Mailbag Question: Do my business listings need to be constantly “managed” or can I update them once and let them be? Is there an advantage to business listing management and if so, what are the advantages?
Our Answer: Local listing management services are just an excuse to charge you more money for no to very little benefit.
And that’s how we’ll start off Local Business Marketing Mailbag #2!
Here we go!
There are services out there like Yext for example that tout the benefit of being able to update your listings at any time. Whereas other services like Local Listing Ninja (admittedly, our service) and other similar listing services out there update your listings for you once and that’s it.
Now, in a vacuum, if you had to choose between not having your listings managed and having them managed, we would all choose the latter. Unfortunately, ongoing listing management also means ongoing payments. If ongoing listing management was free, hip hip hooray! But since it’s not, and can also get quite expensive, we need to figure out if the benefits equal or outweigh the cost.
Is there really a benefit to having your listings “managed” or being able to change them whenever you want? And if so, is it worth paying for?
The simple answer is no, there is no benefit to having a company manage your listings constantly and I’ll explain what business listing management really is and why you don’t really need it.
What is local listing “management”?
What does having your business listings “managed” actually mean?
It more or less means you can change any of your business information at any time. Badabing, badaboom. It’s that simple.
So, then the question becomes, why would you ever really need to change your business information?
In talking with our customers, these are the three most common perceived benefits of local listing management:
- I can change my address if I move, my name if I rebrand, my phone if I change phones, or my website if I change websites
- I can change information to keep my listings “fresh” for Google which will help me increase my rankings
- I can change specials, offers, etc. on my listings to bring more local consumers into my business
But are these 3 benefits worth paying for?
There’s no reason to turn your listings “all around”. To be frank, you won’t need to change your listings that often (or ever) and it’s not a perk worth spending any amount of money on.
When was the last time you:
- Changed the name of your company
- Changed phone numbers
- Changed your website
Seriously, how often in the life of your business do you expect this to occur? If you’re like most businesses, probably never (although it is conceivable that it may happen once or twice). Do you really want to keep paying a company month after month for business events that happen every 5-10 years, if that?
Keeping you “fresh”
Changing your business listings to keep them “fresh” likely doesn’t help with rankings
Think about it.
You’re not going to change your name, address, phone, and website (NAPW), all the time, right? And you know how important NAPW consistency is. You know that if those elements (NAPW) are off even slightly, it is possible it can upset your ranking on Google, something you obviously don’t want. Google checks your business listings across the internet expecting to see the same name, address, phone, and website across your listings. They expect consistency in this department and they don’t expect those elements to really ever change.
So, why would they expect your description, photos, keywords, etc. to keep changing?
I don’t think that makes a lot of sense. I think if Google expects to see the core elements of your business listings the same, they expect to see the other elements the same as well.
Think about it logically (and yes, Google is very logical). If you were Google, would you expect a business to update their description, photos, keywords, etc. across possibly hundreds of sites on a monthly or yearly basis? Especially when that business is a local business? Knowing very well how busy local businesses are?
Yeah, I wouldn’t expect that either.
“Freshness” is a concept that extends from website optimization (an important factor of Local SEO by the way) and people have postulated that maybe Google looks at that for your business listings as well. For the reasons I mentioned above, I think that’s a big stretch. I also think freshness for website optimization, while important, is a little overrated currently. But that’s for another blog post.
I don’t believe keeping your local business listings “fresh” with ever changing business descriptions, photos, keywords, etc. helps with Google. In fact, because of Google’s expectancy for consistency in your business listings, you might be able to talk me into believing it could hurt your listings.
But that’s probably not true either 😉
What’s more than likely the case is it doesn’t matter at all.
Are you feeling lu— special?
Unfortunately, updating specials and offers on ALL of your business listings likely won’t help bring in extra traffic
Sometimes I hear from our customers that they want to update their specials, and offerings often, expecting it to drive traffic to the website.
Now, offers and special are great marketing tools. But only when they’re visible.
99% of consumers aren’t going to see most of the business listings you sign up for.
This 99 percentile is going to find you online through just 7 local business sites:
The other 60+ business listings you want to update your specials and offerings on actually won’t see the light of day from another human being. No one goes to oneyellow.com or opendi.us to find local businesses, specials, or deals. No one knows who those sites are.
As a quick aside though, don’t confuse the fact that these 60+ listings won’t be seen by a living, breathing consumer with the business listings being worthless. In fact, there’s nothing further from the truth. Because one entity will see them that. An entity that matters very much indeed…Google. And they will rank you higher for these obscure business listings even if no one ever sees them. The more business listings you’re on, the better.
If most of your 60+ other listings won’t be seen by another human being, then why would you need to update all of your business listings with specials? Why pay for that privilege? Why not just update the 7 they will see for…free?
I think that makes much more sense.
I was looking for a smooth transition to this conclusion but I couldn’t find one so I’m just going to abruptly bring this one to a close.
Honestly, local listing management services are just an excuse to charge you more money for no reason.
There’s no real justification to spending extra money on a service like this since it’s more or less useless.
Now, if the service is doing something beyond just letting you change your listings, like reputation management, review generation, adding new listings, etc. then that’s a different topic, but most services aren’t doing that.
Most local listing management services are charging you $500 a year just for the ability to change your listings.
And there’s no point in it.
If you have any follow up questions please post them in the comments below. We see your comments, respond to them, and may even ask your permission to turn them into our next Local Business Marketing Mailbag!