A Solution for Keeping Your Online Business Listings Up to Date

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This story appears in the November 2014 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

When Nathan Corliss took over as marketing manager of Las Vegas-based Walters Group in August 2013, his job was hard enough. He was managing two auto groups on the East and West coasts and two championship golf courses in Las Vegas. By early 2014, the company had expanded to 20 locations, and his job became almost impossible. 

Corliss soon found himself devoting several hours each day to blindly checking review sites and updating and monitoring business listings across multiple online directories. His concern, however, was making sure people could find his businesses online. “My biggest fear was someone doing a search for one of our dealers, and then stumbling onto a dead link or, worse, a competitor’s link,” he says.

The fix

Corliss knew that submitting and updating his businesses’ information across a range of online directories would drive SEO, build credibility among search engines and boost rankings. For help, he signed up with Yext, a New York City-based service that allows companies to update multiple directory listings at one time.

Corliss pays Yext roughly $50 per location per month for online directory aggregation and updating, as well as review monitoring. “It’s a bargain in my mind,” he says.

Now, whenever he needs to make a change to his online directories, he fires off an e-mail to his Yext account manager, who updates the listings, usually within 24 hours. Yext’s reputation monitoring system immediately alerts Corliss to any review that references a Walters Group entity.

The results

Before Yext, Corliss was lucky to find enough time to get to 10 core directories whenever he had to update a business’s information. Now, one e-mail to Yext updates information on more than 50 directories. 

When it came to tracking reviews and responding to negative ones, the best he could manage in the past was checking on a business once a week. “If I didn’t time it well, I wouldn’t catch a bad review for a week,” he says. “Now I see those reviews pop up immediately on one dashboard. With Yext as a fail-safe, I literally sleep better at night.”  

A second opinion

“There are hundreds of ranking factors that are used to decide the search results for each particular search query,” says Nyagoslav Zhekov, director of local search at Edmonton, Alberta-based local SEO and software development firm Whitespark. “However, it is commonly agreed that consistency of citations, or in this case online business listings, is one of the most important factors.”

The problem, according to Zhekov, is that few directories allow a marketing manager to automatically change or update listings for tens to hundreds of business locations at once. “That’s why tools such as Yext are handy,” he says.

But Zhekov cautions that Yext isn’t a one-stop shop. “Yext still covers only a small portion of the local search eco-system,” he says. To cover your bases, “you’d still need to do some manual work with at least three other services: Infogroup, Localeze and Acxiom. And if you’ve rebranded, relocated or renamed your business, Yext’s search tool won’t always find the listings with outdated information that need to be fixed.”      

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