Visit any city across the country, and you’re bound to spend at least some time standing on a street corner, looking at your smartphone as you attempt to find your hotel, a restaurant, store, or another business. This is the new global symbol of the out-of-towner — no longer scouring huge fold-out maps, but instead searching on their smartphones, trying to filter out inaccurate information to get where they want to go — and it’s not their fault. Today, wherever they are, people expect that the questions they ask maps, apps, and AI-powered search engines about nearby businesses will yield answers that point them in the right direction. It can be understandably frustrating when they do the opposite. Misinformation online causes confusion, leading to tourists — and sometimes even locals! — getting lost.
Fortunately, it’s easier to find accurate information online in some cities than in others, especially when a greater percentage of businesses there have provided brand-verified answers about themselves in search. In these cities, people who search for information like store hours and addresses are more likely to find answers verified by a business itself — and have an easier time getting around as a result.
While being able to find accurate information about a city’s businesses online is a daily consideration for people who live there, it’s particularly important for tourists and business travelers who are only visiting for a short time. Think about it: in an unfamiliar place, visitors are more likely to search for products, places, and things to do that will fill their itineraries. This also means they are more likely to be confused or led astray by misinformation — or information that is missing altogether.
So, which cities are home to the highest rate of brand-verified answers?
The Top 15 Cities For Brand-Verified Answers Online
- Boston: 20.6% of businesses are providing brand-verified answers*
- Las Vegas: 13.7%*
- Philadelphia: 12.4%*
- Phoenix: 12%
- Chicago: 11.3%
- Dallas: 10.9%
- Houston: 10.4%
- Denver: 8.2%
- Washington D.C.: 7.9%
- Atlanta: 7.9%
- Miami: 7.5%
- Manhattan (New York): 7.2%
- Seattle: 5.5%
- San Francisco: 5.3%
- Los Angeles: 4.7%
Adding yet another city rivalry to its list, Boston beats out the rest of the country with the highest percentage of businesses providing brand-verified answers with Yext. Tourists here who search for nearby restaurants serving New England clam chowder, for example, will have the best chance of finding information (like addresses, menu items, and hours of operation) that is verified by the business itself. Thus, tourists will likely have an easier time navigating Boston than some West Coast cities like Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, where businesses have the most room for improvement.
“Today’s customer journey starts with a question — and as those questions become more and more complex, it’s more important than ever for businesses to provide brand-verified answers online,” said Zahid Zakaria, Senior Director of Insights and Analytics at Yext. “Our analysis of the U.S. revealed that not all cities are created equal, and there can be wide-ranging differences in how easy it is to find verified business information online, depending on where you are. For example, you can’t walk 16 feet in Manhattan without passing a business supplying verified answers with Yext.”
The picture changes when we factor in density — tourists in Manhattan will find a business providing verified answers every 16 feet, while sun-seekers in Miami will find one every 38 feet. Boston remains in the top 3 for answers density, with an answers-ready business every 105 feet.
The good news for businesses (and not-so-good news for consumers)?
Density aside, Boston claims the title with only 20.6% of its businesses providing brand-verified answers. This means search results are not yet saturated with verified information, and there is a lot of room for growth in that city and beyond when it comes to fixing the problem of misinformation online. Wherever they are, businesses can take advantage of the opportunity to provide the answers that city dwellers and tourists alike seek — and when they do, there’s a chance a new city will rise to the top.
*Yext calculated the proportion of businesses using Yext to deliver brand-verified answers to the total number of businesses in that city, according to U.S. Census data. The distance between verified businesses is the ratio of a city’s area, according to WolframAlpha geographic properties data, divided by its Yext-powered locations.