Well Google, looks like you’ve got the week off! Today I’m all fired up about the hot mess that is Yahoo Local Listings. Why am I so annoyed, you’re wondering? Well, let me tell you a story…
As you may know if you’ve read my other posts, we work with clients in a variety of internet disciplines, including Local Search. It is really interesting work and also the kind of thing that can make a real difference quickly, especially for small businesses who are struggling with the current state of SEO or who simply don’t have the budgets to really play in the PPC arena. Enter local search, which for our purposes, starts with of claiming and/or creating listings on the various directory sites and through the major search engine’s local listings. Sounds simple, right? Sadly, if you have incorrect listings on Yahoo Local, it is anything but.
We work with a client that has a ton of telephone tracking telephone numbers that they have used for many years to help them better track where business comes from and how profitable that business is by source. Great for internal use, not so good for local search if those numbers get into the data stream. None of these tracking numbers are supposed to be published, and yet they have escaped into the wild, resulting in a ridiculous number of duplicate and incorrect listings all across the internet. Seems like it should be easy enough to fix – find the listings, claim them and close them.
Here is what happens when those listings are on Yahoo Local
There is no easy way to claim them. As an example, I did a search for “plumber lancaster pa” and clicked on a random listing in the Yahoo Local section of the search results – do you see a link anywhere on this obviously unclaimed and incomplete listing a link to CLAIM IT?
You’re not missing the link, it is not there.
How do you fix incorrect or duplicate listings on Yahoo Local?
So what do you do if you find one or more listings for your business or your client’s business on Yahoo Local and you want to claim it? Good luck. If you are able to actually get that listing to show up in your dashboard (which is almost impossible), getting it verified is even worse. I was working with a different client on this last week and we tried 4 times to do the telephone verification and EVERY time, it said we had an invalid code. His listing is still not claimed. We opted for the postcard (a second attempt to get the code this way, after the first request resulted in no postcard) and are waiting, but not really expecting a postcard to arrive. So his listing is not claimed either.
Back to my client with all of the phone numbers – when I log in to the Yahoo Small Business dashboard for them, it says that we have “services for 54 businesses”. Terrific! We want to close 53 of those so we only have one listing… Oh wait, there are only 10 in the actual account?!? Turns out, if there are listings for your business on Yahoo Local that you did not create (or have an agency create for you) you have to figure out where that data comes from and make the 3rd party stop sending it to Yahoo (emphasis mine in graphic).
YOU have to find the source of the listing & make it stop
So, let me get this straight Yahoo – if you are showing incorrect listings under YOUR Yahoo Local umbrella, I can’t claim them easily, if at all and even if I can, if I did not create the original listing through your services, it is MY job to figure out where that data is coming from to get it removed? You have got to be kidding me. If you are going to contract out your local listings, then you need to have some indication of where the listing’s source is.
I have worked with the big data providers, trying to clean up listings for clients, and I can tell you that they are very evasive when you ask which sites are populated with their data. Let’s not even mention that Yext is a paid service that is powering Yahoo’s paid local listing option and if you buy this service, once you cancel it your listings “revert” to whatever they were before you bought the service. Or that YP gets its data from more than one data source, but again will not tell you what all of those data sources are.
This is a very serious issue for businesses, especially with SEO being so difficult right now and PPC becoming out of reach for a lot of businesses. Google has issues with their local listings too (see my rant about their Maps results) but at least they have a local support team (that you can talk to even!) that really does try to help you solve listing issues. Yahoo not only has an unbelievably horrible service, there is literally NO WAY to get any help from them in solving what can be a huge problem with local listings.
I guess we should all thank our lucky stars that Yahoo’s traffic numbers are so terrible!