The Power of a Digital Presence: How Consistent Information Improves Brand Discoverability

New research shows a strong correlation between managing information across an extended publisher network and an increase of +186% more clicks from Google.

By Yext

May 9, 2024

5 min

With less than 1% of customers referencing the second page of results, ranking at the top of the Google SERP has been the cornerstone of an effective SEO strategy for years. Traditionally, achieving this meant focusing on a Google-centric keyword strategy and managing brand information across a few select major publishers (like Google, Apple, Facebook, and Bing).

But the search landscape is evolving. Search engines are refining their algorithms with AI-led technology, seeking information from a variety of sources to deliver clear answers to customers. Winning in organic search now requires brands to improve their signal to Google through a robust digital presence, with coverage across an extended network of publishers to boost their relevancy and accuracy (among other factors).

How many publishers should a brand prioritize for discoverability?

The answer is more than you might think.

Yext analyzed over 620,000 global locations across 15 industries managed within the Yext platform and found that locations syncing data with less than 50% of Yext's network - which consists of more than 200 publishers - saw the least amount of website traffic from Google. The data also indicated that locations syncing 50-75% of Yext's network saw an average +95% increase in website clicks from Google, while locations syncing more than 75% of Yext's network saw a +186% increase. Additionally, the data showed over +17% of a typical location's website traffic came from non-Google publishers.

The results highlight the importance of smaller and niche publishers in delivering best-in-class organic search performance through consistent and accurate information. In an environment where every company is rethinking their SEO strategies, these findings provide a path to accelerating improvement in organic search results. How brands prepare today will prevent missed opportunities tomorrow.

Why does consistent and accurate information impact Google results?

Prominent search engines look at how brand information is consistently shown across many publishers to help determine their rankings and recommendations. Too often, brands may be tempted to limit their search optimization focus to a few of the largest publishers, such as Google, Facebook, Apple, etc. But Yext's research shows that the more places a brand shows up online with consistent and accurate information, the better their SEO efforts will perform.

That's because presenting consistent information everywhere that search engines and AI tools gather information helps increase confidence in that information. If a brand has less information available online, or worse, it's inconsistent, these systems won't know if the information is correct. They want their customers to receive accurate answers, so brands with more proof points to pull from are prioritized.

When we asked Google's Gemini, "why does having a consistent digital presence on more publishers result in more Google website clicks?" – the answer confirmed our findings.

Try it yourself on both Google Gemini and OpenAI's ChatGPT.

How does coverage across the publisher network impact AI-search?

Search is competitive — and it's only becoming more complex with the introduction of generative AI. Traditional search engines like Google are already incorporating generative AI through additional sections like AI Overviews, known as Search Generative Experience (SGE) while in beta, which uses AI to produce a direct response to a search query.

Across the board, AI models are reshaping search — with Gartner predicting a 25% drop in search volume as customers move to chatbots and virtual agents to answer their questions. And remember: these technologies use a variety of data sources to pull and collect information when they generate answers - including smaller publishers.

When ChatGPT is prompted to cite its sources after providing an answer about a local financial representative, it doesn't reference information from big publishers like Google, Facebook, Bing, or Apple. Instead, it cites source data from and Localmint. Take a look:

If brands aren't actively managing their information broadly and consistently, AI-led models like Gemini or ChatGPT - and soon-to-be others - could present people with inaccurate information following a query, or, worse, not surface information about them at all.

How does coverage across the publisher network impact changing habits in the landscape?

Today, most brands are still heavily focused on driving traffic from Google, which makes sense: at least 83% of customers look for information there before visiting a brand location.

But as search evolves and customer behavior changes, syncing information to an extended network of publishers is important far beyond Google. It sets brands up to win in an increasingly fragmented search landscape.

Beyond Gartner's prediction about AI chatbots and other virtual agents taking search share of voice, social media search is also on the rise. According to Google, nearly 40% of Gen Z may prefer searching on TikTok and Instagram over Google Search and Maps. In Europe, brands are already noticing a decline in Google traffic due to the implementation of the Digital Markets Act — making other publishers more important.

No matter where a brand operates, non-Google publishers might already matter more than you think: the typical location sees over 17% of all their digital engagement (including website traffic and detailed profile views) come from non-Google publishers.


The digital landscape is rapidly changing as search engines evolve their algorithms, AI-driven experiences take hold, and social media platforms emerge as non-traditional search channels.

The truth is that no one knows exactly how search might evolve over the next three to five years. But managing your brand's digital presence is the best way to prepare for these inevitable changes in the customer journey. Consistent information – widely published across third-party publishers – offers search and AI the strong signals they need to trust your brand over your competition.

Click here to read the full report and study details.

*It's important to note that while the correlation is strong and statistically significant, causation cannot be definitively claimed due to the complex nature of Google's algorithm.

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