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February 27, 2023

How to Choose a Listings Management Service

When assessing all the tools and services out there that can help you maintain your business's listings across the web, here are the features to look for.

Today, 98% of consumers use the internet to find information about local businesses. This means your online listings are crucial to almost everyone researching your business. Since everyone is doing research online, it’s more important than ever to make sure your company's information on various business listings sites is accurate and up to date.

Maintaining and optimizing your business listings manually can be an arduous task. Your business is probably listed across 80+ sites, and updating each one by hand takes a long time, to say the least.

Maybe that’s why you’re here. You need a little help managing your citations.

When choosing a business listings management service, remember that the priority is the accuracy of listings across multiple platforms. At the end of the day, your listings should be Current, Complete, and Consistent.

There are several factors to consider about listings management vendors before deciding which is right for you, and we’ll discuss these along with the main questions you should be asking your potential business listings management vendors.

How Big is my Listings Project?

The first thing you’ll want to consider when deciding who to trust with your listings is the extent to which you need assistance. Depending on the number of locations and listings you need to manage, you can choose a vendor based on whether you need a one-time listings checkup or ongoing business listings management.

Companies managing multiple stores, each potentially with dozens of listings, will have a different challenge than a single store looking to update basic information on their listings. While some businesses are looking for a service that will monitor and update listings over time, others might just be seeking a service to make a single, one-time update or change.

Some business listings management services cater to one-and-done listings updates with a one-time fee.

Consider using a listings tool with a one-time offering if:

  • You’re looking for a one-time, comprehensive clean-up of your listings
  • You only need to make one major change (like an address change) across all listings
  • You are comfortable going back to manually monitoring and editing your listings yourself afterward

*Important note: Some listing management services will offer month-to-month billing, but will revert all of the listing updates you made through their platform if you cancel your membership with them. Make sure to confirm if this is the case when vetting a listings management company.

Turn to a monthly managed service instead if:

  • You manage multiple stores, each with dozens of listings (some tools require a pay-per-listing, and multiple stores would add up quickly)
  • You need regular monitoring of listings for duplicates, errors, etc.
  • You expect to make more changes to your listings in the future – think temporary adjustments to hours, logo updates, etc.
  • You want listings management to work in tandem with a wider reputation management suite

Features to Consider

Many listings management services offer a baseline set of features such as the ability to make updates to your name, address, phone number (NAP), hours, and website URL. If a listings service does not have these basic abilities, it isn’t worth your time.

The differences between listings management services come down to the details. When combing through the nitty-gritty of different service offerings, look closely at the following factors.

Making Updates

How easy is it to make updates to your listings? Look for a vendor that allows you to make updates yourself, at any time, rather than one that requires a phone call during business hours to make the changes. You know your data better than anyone and you should be able to make updates yourself as soon as you need to. An intuitive software should let you push changes from one central dashboard in as few clicks as possible. Changes should also be synced across sites right away so that prospective customers see the correct information as soon as possible.

Listings Optimization

Optimizing listings is crucial to increased online visibility and helps boost revenue. Prioritize vendors that offer wider listings optimization features. Look for services that allow you to include photos and videos, seed your Google Q&A, and make other strategic listings choices. These include helping you select the most advantageous primary category and creating multi-department GBPs if you wish.

Keeping your listings correct and up-to-date is the bare minimum of best practices. Optimizing them over time is how you get your business found easier online and convert more searchers to customers.

Distribution Network

Accurate and complete listings distributed to a broad network tend to have higher visibility and increased customer engagement. Think about what your most important listings are: maybe Google, Apple, Bing, or industry-specific sites. Is the vendor you’re considering integrated with the listings websites you rely on most? If they aren’t yet integrated, are they willing to try to set up an integration?

Customer Support

A sometimes overlooked yet crucial aspect of a listings management vendor is the customer service they offer. What does their customer support look like? It can be hard to determine this based on a vendor’s website, but try digging into their online reviews. What do their clients say about them?

Your listings are important, and you need to trust a team willing to go above and beyond for you and your online presence. You need a responsive team that’s always there to answer your questions and even proactively advises you on areas where you can be more successful with their service. A listings management service is only as good as the team supporting it.

Onboarding / Canceling

Ask potential vendors what the onboarding process looks like. It should be as hands-on or hands-off as you want it to be. If you prefer to hit the ground running and make changes to your listings immediately, the vendor should be able to match your pace. Similarly, if you have lots of questions throughout the onboarding process, the team should be willing to support you.

If you choose to cancel your listings service, it’s important to ask whether the updates you’ve made to your listings over your time will revert back to how they were before hiring the team. Some listings management services only allow you to “rent” your listings and, if you cancel, all your hard work and updates will revert back to the listings’ original state. This is bad. Prioritize vendors that make it clear you own your listings and won’t punish you if you choose to go separate ways with them.

Reputation Management

Listings accuracy is important, but there are other elements that boost your business’s online visibility. When vetting vendors, consider whether they offer a wider array of reputation management services like review generation, review response, and maybe even video testimonial collection.

Without good reviews, and a consistent influx of them, the accuracy of your listings doesn’t mean anything. Your business simply won’t show up in search results. Search engine algorithms have made reviews an invaluable factor in online visibility.

With that in mind, consider pairing a listings management solution with review solicitation or review response services. Trusting your business listings services vendor with your online reviews and review responses is the key to holistically improving your online presence. Not only should you focus on listings accuracy, but also prioritize getting more reviews and increasing your rating across multiple business listings sites.

Curious about how to set up a reputation management strategy for your business that includes listings management? Download our Reputation Management Playbook today.

Key Takeaways:

  1. If you’re looking for a one-time, thorough clean-up of your listings, opt for a listings management tool rather than a monthly listings management service.
  1. Most listings management services offer a similar set of basic features. Choose a listings management service based on whether they can help you truly optimize your listings and make strategic listings decisions.
  1. Customer support can make or break your experience with a listings management vendor. Don’t overlook a lesser-known business that prioritizes customer service.
  1. Listings management should be one aspect of a larger reputation management strategy. Consider hiring a vendor that offers a full suite of reputation management products to build a top-ranking online reputation.

Keaton Smith

I’m a writer, philosopher, climber, mountain biker, and a fried-egg enthusiast. Before joining Widewail as a Review Response Specialist, I attended Middlebury College and studied Philosophy and Art History. I grew up in Michigan, but I fell in love with Vermont while in school.

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