings disappeared or started showing incorrect information.
- Of the other 40% that remained, 35% were stripped partially or fully of any enhanced details.
- Only 5% of listings remained accurate and featured enhanced details, but some of those had been manually claimed before starting with Yext.
- There were incorrect and incomplete reporting of the listings synced with Yext PowerListings while the subscription was live.
I don’t personally believe that there is anything intentional that Yext is doing here to punish businesses who decide to leave Yext. Rather, when you use a service like Yext or Moz, these companies use automated methods (APIs) to update your listings. In essence, they “own” the listing while you are working with them. Once you cancel with Yext or Moz, your listings simply revert back to the state they were in prior to Yext taking them over.
Companies like Whitespark or BrightLocal use a hybrid approach. They do a lot of the heavy lifting for you, but your online listings remain under your ownership. If you cancel with these companies, your listings do not revert.
All three approaches have their merits. Whether you claim and optimize your listings yourself, use a company like Whitespark or BrightLocal to do it for you manually, or use a company like Yext or Moz to do it for you via automated methods, the key is to understand the implications of each method and determine what works best for you.