Which Matters More: Your Listings Or Your Website?

Today, your brand information exists in dozens of places across the internet. But which channels take priority?

By Lauryn Chamberlain

Jun 14, 2022

4 min

"Digital presence" used to be synonymous with "website." However, that's changed within the past decade. Mobile use has risen dramatically, and map apps, social media apps, and search engines have increased, too. Today, your brand information exists in dozens of places across the internet.

As a brand, you know that your digital presence matters — but how much? Well, 78% of consumers search online for local brands at least once a week. And one of the first things they see in the search engine results isn't your website — it's the local pack.

From Google to Yelp to your own website, your customers are everywhere. You may want to know which marketing channels to prioritize, so you ask:

Which is more important: my listings or my website?

Your customers see your local listings first

As you might have guessed, the answer is that your listings and your website both matter. But early in the customer journey, your listings are key in your geomarketing strategy.

Far too many businesses neglect their third-party listings, focusing instead on branding efforts on their owned properties. Your website is important. But what your customers see first and most often is (most likely) your listings.

Our research shows that, on average, business listings receive 2.7x more views than a brand's owned website* (including local store pages and online directories). So even if the information on your website is perfect, out-of-date listings can hurt your brand's reputation and your conversion rate.

The information across your website and listings should be up-to-date and consistent. If not, there's a chance your customers will become confused. (Or worse yet, they might not discover your brand at all.) If you have duplicate listings, you'll need to suppress them — otherwise you risk diluting your organic traffic.

After all, research shows that the purchase journey starts with online search for a majority of people. The benefit of local business listings is that they can increase discoverability for your brand. Search results prioritize up-to-date, detailed local listings. This means complete, robust listings help with brand awareness and local SEO.

By contrast, inconsistent information across channels can hurt your search engine rankings. This can damage your overall discoverability — and even your reputation.

But that's not the end of the story, of course: your listings aren't the only way to drive search impressions. Your website should too.

Your listings matter, and there's data to prove it. Your customers are more likely to see listings like your Google Business Profile and Apple Business Connect. Consistent, complete listings help search engines like Google match customers to your brand in the search results.

But listings are often only the first step in the customer journey. Your website plays an important role, too.

It's important to have a website that contains holistic information about your brand, in a format that you control. But did you know that creating search engine-optimized local landing pages for your website helps your listings perform better, too? Your website and your listings can — and should — work together.

By creating local landing pages with structured data and linking your third-party listings to those pages, search engines can associate all the content on that webpage with the corresponding listing.

Essentially, you can think of your local landing page as an extension of the local listing — one that's not limited in the number of business attributes it can store. In our day-to-day analysis of customer performance data, we can see the correlation. When a customer launched optimized local landing pages, their listings visibility (measured by number of search impressions) increased as well.

Your website affects your customer experience — and helps drive conversions

Finally, your website experience matters immensely to your customer experience as a whole — and it's also critical to driving conversions. (If you're a brand that sells primarily or exclusively online, this matters even more.)

In the same way that customers search for exactly what they need on search engines, they're becoming more likely to behave in a similar way on your site. Can your customers find the information and answers they need through your website's site searchbefore they bounce away to a competitor?

Optimize your website and your listings for better discoverability

At the end of the day, what matters the most is that you put your best foot forward. To do this, you'll need the help of both your listings and your website.

That said, your business type does play a role: if you're a sit-down food services chain, the bulk of your impressions — and your foot traffic — are likely to be driven by your listings. But if you're primarily an e-commerce organization, you're probably going to focus more on your website experiences.

Remember: your listings and your website are both powerful channels, and they're key to a great digital presence. They drive discoverability and create a great customer experience.

Learn how Yext Listings helps brands manage their local listings today.

*Yext research, 2019

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