Are the second tier local directories significant? Where's the traffic data?


consultant

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My opinion, from the aspect of what users actually use to find/locate local businesses...

First Tier: Google, Apple, Bing, Yahoo and I'd even venture to add in a distant 5th but still top tier is YELP!

There are a Gazillion what I would call "Second Tier" like: Super/Yellow Pages, Merchant Circle, City Search, Local.com you name it.

Now some would argue that being on many of these second tier directories can help your SEO in general. I can't agree with that, nor disagree because (a) I've seen no proof, and (b) it is my personal opinion that the major search engines have evovled to consider these sites insignificant in their algorithm (It's not like the old days when getting on DMOZ was criticial.) So lets disregard the SEO aspect for the purpose of this particular thread, that's not what I'm asking about.

With that being said, I am surprised (or maybe I shouldn't be) that it is very difficult to find any recent, reliable data showing traffic source statistics for local search intent.

It's probably safe to say Google will be top both local and non-local, whether someone is looking for a local plumber or a deal on a vacation cruise. But what about just local intent? What do users use and how much traffic are those sites actually generating. How far behind Google is Bing, Yahoo, and Apple on being the source for local search intent? Is it the same breakdown as ANY search intent?

But more importantly, how do the second tier sites stack up? Are the traffic statistics for something like SuperPages.com essentially a joke when compared to Google and the others? Are they just mainly deriving revenue selling advertising to a small number of business owners that still think there's good ROI advertising with these legacy brands? (They probably also are the same people with Yellow Page books in a cabinet below their landline rotary dial phone.)

I suppose if there were a lot of studies and articles painting a bleak picture regarding these directories it would make it harder for them to sell the advertising and also make the services of some of the directory submission site look less valuable. Is the reality that you are 99% covered as far as user exposure as long as you've Got a Google+, Bing/Yahoo Places, and Apple Maps Connect listing? If these other directories matter as far as traffic (not SEO), where's the data to back that up?
 

DanLeibson

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I don't think many people are saying that they matter in terms of referral traffic to your website. But they do seem to somewhat matter for:

1) Ranking your Google My Business page

2) As a quick and easy source of links

My comment doesn't include vertical specific sources (Thumbtack etc) as depending on the business those can be a valuable source of leads.
 

Phil Rozek

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What Dan said, except I'd add that there aren't many "second-tier" local directories that give you a link you'd bring home to mom.

After squaring away the basic listings we know all about, I'd suggest focusing on industry-specific sites. The nice thing about those is they tend to be strong "barnacle" sites, partly because many of them allow reviews. (Think HealthGrades, Avvo, Houzz, Zillow, TripAdvisor, etc.) And those might actually bring some notable referral traffic.
 
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The thing about the second tier citations is that they're more of a confirmation that the business contact information is actually correct. Many second tier sites will rank well for company-branded terms, so it's important to have those sites listing the correct info. It helps create consistency for GMB, but ultimately creates consistency for the person searching for that business.

Completely ignoring those could cost you customers you didn't know where researching you. The higher price for the product means people will spend more time researching prior to purchase. Make sure your info is correct online you'll get leads/sales.
 

heckler

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The 2nd tier citation sources (you've cited) often have a different taxonomy which you can use to build out the business' KG categorization further.
 

DanLeibson

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I'd add that there aren't many "second-tier" local directories that give you a link you'd bring home to mom.
Agree mostly, but will have to abandon the metaphor for my response :)

In aggregate, across location pages for business with hundreds (or thousands) of locations they are very powerful. I have seen just known directory links (SuperPages, YellowPages etc) significantly increase ranking for tens of thousands of keywords.
 

consultant

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I think all the points here are valid but the real question still is, HOW much does it REALLY matter? We can all say this may help and this may hurt. But where's the study with the data to back up all these contentions?
 

DanLeibson

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I think all the points here are valid but the real question still is, HOW much does it REALLY matter? We can all say this may help and this may hurt. But where's the study with the data to back up all these contentions?
Come to my State of Search preso and I will show you tons...
 

heckler

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I think all the points here are valid but the real question still is, HOW much does it REALLY matter? We can all say this may help and this may hurt. But where's the study with the data to back up all these contentions?
I can tell you with 100% certainty they help ranking + traffic (now). How much? That depends on your vertical/segment, competency of your competition and market.

If you're looking at traffic patterns for a specific citation and don't have clients/assets making use of them, use a tool like SEMrush to get an idea on their user-base + traffic-trends and make an educated guess. Personally think looking at your competition's NAP-citations is typically more useful (Local SEO Tools & Services - Drive More Business With Whitespark | Whitespark), especially if you're breaking into a new industry you're not experienced in.

.02,
 

joedillon68

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Just as I was pouring thru all my incorrect local listings, I saw this discussion and had to jump in. As a SBO with local offices in NJ and IL, I go insane trying to keep everything in order. I was given this list by our partners at HubSpot of "50 local sites you should be listed on). I guess they hadn't updated it in a while as some of these sites were out of business, but for the purposes of this exercise, I went to each live site and checked our local listings. We have 4 in Illinois and 3 in New Jersey.

What I found even with MozLocal being active for all 7 listings, was that our entries were incorrect 55% of the time. Naturally I have been working with Moz on this as it's quite disappointing.

Some are duplicates (showing old and new address) some just not showing at all and some no matter how many times we re-push the listing, the old one just won't go away. As an FYI, the Moz list does have some different players on it than the one below so I did check the additional ones Moz asked me to as well as what I show here.

Here is the list for those of you scoring at home:

. Google
. Bing
. Yahoo!
. Yelp
. Merchant Circle
. LinkedIn
. YellowPages.com
. Whitepages
. SuperPages
. Yellowbook
. CitySearch
. Mapquest
. Biznik
. Local.com
. Foursquare
. ThinkLocal
. CitySlick
.//yellow-pages.us/
. Outside.in
. Dex
. BizJournals.com
. TeleAtlas
. JustClickLocal
. Discover our Town
. Metrobot
. EZ Local
. twibs
. LocalEze
. Kudzu
. CityVoter
. Manta
. Zipweb
. MatchPoint
. UsCity.net
. Local Site Submit
. InfoUSA
. Axciom
. Infignos
. Yellow Assistance
. Get Fave
. My Huckleberry
. GenieKnows
. MojoPages
. Brownbook

After seeing this conversation and thinking to myself "don't panic - maybe it's not as big a deal as you think" I went into my analytics.

Based on 43,905 sessions from the past 12 months, I can only find 7 referrals from any of for the "second tier" sites above, that's about it. 7. No Hot Frog, no Merchant Circle, No white pages, nothing... They all came from yellowpages.com.

A majority of my referrals are of course from Google, Bing, Yahoo as well as local directories we advertise our business in (we're divorce mediators so divorcesource.com, divorcehq.com, etc.) and of course these listings are correct so that's good.

But it does go to the point of this discussion: if the listings on the list above are incorrect (in my case more than half the time) what impact does that have on my local SEO? I know it's not hurting me in terms of customers finding my website or stopping by my office as getting a divorce isn't a "walk-in" kinda thing but really as a SBO, how much should I pay attention to this?

Thanks for making me poke my head up from my data gathering and panicing. This discussion may have saved my sanity for the day. :eek:
 

Linda Buquet

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Joe that was great info to share!

Wow, this has turned into such an insightful thread.

Thanks everyone for your thoughts! Off to share... :)
 

Phil Rozek

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Hey Joe,

To deal strictly with the list you provided, here are the only sites I'd bother with:

Google
Bing
Yelp
MerchantCircle
LinkedIn
YellowPages.com
SuperPages
Yellowbook
CitySearch
Local.com
Foursquare
Dex
EZLocal
LocalEze
Kudzu
Manta
InfoUSA
Axciom


So about half of 'em.

Meanwhile, there are some good ones that are missing, like Facebook, Factual, and Angie's List. Make sure you're on Apple Maps, too.

Square away those, get some industry-specific and maybe some local citations, and then just move on to tidier pastures.
 

cdawg2610

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As much as of a pain that working on them can be, I agree with what people have said about them making an impact in rankings. Specifically I've done work with seeing success in some keywords when the anchor text link on a site link Merchant Circle was the one I was trying to rank for.
 
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I'm a bit late to the party! Phil, I'd sharpen your list just a bit.

First - Google and the major aggregators (Infogroup/Acxiom/Localeze/Factual) should be prioritized first since a lot of directory sites grab their data from them, so fixing these can "trickle down" to a lot of other sites.

After that, the high authority sites - Bing, Yelp, YP, Foursquare and any vertically focused sites (which you mentioned previously).

We believe that Superpages/Dex are using the same DB now. So, just update Dex and Superpages will be updated. Same with Citysearch. They also get their data from Infogroup, so updating Infogroup seems to update these properties pretty quickly.

Local.com filed for bankruptcy. Are they still relevant?

For EZLocal, Kudzu, Yellowbook - what do they offer that keeps them on your list?

Using the 80/20 rule, we think that Google, the Big 4, High Authority Sites, and vertically focused sites is all a local biz needs to focus on. Happy to be told why we are wrong :)
 

Phil Rozek

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Scott, in my experience it's very hard (if not impossible) to update a Dex listing directly.
 
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Phil, we think that Dex/Superpages have recently updated their site(s), and updates on Dex (at least over the past few weeks) has been much better. Are you seeing differently?

Also, definitely interested in why you mention EZLocal, Kudzu, Yellowbook - what do they offer that keeps them on your list?
 

Phil Rozek

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Phil, we think that Dex/Superpages have recently updated their site(s), and updates on Dex (at least over the past few weeks) has been much better. Are you seeing differently?

Also, definitely interested in why you mention EZLocal, Kudzu, Yellowbook - what do they offer that keeps them on your list?
I haven't gone into Dex personally for a long time, but it has a long history of being a stick in the mud.

Kudzu offers a follow link in some cases (not sure when - we're trying to figure it out), is more prominent in the South, is another place to get reviews, and is easy to get listed on. EZLocal is also easy to get listed on, and you can get reviews there, and although Yellowbook is a PITA, I include those two because...well, I'm a creature of habit :)
 

Linda Buquet

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While we are sharing lists, here's one that just came out by Local Vox.

<a href="http://localvox.com/blog/top-local-business-directories/">Top 20 Local Business Directories You Need To Be On</a>

I don't have an opinion here, I'm not a citation expert like you guys, but it just came out today and seemed to be a fit so thought I'd share.
 
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I don't have much to add that hasn't already been said.

I agree that the second tier sites aren't going to drive much traffic, if any. You don't bother with them for traffic. You bother with them to validate your business information with Google and create more mentions of your business out on the web, which WILL improve your local rankings. Since Google does matter, and this work can improve your placement in Google, they kind of do drive traffic, through Google.

Linda, just FYI, LocalVox is a Yext reseller, and that list is all from the Yext network, so I'd say it's pretty biased.
 

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