A year and a half after Moz’s acquisition of GetListed, David Mihm’s local listings baby has finally burst out of the womb. Business listings management is one of the trickiest aspects of local SEO and David has long been focused on trying to simplify the process for SMBs. So let’s see what Moz Local can do for you out of the gate:
Price: $49 per year per location ($84/location starting Oct. 1, 2014)
The heart of the service is business listings data submission to the main local business listing data aggregators (these guys definitely need an acronym):
- Neustar Localeze
It’s interesting that in his announcement post David lists Foursquare as a data aggregator, which I suppose it is in some way, but, well that’s for another post.
Moz Local also allows you to claim/update a listing on the following local directory sites:
- Best of the Web Local
Where they don’t have a relationship with the publisher (e.g. YP.com, Yelp or Facebook), Moz Local crawls the site and provides links to those sites to update out of whack profiles. According to David, they will be rolling out more publishers in the Spring and Summer.
The site has very simple interface. Here’s how it works:
- Search for your business using the name and zip:
- Select the most accurate listing in the results:
- Check for “Completeness”, Inconsistencies and Duplicates
The system basically looks for things like whether or not you have a photo on a specific profile, the wrong phone #, different business name, etc. You can easily scroll over the bar for each site and see what the issue is, or you can click on the different tabs to get a list view.From this interface, you can then purchase a “listing” and submit the updated data along with various enhanced content such as hours of operation, categories, etc.The tool also provides a csv template to upload multiple locations. The csv is formatted to match the Google+ Local data format. I particularly like the “category override” option where you can specify a category that is not offered by Google to override the standard categories. And the tool has a nice UI to allow you to search Google’s categories. Alas, you can’t use “SEO consultant” as an override 🙁
Some random thoughts/answers to questions:Can Moz Local Really Fix Duplicates? Not Really Yet
I was psyched to see the “Duplicates” tab. Squashing dupes is one of the tougher tasks in local SEO. While it’s great that Moz Local helps you identify the dupes at the different publishers and aggregators, it still doesn’t actually allow you to squash them. It merely offers links to the publishers’ sites to ask them to squash them. The industry still needs a more automated way to do this across publishers and aggregators. David tells me this is “coming very soon”. In my trials I found Moz Local’s dupe-matching algo missed a fair amount of dupes, but David assured me they are working “with a number of local experts” on improving that system. IT IS CRITICAL THAT YOU KNOW ABOUT YOUR DUPE LISTINGS AT THE DATA AGGREGATORS BEFORE YOU USE THIS TOOL ELSE IT COULD CREATE NEW DUPES.Photos & ReviewsThe tool displays photos and reviews associated with a business. It also allows you to connect images from your website with your listings. I didn’t see the ability to upload photos. This feature feels a bit tacked on at the moment, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this morphs into a more robust tool for managing this data.Real Time Updates
According to David, the only real-time or near real-time updates occur on Factual and Foursquare. Real time does not appear to be a focus for Moz Local at this point.Verification
In order to update a listing, the NAP data must match a business’ Google+ Local page or its Facebook page. While this won’t prevent spammers from hijacking listings via ML, it does mean they have to hijack your G+L or Facebook pages first. A potential downside of this system is that you can’t implement tracking numbers through the service unless they match your G+L or Facebook phone numbers.Do Listings Get Overwritten Upon Cancellation?
Based on my discussions with David, it sounds like the listing data will stick at the publisher site level as long as the publisher doesn’t do anything to overwrite it, which as you may know from experience is very likely to happen. While it’s good that ML helps you get the data right at the aggregator level, that’s still not insurance that the data will stick at the publisher level. Of more concern is the following statement from the FAQ about what happens when you cancel a listing :“Moz Local will simply report to the sites in our network that the listing is no longer under management by one of our customers. In this event, Acxiom and Neustar Localeze will revert your listings to their status prior to your Moz Local subscription.“
This means if you had bad data before you used Moz Local, you’ll have bad data when you cancel, and you’ll potentially have different data coming out of the different aggregators, which could be a big issue for you Google Local rankings. I guess this is no different than the problem you had before you used Moz Local, and you could argue that getting the data right at InfoGroup and Factual could be better than what you started with, but seems like there’s no need to “revert” back at the aggregator level. I am guessing this is driven by Neustar Localeze and Acxiom rules, but it is not ideal. I hope that Moz and the aggregators figure this out. If Google is looking at your business data at a meta-level, this has the potential to take your rankings back to square one upon cancellation. Moz’s assumption appears to be that Google trusts InfoGroup more than the other aggregators.
What Happens If You Have Already Claimed A Profile At a Publisher Site?
You will not be able to update your profile on SuperPages via ML if you have already claimed it on SuperPages.
Final Thoughts…For Now
Moz Local appears to have the makings of a great tool for managing your core business listings data at the aggregator level. While the tool is still in its early days, it’s functionality, simple UI and compelling price point make it easy to recommend for basic updating of NAP data at the data aggregator level. It still needs some fine-tuning in its dupe and inconsistencies detection, but I would expect this to be solved in Moz Local 1.1 or 1.2.
The tool also provides another handy free citation research tool to help detect dupes and other issues. I can see this quickly becoming one of the more useful Moz tools out there and it should be interesting to watch it develop.
Congrats to David Mihm and his team at Moz! Check out Moz Local here.