Publisher 101: Who They Are & Why They Matter More Than Ever

Your business needs an optimized strategy for managing your listings — and part of that process is getting to know the publishers in play.

By Yext

Oct 27, 2022

5 min

When you think about how customers search for information about your company, you probably picture them visiting your website. But in reality, those few extra clicks from the search engine results page to your homepage may be too much to ask of some customers.

Our research* finds that, on average, your listings with third-party publishers are likely to receive 2.7x more views than your website, meaning two things:

  • Customers are interacting with your listings more than your website.

  • Your company needs to be in complete control of that touchpoint.

To truly capitalize on this customer interaction, your business needs an optimized strategy for managing your listings — and part of that process is getting to know the publishers in play.

What are publishers?

Publishers share information about your business and promote your products and services via online business listings. These listings can be found across the internet, from publishers like Facebook, Google, Waze, Yelp, and more.

Every listing with each publisher is an opportunity to inform consumers and showcase what you offer. This can include basic information about your business — like your phone number, location(s), products/services, and hours of operation — as well as deeper information that can be specific to your industry. Restaurants, for example, can feature menu items or if they accept reservations while hospitality brands can indicate whether or not breakfast is included, or if wifi is available.

By filling out your listings data as much as possible (as long as it's relevant to your business), you're able to optimize your listings to help ensure a positive customer experience and capture more traffic from search. And, as an added benefit, listings can even help you rank better in AI search.

What is a publisher network?

In marketing technology, a publisher network refers to a comprehensive list of the publishers who partner with a vendor. In the Yext Publisher Network, brands sync their information to a global network of 200+ publishers including, global maps, apps, search engines, voice assistants, directories, and social networks. This puts you in definitive control of your brand, everywhere customers search.

Your listings management strategy should include more publishers than just Google.

In the age of AI search, managing your listings across as many publishers as possible should be a top priority. In April 2024, Yext analyzed global data across 620K+ locations and major industries (including healthcare, financial services, retail, restaurants, hospitality, and more) to determine the value of a broad digital presence beyond only major publishers like Google, Bing, Apple, etc.

Heres what we found:

  • Locations with less than 50% of the network synced saw the least amount of Google website traffic. This number served as the baseline for the average percent increases in Google website clicks for the other two ranges.**

  • Locations syncing between 50%-75% of the network received a substantial bump in Google website clicks, with an average increase of +95% over the first group.**

  • Locations syncing more than 75% of the network saw even better results, with a stunning average increase of +186% in Google website clicks.**

This indicates a brand with correct and consistent information across the most publishers in their market may beat those who only focus on a few of the biggest ones — even as organic website traffic declines amid the rise of AI search.

Just remember to complete your listings with the most accurate, up-to-date information. Adding as many business attributes as possible is like SEO for publishers, and it sends trust signals to Google — which is crucial when so much is changing thanks to Google's Search Generative Experience.

However, neglecting listings on other publishers can negatively impact your brand for two main reasons:

1. Missing out on a substantial amount of business. If 82% of search traffic comes from Google, that means 16% of consumers search for your business using a variety of other platforms – not just Google.

Think of all the publishers that are specific to certain geographies and business types:

  • Popular publishers for Restaurants: UberEats, Doordash, OpenTable

  • Popular publishers for Health Systems: Vitals, WebMD,, Caredash

  • Popular publishers for Hospitality: TripAdvisor

  • Popular publishers for Financial Services: WiserAdvisor,,

By not actively managing your listings everywhere potential customers could be searching, you're likely leaving a substantial amount of potential revenue on the table.

2. You may not show up in search. Google cross-references how your information is listed on other third-party sites. Any missing information or inconsistencies across your listings, such as an old phone number, sends poor trust signals to Google. As a result, Google could be less likely to rank your business in search because they're less confident in the accuracy of your company's listed information.

Ultimately, the brands that perform the best in search optimize their listings across the most number of third-party sites. This means managing your listings is a key local SEO strategy.


Managing every single listing may sound like a lot of work — and it can be. To make manual updates for every listing and each location could be a full time job on its own.

However, there are other (less labor intensive) approaches to listings management. Yext supports approximately 250 third-party publishers — including Google, Facebook, and Bing — primarily via direct API integrations***. An integral resource for your listings management strategy, you can update your listings in real time from a centralized dashboard with Yext Listings.

Whether you are only just beginning your listings management journey or you're already comfortable working with publishers, you can manage your entire digital presence with Yext.

*Yext proprietary data

**As the largest listings vendor, Yext helps thousands of multi-location brands manage their digital presence. This offers Yext the unique ability to conduct a study of this caliber using such a large, diverse data set. To ensure we took an unbiased approach, Yext analyzed more than 620k locations – across all geographies and brand types – that have been live on Listings for at least one year. Reference the full study for more details.

***Yext does not have an API integration with all publishers in its Publisher Network.

Read next: How Diverse Publisher Coverage Impacts Brand Discoverability

New research from Yext shows brands can see +186% more clicks from Google when they manage their information across an extended publisher network.

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