The meaning of business listings management in its simplest form is managing your business information on online directories.
That means you’re actively:
- Creating directory listings for your business (if they don’t exist).
- Making sure the information about your business is always accurate and consistent.
- Keeping them fresh with new information about your business and always adding relevant new information.
As you can see business listings management is important and involves more than simply creating listings and being done with it. There’s an ongoing process of updating, posting new information, and reviewing your progress.
The single most important directory to list and manage your business is Google My Business. Google has the largest share of the search market by far and that means your business listing is the most important there.
Of course, even Google pulls information from all over the internet. That and they rank your business based on many different factors including how well your business is established online. That includes other business directories.
Now for the details behind the meaning of business listings management. There are three parts to this.
- Certain information needs to be managed.
- Information needs to be managed on certain directories.
- Directories to list your business will vary depending on many factors about your business.
Let’s dig into each different part of your business listings on online directories.
Business Information To Manage
There are many pieces of information about your business to manage. There’s the primary information which is the NAP (I’ll get to that) and then secondary information which varies from directory to directory.
Let’s start with the NAP.
NAP (aka Name, Address, Phone)
This is as simple as an acronym that stands for Name, Address, and Phone Number. It really is that simple.
Your NAP should be consistent across all directories and always accurate. There’s nothing worse than one piece of information being off which can lose you a lot of trust with potential customers.
Accuracy is essential down to the format of your street address and business name too.
These two are different and are likely to affect your overall ranking.
101 Main Street
101 Main St.
That’s not all you have to take into account, though. If you’re a professional with a title after your name, that needs to be 100% consistent across all directories.
If you are Jack Thomas DDS then it should be listed that way everywhere. Jack shouldn’t have Jack Thomas DDS in one directory and Jack Thomas Doctor of Dental Surgery in another directory.
Consistency and accuracy is essential.
That’s so important I’m going to say it again… Consistency and accuracy are essential.
There’s a lot more than just the NAP though. Every directory is different and many of them accept a lot of information beyond just the NAP. In fact, few of them only accept the NAP.
The more information you include in your listings the better off you will be.
Secondary Listing Information
Consistency isn’t necessarily as important in the secondary information but you should at least stay somewhat consistent to your overall brand.
Accuracy is still essential, though. There’s nothing worse than providing innaccurate information to your customers.
- Description (unique descriptions are awesome especially in more popular directories)
- Photos (keep posting photos, don’t ever stop)
- Hours (accuracy here is extremely important!)
- License #
The list of secondary items that you can often input and update on directories varies a great deal. Each directory is different too which can make it difficult and unpredictable to updates. That’s one reason it’s best to use business listings management software. Even services that create listings for you will quickly be outdated.
Tweaking and testing your listings is nearly impossible given the shear number of directories out there.
How many directories are there?
Let’s take a look at some of the main directories.
Directories To Manage Your Business On
There are honestly too many directories to count and many of them aren’t easily accessible without a management tool like Yext (which our business listings management app uses with more features than they offer of course). Yext has put together so many deals with directory services that you can’t directly manage your listings through them.
For those directories which aren’t easy to modify your listing on, there are two ways you’re likely to be able to manage it.
- Business listing aggregator
- Business listings management software
You can try to do it all manually but this will prove to be an uphill battle. If you do it manually, we recommend sticking to the most important business listings and writing off the others as a lost cause (not a good long-term solution).
Here are the main directories you should do manually:
We’ve put together a list of business directories that are possible to get your business listed on without too much trouble. This list is only a fraction of directories though as the rest of them make it difficult to add or manage your business without management software or data aggregators.
The main two methods of listing your business deserve a bit more detailed information.
Local Data Aggregators
If you’re not using any listings management software then submitting to the local data aggregators is essential whether you’re listing yourself or not. The reason for that is many directories are impossible to get into without using an aggregator or management software. This is the only way to ensure your business even makes it to many of the business directories on the internet.
These are the big local data aggregators that you need to submit your business to. You aren’t going to make this all happen for free, you’ll have to spend some money to get your business out there.
Acxiom(they’re retiring directory and local search products at the end of 2019)
That will take care of many of the directories out there as they almost all pull part or all of their data from these sources. You won’t have direct control of your data and it may take some time to get it updated, but it’s a good start.
Better than doing nothing.
Business Listings Management
This is by far the best method to ensure your business is listed consistently and accurately all the time. Not only that but it allows you to easily update your information and constantly add to it.
Fresh listings that are updated regularly adds to your authority and trust in search engines which inevitably leads to higher rankings in searches for your business.
Ultimately it comes down to giving your customers a better experience with your business from consistency to accuracy. They’ll find you more and have a better experience doing business with you.
Of course you still have to deliver great service.
Yext is the most well-known platform for managing listings. They have the most robust network of directories that they tie into which is why we chose to partner with them with our business listings management software, Local Reach.
Of course, because we’re a partner they give us (and our clients) access to more features than direct clients through Yext software.
There are other listings management software which often are cheaper but you are giving up many benefits that will help you in the long run. Some alternatives are tools from BrightLocal, Moz Local, and Whitespark.
Beyond just the directories themselves are the different ways to manage different types of businesses.
Types Of Businesses To Manage
This section will cover two different topics on the types of business to manage.
Industry isn’t too hard to cover because it’s as simple as saying there’s a huge variety. For every business there will be a core list of directories to be listed on. Those are places like Google My Business and Yelp.
If you have a local location then you need to be listed on all of them. If you’re a service area business then you need to be listed on most of them.
We’ve put together many blog posts on specific directories major industries should be listed on. These posts are by no means exhaustive on the many different industries but we’re adding to the list regularly.
Now for size which will vary from single location businesses to multi-location businesses.
Small Single Location Businesses
If you’re a single location business then it’s not too difficult to manage your business on at least the major directories. You don’t have to figure out a structure nor do you have to give different levels of access to different people based on their location.
Just create a listing and keep it updated, simple.
Large Multi-Location Businesses
Things get a lot more complex when you start adding locations on and maybe have different managers for each one. They’ll likely want to manage their own listings and update content on their own so it’s more relevant to their location.
Even if you just want to stick with the basic directories, that can quickly get out of hand with a multi-location business. It’s absolutely necessary to manage your listings through a management service that lets you do it all from one location.
Without a tool to manage it all, the results will be unruly.
The Meaning of Your Business
Of course we all know the meaning of our business. It’s to give us a means to live our life and feel fulfilled, right?
It does take a myriad of tools to make sure our business runs smoothly and we have new customers flowing to us all the time. One of the most important tools that will help you do that in your local small business marketing strategy is a business listings management tool.
Managing your business online and making sure new customers find you is essential to the meaning of your business. It could be the most valuable tool in making sure you have a steady flow of customers.