Changes to Local Listing Management in 2019

Like any other aspect of SEO, your local listings can be affected by Google algorithm updates and other changes that can affect your local listing management. It is essential to keep abreast of all changes to make sure your business information remains consistent and updated across all platforms. Here are the latest changes to local listings management applications over the past few months and how they might affect your local SEO.

Google My Business

Google My Business is perhaps the most popular way to manage listings and control local SEO. Some of the most notable updates over the past few months include:

  1. Edits From Unverified Merchants

As of the end of September, business owners can suggest edits to their core business information directly from a GMB account, before they verify their information. Edits still go through a regular review process, but they allow business owners to ensure their business information is accurate before it goes live on Google Maps and Search.

  1. No More Distance-Based Service Areas

Some businesses were classified based on distance rather than a confirmed geographical area. Under the change, a business will reflect its closest named area, such as Houston, TX or Corktown, Detroit. Business owners have the option of reviewing the changes and accepting them or providing a new, more accurate service area. If you were affected by the change, you should have received an email about it in September.

  1. Garner Insights on Your Profile Through Google Maps

Google Maps now provides a new array on Insights, so you can check how often your profile is viewed and track how popular your business is on local listings, for both your current and potential customers. Use this information to find out where your gaps are and take action to convert more leads (or retain more current clientele).

  1. Reply to Reviews From Your (Android) Mobile App

If you have an Android phone, you’re in luck: thanks to a 2019 update, you can now respond directly to reviews on your Business profile directly from the Google Maps application for Android. If you want to respond to a review, you’ll have to be a manager or owner of a verified business.

  1. Bulk Review Viewing

Thanks to an update launched in 2019, you can now view reviews for multiple reviews at a time using the bulk review function. This allows business owners and managers to view, flag, and reply to reviews for multiple listings, all from a single place. If you have 500 or fewer locations, you can take advantage of this function. Note, however, that is not available for organization level accounts.

6.Site Manager Sign-Up Links for Business Profiles

Managing listings for multiple locations can present unique challenges. An update launched in August seeks to make it easier for franchise owners to manage all their location listings. Site managers now have the option to sign-up directly from their business profile. Keep in mind that to use this function, your business must be verified and all your profile information must be accurate and up to date. View the site manager link.

Yelp Updates 2019

Yelp is another essential aspect of your local listings management. The review website posted a couple of notable updates in 2019:

Introducing Yelp Connect

In September, Yelp launched a new tool called Yelp Connect, which allows restaurants to easily share updates and communicate with their customers. With this new launch, restaurants can take more steps to reach local diners who have previously interacted with their location via Yelp.

With the Connect function, restaurants can leverage their Yelp business page to publish content for prospective diners, including seasonal specials, happy hour information, and restaurant events. Anyone who views the business page has access to this information, and those who follow restaurants will receive weekly updates from places Yelp knows they are interested in. This provides a valuable opportunity for restaurant managers to interact with new and potential customers in new and exciting ways.

Yelp Business Page Upgrades

In June, Yelp launched a series of business page upgrades designed to help local customers engage with brands. Business Highlights, Portfolio and Yelp Verified License were all part of the update. This suite of tools is meant to address the common pain points that small business owners experience in working with Yelp. Business Highlights, for example, allow the business to post six “badges” that demonstrate what makes the business unique (choose from a directory of 30). Portfolio gives businesses the opportunity to showcase work they are currently working on (for example, and interior designer showcasing a stunning remodel). Finally, Yelp Verified License lets consumers know that businesses have a certified trade license so they can make more informed buying decisions.

Local listing management is an essential aspect of local SEO. Knowing about the recent updates to the most popular directories can help you better leverage tools that engage with current and potential customers. Vizion Interactive helps businesses improve their franchise SEO by leveraging a suite of tools – contact us today to learn more.