Business Listings Management: The What, Why and How

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Let’s say you’re a local business or a company with several locations. Is having people find and choose your business over the competition important? Yes, of course it is! And business listings management is a key component of that success. It’s not the most exciting aspect of your brand, but it’s still critical. So stick with us through this blog and we’ll talk you through the what, why and how of business listings management.

What Is Business Listings Management?

So, what exactly is this mouthful of a phrase? A business listing – or sometimes called a business citation – is a fancy name for the information about your business that appears online. You can also think of it like an online phone book (or is that just us, showing our age?).

At a minimum, your business listing should include your business Name, Address and Phone Number (NAP). It can also include more information like photos, logos, hours, appointment links and website links. Additionally, some citation sites let you share information and reviews.

Business Listing Example

People depend on these sites to find the right business when they need it (and you want to make sure they’re finding you!). There are several types of business citation sites. There are local business directories, national directories, niche directories, Google Maps and more. Some of the most popular sites include Google Maps (the king), Bing, Facebook, Yelp, Apple Maps, Yahoo, MapQuest,, among others.

There are also industry specific business listing sites. If you’re a real estate agent or lender, you’ll want to be on Zillow,,, etc. If you’re a doctor, you’ll want to be on sites like Zocdoc, Healthgrades and RateMDs.

Now that you know about business listings, we’ll explain the management part. Again, management is a way to describe publishing or getting your business listing (aka your business info/NAP) onto other websites.

So, Business Listings Management is when your business listing appears in the exact same format on as many online directories/websites as possible.

Each website has its own method for finding, claiming and updating a business listing. Typically, people use software to achieve this goal. Because, let’s be honest, who has time to manually update their business information across 50+ sites on a regular basis?

Why Does Business Listings Management Matter?

Business listings management is important to growing your business and establishing your online credibility with Google.

90% of experts say accurate listings across the web are important to local search rankings. Almost 70% of people said they’d stop using a business if they found incorrect information on website directories.

Accurate citations signal to Google and other search engines that your business information is trustworthy, which improves SEO. If your citation is consistent across multiple sources, it improves your opportunity to rank high in search results.  

In fact, according to Brightlocal, business citations are one of the top 5 factors for ranking in the Google Local Map Pack. It’s also the fourth most important factor for local organic search results.

As an aside, an optimized Google Business Profile is the top factor in appearing in that coveted Google Maps local pack spot!

Accurate business listings – and the improved SEO that comes with them – help you reach more local customers. For example, if someone is new to the area and looking for a real estate agent, you want to make sure you show up in a Google search and any potential local directory searches.

What is the most common way to find a local business or service? A quick Google or iPhone “near me” search (i.e., real estate agents near me). In fact, according to HubSpot, “near me” searches have grown 200%+ in the last few years.

When someone does a “near me” search you want to make sure you’re at the top of the results list. And business listings management – an often forgotten SEO tool – is key to that. Showing up on these business listing directories can be the deciding reason whether a potential customer reaches out to you or your competitor.

What Happens When Your Business Listing is Inaccurate, or Doesn’t Show Up at All?

It prevents potential customers from successfully reaching you. One study estimated that “nearly $10.3 billion worth of sales are lost every year because of wrong, missing or incomplete local listing information.”

It can also cause people to lose trust in your brand. Google Maps warns users if it thinks they’re headed to a closed location. Also, if Google sees that your information is incorrect or inconsistent, it will negatively impact your SEO ranking.

How Do You Effectively Manage Your Business Listings?

If you’ve read a few of our blogs, you may have guessed it ????. The first step is having an optimized Google Business Profile. Correctly setting up your NAP is the starting point for the rest of your business citation syndication across the web.

There Are Three Key SEO Factors When it Comes to Business Listings Management

Accuracy, Number of Listings, and Last Update Date. This is where a business listings management tool, like what we offer at Optimize5, can be very helpful.


When it comes to accuracy, even the subtlest differences can negatively impact your SEO ranking. Slight variations, like a misspelled road name or “St.” instead of “Street,” can confuse search engines.

How often do YOU confirm your business information is correct everywhere it appears on the internet? By the way, as of today, there are almost 2 billion websites!

Number of Listings

This also leads into factor number two: Number of listings. There isn’t a magic number across all industries, but more is better.

You want to first make sure you’re on the main, important ones: Google, Facebook, Yahoo, Bing, Yellow Pages, etc. From there, you want to be listed on the popular directories specific to your industry (this usually ranges from 20 – 40 sites).

You’ll then want to get on general citation lists. Brightlocal provides a list of the top 50 citation sites for the US. When working with our clients, we create between 40 and 60 listings, depending on the industry.

Last Update Date

Finally, SEO results consider the last time your business listing or citation was updated. If you haven’t updated your business information in months – or even years – Google can start to doubt your trustworthiness or relevance.

The thought of frequently updating your business listing information across dozens of sites can seem daunting. Again, that’s where we at Optimize5 can help! As part of our service, our software updates each of your business listings every month.

So Now What?

As you can see, business listings management is important to maintaining and promoting your business’s online presence. Without consistent and accurate information, it’s difficult for customers or search engines to find, verify and promote your business.

A great next step is to get a free online business scan to see how consistent your information is currently. From there, you can determine where you might need some help with your business citation syndication. Schedule your free 30-minute consultation with us today!

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