Knowledge Center

Local Listings

Local business listings are powerful tools that boost your brand’s visibility. Here’s how to leverage them to gain more visibility on search engines and beyond.

If you wanted to find local businesses 20 years ago, there was only one place to turn: the print yellow pages. Consumers used this local business directory to find the names, addresses, and phone numbers of stores and companies nearby.

Any other information desired (like hours of operation, or directions) required a phone call. If the company's information in the yellow pages was incorrect (or if it wasn't listed at all), it couldn't be fixed until the next print cycle. When this happened, the company missed out on potential customers.

Today, the idea of calling a company to find out operating hours or cross streets seems old-fashioned. The world has migrated from print to digital to mobile. And this changes the way consumers interact with your brand for the better. For example, when using mobile to search for a local company, 88% of consumers will either call or visit within 24 hours. Local listings help brands meet consumers where they are, when they're ready to convert.

What are local listings?

Local listings are online profiles for a brand, or a brand's location. Brands may have a listing for each of its locations, too, which is especially common in franchises and chains. In industries like Financial Services and Healthcare, people who work for a brand (like a financial advisor or a doctor) may also have a local listing. These profiles make it easy for consumers to find and connect with brands via a variety of mediums, including:

  • search engines

  • directories

  • review platforms

  • social media

  • and more

The business listings ecosystem includes sites like Yelp that focus on customer ratings and reviews. It includes mapping and navigation systems like Apple Maps, Google Maps, and Waze. Even social media platforms like Facebook and Foursquare help consumers discover your brand. Each of these is a business directory in its own right because it contains information about the brand, company, and its various locations. When a consumer wants to find your business, they often turn to your listings.

Local business listings bridge the digital and physical interactions, connecting online consumers with offline locations. Local listings include information about a brand or location, including the company's name, address, and phone number (NAP data).

However, as business listing sites have evolved, so has the content available within them. Online listings can now include enhanced content, like:

  • hours of operation

  • descriptions

  • product categories

  • menus

  • directions

  • bios

  • images

  • and more

This information can affect how your brand appears in local search results — and even whether you appear at all.

Each online business directory is a great opportunity to engage with consumers, but also a great challenge. There are hundreds of directories to choose from, and many enterprise or franchised brands may have hundreds of locations. With so much information to manage at a local level, how does a brand make sure its listing is accurate everywhere?

How to manage your local listings

The consumer journey is no longer linear. Consumers are embracing an omnichannel approach, and they expect to find your brand wherever they search for it. If a brand aims to attract consumers in a specific geolocation, local listings are a key geomarketing tactic.

With hundreds of business listing portals across the web, brands can't control where a consumer will choose to search for information. But, they can control what information a consumer finds when they get there.

Ensuring the accuracy of information in online business listings is crucial for brands to maintain and scale customer relationships. The first step is to either list your business, or claim an existing listing. The second step is ongoing: take control of what information is shared there.

The more information about a brand available in its local listing, the better its search ranking — and the more likely a consumer is to choose it. In a survey conducted by Yext, we found brands that filled out more than 86% of relevant core fields in their listings received 43% more impressions on search engines, and 62% more clicks to their business listings.

Yext's Publisher Network allows brands to input up to 45 core geodata fields per location. Today, consumers expect this type of rich content when they search for your brand online. These can be the difference between whether or not a consumer chooses your brand over the competition. And consumers do make decisions based on your listings. After all, online listings receive 2.7x more views than websites.

However, some brands do not take full advantage of this — and consumers can find incorrect information. When this happens, they're less likely to convert. In fact, 63% of consumers say they aren't as likely to engage with a brand if its listing has incorrect information.

If a local listing contains out-of-date or incorrect information, the consequences can be detrimental. A store can miss out on potential customers from an incorrect address on a mapping site, or an old company name may cause confusion after a rebrand. Even duplicate listings cause issues if you aren't using a listings management tool with duplicate suppression.

Depending on the publisher, local listings can be updated daily, monthly, or never at all. Unless a brand manually claims these listings (or uses a listings management tool like Yext to claim them at scale), the potential for incorrect information to be found and displayed by directories is very high.

Yext partners with over 200 publishers, including Google, Bing, and Apple, to power local online listings for our customers. With Yext, brands can take control of their listings — and turn local, organic search into an effective marketing channel.

Learn more about Yext Listings today.

Schedule your personal demo

Learn how the Yext Answers Platform enables brands to capture and retain consumer traffic from all corners of the web.