Corey Barnett – Search Engine Land News On Search Engines, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) & Search Engine Marketing (SEM) Wed, 30 Nov 2016 15:38:16 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.5.3 Removing duplicates in Yext: still a hands-on process /removing-duplicates-yext-still-hands-process-260820 Wed, 30 Nov 2016 15:38:16 +0000 http:/?p=260820 Columnist Corey Barnett explains that if you plan to use Yext to suppress duplicate local listings, you should first understand the strengths and weaknesses of the platform.

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A recent case study by Yext shows the impact of duplicate listings on local rankings in Google. Coordinated by local search expert Andrew Shotland, the core research evaluates Yext duplicate suppression for a national restaurant chain.

I’m not here to dispute the research or results. Having consistent NAP (name, address and phone number) has long been regarded as a priority for local businesses. However, there are limitations to using Yext for finding and removing duplicates.

Launched in June of 2014, duplicate listing suppression has been a selling point for the Yext platform. Different from deletion, suppression redirects search engines and customers to the correct information on a particular website. The suppression happens as long as a client or the agency is a paid subscriber to Yext.

Full disclosure: I am Yext-certified and currently manage 60 unique clients in Yext. It is a powerful platform and useful for scaling citation management. Yet when it comes to duplicate suppression, there are many areas where Yext can improve.

The platform isn’t created to find all duplicates

Doing a Yext Scan is a fun way to show clients all the issues with their local listings. But it isn’t set up to show multiple duplicates for a single citation, and it includes only 53 sites. It appears to me that Yext cherry-picks to create a report with the goal of showing as many mistakes as possible.

Once client details are added to Location Manager and PowerListings have started to sync, Yext will crawl online for duplicates. The possible duplicates tab are those Yext has automatically found in their network.

duplicate listings

The platform does look for name, address and phone duplicates, although it isn’t comprehensive. Yext especially has difficulties where a business name has changed or is using multiple assumed names. Data where only the phone or only the address is a match to a duplicate business are frequently missed.

A user of Yext can also submit duplicates through the platform, which is a common occurrence. Yext requires a URL of the duplicate, but what happens next is where the platform could really be improved.

remove duplicates yext

Not all duplicates can be suppressed

A client of mine had two duplicates in CitySearch, which Yext didn’t find and required manual submission. A month later, the duplicates were still not flagged in the system.

Sometimes, Yext reveals which duplicates are being processed, and other times it doesn’t. Even worse, it can sometimes tell you a duplicate is being suppressed when it isn’t. For the same client, two duplicates in Superpages were shown in Yext as being suppressed. However, these listings were still live on Superpages and being crawled by Google.

suppression error

Another option is to submit duplicates to Yext support. Below is a quote from a support agent, on my request to remove duplicates for a client that purchased a previously used phone number.

“The listings that only match the phone number do not follow our 2/3 guidelines. We are not able to submit another business’ listing for suppression. It is the responsibility of that business to correct the phone number on their listings if they are no longer using it.”

Yext does not suppress at the source

Not all local citations are included in the Yext PowerListings Network. Even sites in the network, such as Factual, don’t allow for duplicate suppression. A user is still required to submit a manual duplicate ticket for Factual.

In addition to Factual, data aggregators Express Update/InfoUSA, Neustar Localeze, Axciom and Dun & Bradstreet are excluded from the Yext network. These are often the source of duplicates in Yext and many other sites online.

An SEO consultant should still catalog correct and incorrect NAP in a spreadsheet and check Google and important citations for more duplicates. Moz Local can be used to scan data aggregators.

Yext could be pushing incorrect data

It doesn’t happen as often, but there are some scenarios where Yext could be pushing duplicate and inaccurate data.

The first is not having access to an existing Yext account. An existing PowerListing subscription could be sending incorrect data. You will not be able to add a location to a second Yext account until it is removed from the original.

For removal, Yext tends to require permission from the account owner. I have been unsuccessful at this in a few cases. One was for an HVAC client partnered with Lennox, which automatically subscribes all authorized dealers to a PowerListings subscription. Unfortunately, Lennox required that a tracking phone number and their own landing page be published in place of the client’s local number and website.

The second scenario is NAP accuracy. Yext has some checks on the data entered in Location Manager, but it doesn’t check against a business license or a registered office address. In a recent test, I was able to add a company twice to the PowerListings Network, but with a different phone number.

Despite these flaws, Yext is still in my arsenal for local listing management. If you choose to use Yext to suppress duplicates, understand the strengths and gaps in using the platform to do so.

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Local SEO: Become the voice online for your market /local-seo-become-the-voice-online-for-your-market-249085 Mon, 16 May 2016 14:30:54 +0000 http:/?p=249085 How can you improve online visibility for your local business? Columnist Corey Barnett advises producing content of interest to your community, even if it's not directly related to your business.

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When it comes to local content marketing, too many businesses fall into the trap of self-promotion, writing solely or primarily about their products and services. Or worse, their blog is rarely updated, or it’s full of filler content that only serves to boost search rankings. Rarely does this approach translate into engaged visitors or traction on social media.

Instead, it’s worth writing about what your audience cares about: your local community! Where you sell and who you sell to are more important than what you’re selling.

The local long-tail opportunity

Here’s an example. A local insurance agency I work with has long ranked in the first position organically and in the local map pack for most of their services. They sell auto, home, life, health and business insurance. This client also has a positive reputation online, earning rave reviews on Google and Facebook.

However, they weren’t gaining followers on social media, and website visitors were stagnant. Despite ownership of their industry’s most competitive keywords, the market was small. In a city of 250,000, only a handful of residents were actively looking for their services in Google.

So we started to write about what locals cared about. For the past two years, we’ve done a list article on all the reasons their city is the best place to live. In some months, it even outpaces traffic on the home page.

Top Traffic

The Top 10 Pages on a Local Insurance Agency Website (Jan to May 2016)

Takeaways

  • Four of the top 10 most popular pages have nothing to do with their services.
  • 35 percent of traffic is coming from blog posts focused on their community.
  • 44 percent of traffic is coming from the blog.

Other articles we’ve written include activities to do outdoors, where to propose in their city and the truth about local crime. The formula is to write blog content aligned with your audience and location, even if it doesn’t directly align with your service. These topics would work for most cities and consumer-facing businesses.

Competition abounds

BuzzFeed, Thrillist and other sites are becoming known for generating the type of content that goes viral on social media and gets read and shared. In recent years, these sites have localized their content.

BuzzFeed Localization

Results on “Ann Arbor, Michigan” from BuzzFeed.com

Here’s the thing: The writers for these posts often don’t live in the communities they write on. Additionally, they rarely write about small cities and barely scratch the surface with a few generic topics.

Perhaps a local newspaper, local magazine or news site is generating this type of content in your community. Even so, their articles are probably behind a paywall, stuffed with ads and slow to load on mobile.

Real estate is a prime example of an industry applying this formula to scale. Movoto.com is among the top 10 most-visited real estate websites. It was founded in 2005 but has grown in popularity due to an aggressive approach to localized blog content. Articles include “best of” listicles and niche rankings like the most boring cities in America.

Chances are, Movoto is attracting thousands of visitors each month in your local market — on a blog post you could have written.

Write about your community

Apply this approach with your audience and location. Think beyond what you sell — write on challenges, opportunities and changes facing your local community.

It doesn’t always have to be a blog post. For a real estate agent in Ann Arbor, doing an interview with the owner of a craft beer bar is the same formula. Beer has nothing to do with real estate, but it has everything to do with a demographic she wants to reach in her local market.

Here are more examples aligned with common businesses in any city.

  1. Nursing home: We Interviewed the Oldest Living Residents of [insert county], Here’s What We Learned
  2. Accountant: 2016 Biggest Employers in [insert city] Ranked by Employees & Revenue
  3. Restaurant: 5 Ingredients to Forage Near [insert city]
  4. Auto mechanic: The Perfect Road Trip Through [insert city]
  5. Boutique shop: The Best-Dressed Fans at [insert local college football team]

Even if loosely aligned with your product/service, these topics are sure to please your community and audience.

Write about timely issues that affect your audience + location

Timeliness is something we’ve all heard is important in content marketing. Amp up the formula by taking an issue that strongly aligns with your audience today!

For example, I’ve taken several controversial topics on politics and spun it for my insurance client with their perspective.

  1. How Will Open Carry Affect Insurance & Liability for Texas Businesses?
  2. What Happens to Obamacare if Cruz or Trump Is Elected?
  3. What Happens to Health Insurance if Clinton or Sanders Is Elected?
Healthcare_Clinton-vs-Sanders-768x401

I realize now that many of these articles are questions, but that’s just another tactic to generate discussion! A second tactic is partnering with a local business. On the first article, we provided a balanced perspective from a personal injury lawyer and my insurance client. Involving another author doubles the exposure and boosts credibility.

On the last two articles, a slew of comments followed on Facebook. Not all of it was positive. One commenter literally asked what Clinton and Trump have to do with insurance! Truthfully, the winner of the 2016 election will dramatically affect health insurance. Just as if Cruz was elected, abolishing the IRS would affect accountants, and Trump would affect any business that imports or export products.

Tread carefully, but realize you do have the freedom to share your opinion. You can also write neutrally about these topics, sharing an industry perspective, yet hiding personal beliefs.

Promote your content & measure the impact

Over time, articles that follow this formula can rank for many long-tail search terms and boost average time on site. I call this “first impression” content since they become popular landing pages. Such content also targets a prospect at the beginning stage of the buying cycle.

That’s an important stage to write for. It’s similar to building brand visibility through a TV commercial, radio ad or display ad. With this content, you’re able to attract engaged visitors to your blog. You may find these types of posts have high exit rates. You can improve conversion by adding a pop-up lead form and improve time on site by featuring similar articles on your community in the sidebar.

popup-opt-in-form-content-marketing-institute

This content is also in a good position to be pitched to local newspapers and magazines, increasing referral traffic and earning backlinks.

Finally, it can easily go viral when promoted on social media. Create a good image and promote the article on Facebook or LinkedIn, depending on your audience.

Layer “first impression” content into your editorial calendar and combine it with timeliness to make it extra relevant. In a few months, you’ll realize content that follows this formula is low-hanging fruit, ripe and ready to be eaten!

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