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The abundance of listings management tools is daunting. Here are 10 tool summaries, with details ranging from cost to post-cancellation longevity, as a head start.
If you're a business owner, you know how important it is to have accurate, up-to-date information and citations across the web. Potential customers should be able to find you easily online, especially on prominent business listings sites. There are benefits in terms of organic visibility (local SEO), and maintaining a presence on directory sites native to your location is an undoubted best practice. Business listings management is crucial in ensuring this presence is maintained efficiently.
In the wide, wide world of online reputation, you’ll find a variety of available local business listings management services (as well as solutions, platforms, software, providers, consultants, etc.). That’s one heck of a lot of product categories to sift through, so what are the differences - and which iteration is the best fit for your specific business needs?
In general, tools are usually tangible items that are used to complete specific tasks or solve specific problems, and are appropriate for those with a DIY mentality. Business management tools, in particular, can offer a plethora of features for businesses to leverage in managing their online listings. Services are intangible offerings that provide utility, advice or guidance, and tend to require interaction from both a provider and consumer to fire on all cylinders. These tools can result in short-term results while services often provide expertise and continuity that lead to long-term success. All of the companies featured on our list provide a combination of both.
The good news is, in the local business listings space, the difference between “tools” and “services” are few. Most options are similar, but with their own unique features, and so the two terms have become almost synonymous. We'll go over 10 of the best business listings management tools/services out there in the interest of shortening your path to a strong foundational local listings strategy.
With hundreds of local listing and business review sites to choose from, one of the main benefits of using a third-party offering is automation. Namely, quickly getting one consistent set of accurate business information populated on a large number of sites, and then being able to update that information across all of them simultaneously from the same dashboard.
And because listings websites are indexed by search engines, ensuring your business listings are accurate online can lead to backlinks and improved placement in organic search results. The main benefits, therefore, are a critical combination of customer experience, search engine visibility, and local brand awareness.
Whether you prefer to call them tools, services, or any other synonym frequently used to describe these providers, one thing is certain - there are an overwhelming number of them to choose from. What follows are 10 of our favorites (in alphabetical order) with some basic features, network site inventory, listings “longevity” (where available) and cost/contract details included to help determine which may be the best fit for your business.
As claimed by all of the examples on this list, Advice Local promises to simplify and automate the task of keeping all your business listings up to date across a selection of major sites and directories. Unlike some, however, their dashboard allows you to pick and choose specific listings in order to create a tailored experience and a more unique backlink profile. Their support team and “innovative” tools are one way to ensure that all information accurately reflects your current state for maximum consumer visibility. Agencies can also use Advice Local’s white labeling capabilities to provide solutions for their own client base.
One of the most popular services on the list, BrightLocal is a listings management and local SEO tool that provides businesses with an easy-to-use solution for managing citations across multiple online directories, sites and social platforms. BrightLocal is also well known for their annual digital marketing reports and proprietary statistics for which they are often quoted. The service offers in-depth analytics to measure and improve listings performance as well as automated reporting tools to keep customers informed of their progress.
The base package of this service covers business listings, reputation management and addressing customer reviews. Upgraded packages include features to manage paid search, display ads and social media campaigns. Reviews from Hibu users mention that the platform allows businesses to efficiently create accurate and up-to-date listings, quickly edit existing ones, and the convenience of receiving automatic updates whenever a discrepancy is identified. Plus, the reputation and customer review management services have been appreciated for their effectiveness in boosting organic visibility.
Through LocalFX, business owners can store their contact information in one place and easily manage changes across their network automatically without requiring any individual submissions. Part of WebFX.com’s local SEO tool suite, they pride themselves on intuitive customer support available by phone, through their website and social media channels, making it easy to get help or advice if needed. Users have praised Localfx for its customer review management system and social media integration. Overall, Localfx's local listing management service has been commended for its cost-effectiveness, user-friendly interface, and comprehensive features.
Marketing 360 is a popular digital marketing platform with a business listings management service that helps SMBs claim, sync, and optimize their information across more than 100 directories for maximum visibility. Businesses can provide potential customers with accurate, up-to-date information, such as contact info, hours of operation, website URLs, products/services offered, and business descriptions on sites like Apple Maps, Yelp, Yahoo! Local, and Google Business Profile. Additionally, Marketing 360 boasts unique offerings such as content optimization, so that when customers search for a business online, they can get the most branded message possible.
Not surprisingly, Moz Local is a tool/service that helps local businesses manage listings, boost their visibility and reach local customers. You can also track performance metrics in real-time, create targeted citation campaigns, access an intuitive dashboard to keep track of customer reviews, and even monitor which channels (organic, social, direct, referral) customers arrive via. With a simple setup process, personalized account review, and a long history of SEO-related expertise, Moz Local is a standout on our list.
Automated data verification and an artificial intelligence bot to manage updates, are two selling points of RocketData which help it stand out (a bit) from the pack. They also offer industry-specific site/directory inventory including hospitality, finance, retail, healthcare and (gasp) gambling. They’ve done a good job sharing customer case studies on their site which are definitely worth reviewing as part of your research. Their demo/quote process includes an audit of your current online review and overall listings presence, which may provide value even if you decide to work with a different provider.
Having Uberall manage your business listings ensures that all changes, from address updates to phone number alterations, are implemented quickly and simultaneously on multiple platforms. It works by generating a map of a business' service area, as well as optimizing its listings for global and regional directories. This helps businesses attract potential customers from both nearby locations and those further away, which may make this tool attractive to Enterprise-level companies with multiple physical locations. It’s no surprise then that their client list is internationally rich.
Whitespark is a leading listings management company that also provides a variety of additional local search tools which let you easily research, track, and manage local citations - including structured data markup. Their service is more manual than automated, with the average order taking 4 weeks to complete. Their one-time-fee model also includes the delivery of all created account information upon completion. With a deeper than average set of organic search engine optimization and reporting capabilities, a unique service model, and a distribution network focused on both global and regional directories, Whitespark is definitely worth a look.
With one of the most diverse citation networks around, Yext is a business listings tool that helps maintain accurate information across leading local search sites, social networks, maps, search engines and apps. Business owners can control how they appear across more than 100 digital services such as Apple Maps, Facebook, and Bing without needing to update information in multiple places and will quickly push any critical information updates out to hundreds of distributors. Yext is probably the best known local listings service, with a client list full of big brands.
Before we wrap things up, there’s one critical fact to be aware of: With many of these services, especially due to the technology behind the required citation distribution automation, your listings are unlikely to exist in perpetuity after a cancellation.
Simply put, if a service has created 25, 50 or 100+ listings for you, should you cancel that tool/service those citations are likely to be canceled, too. Providers rarely wear the details of what happens at the end of a contract on their sleeve. Whitespark, however, creates independent listings, with unique login info for each, which is shared with their customers after creation and a one-time fee. BrightLocal is another exception to the rule, as they clearly state:
“...we don’t… hold your listings to ransom — we give you full ownership of every listing we build, we even give you the keys to them (well, the Username and Passwords at least).”
Whether your local listings are deleted or automatically removed is therefore an important question any business will want to ask of a provider, before engagement, to avoid an unpleasant surprise down the road.
The services above are all viable options for managing your business listings and other facets of an online local presence. Whether through business listings management tools or specialized services, these various platforms offer an abundance of features for businesses to utilize and work to their advantage. This list is only meant as a shortcut or starting point, however, and additional research has to follow before any decision is made.
Regardless, if you aren’t planning to build and maintain local business listings internally, it’s important to look into and choose a related outsourced solution. Be sure to consider the size of their site and directory inventory, contract lengths, cost, and - especially - what happens to your listings should you cancel a tool or service.
A digital marketing dinosaur, my SEO career began in 1999 at one of Boston's first digital marketing agencies. Prior to becoming Widewail's Director of Search I had a long focus on GMB, reviews and local organic visibility for automotive dealerships in competitive locales. Regardless of a specific industry, this decade of experience was the perfect precursor for a role supporting our innovative Engage and Invite services. Originally from Canada, I enjoy hockey, Frank Sinatra, writing on a variety of subjects, old movies - and am the proud parent of a geriatric Boston Terrier. Customers, peers, or anyone with online review-related questions are encouraged to contact me, anytime.
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