Author | Rachel SchultzDate Posted | March 1, 2024

The business listings management guide: Top tools and how to pick one (+ best practices)

Nearly eight in ten Americans search for a local business online at least once a week. The question is, are they finding your business or your competitors?

If you’re not investing time and energy into managing your online presence — chances are it’s the latter.

However, this doesn’t have to be the case. Whether you’re a business with one location or hundreds, this guide will show you how to create and optimize your online local listings. This way, when potential customers look online, your listings management efforts will help you earn their business. 

Table of Contents

Don’t have the time or expertise to optimize your local listings? Find out how Chatmeter’s team of US-based experts can do the hard work for you. Join them in our next listings webinar.

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What is business listings management?

Listings management is the process of maintaining and optimizing a business’s information across the online directories and platforms your customers may look at. 

This involves basics like making sure your business name, address, phone number, and operating hours are all accurate. 

However, it also includes optimizing your listings to encourage potential customers to choose your business for their needs.

Optimization can involve:

  • Responding to customer reviews and questions promptly
  • Uploading resources like images, menus, and product specs
  • Keeping your business’s presence on social media up-to-date
  • Announcing sales or temporary closures
  • Writing an engaging and keyword-rich business description

With hundreds of directories online and several major social media platforms, this can amount to a pile of work. But, as you’ll see, the payoff for this work is more than worth the effort.

Why is listings management important?

Local listings are the battleground where local businesses and brands win or lose customers. By managing them properly, you give yourself a major advantage over your competition in driving new business to your establishments. 

Here are just a few ways well-managed and optimized local listings can be the difference-maker for your business:

  • Builds trust and credibility: Nothing says amateur like a business spelling their name wrong. By making sure your listings are accurate and up-to-date, you show customers that you’re both professional and credible.
  • Increases visibility: With accurate listings across as many online platforms as possible, you increase your odds of connecting with potential customers wherever they hang out on the web.
  • Boosts local search rankings: Consistent and accurate listings improve a business’s rankings in local search results, making it easier for customers to find your business.
  • Improves your reputation: Thoughtfully responding to customer reviews and questions is a positive signal to other potential customers that they can trust you.
  • Reduces the impact of bad reviews: Bad reviews can sink your chances of winning over a customer. But, by responding to them, you can tell your side of the story, make a positive impression on future readers, and get a chance to have readers change their reviews
  • Builds engagement: Listings are a platform for businesses to engage with their customers, driving brand loyalty.
  • Avoids lost business: Incorrect listings can misinform potential customers about business hours or locations, leading to lost business opportunities (and frustrated customers).
  • Clarifies customer insights: Customer reviews give you an invaluable view into the way your target market perceives your product — information you can use to better your business.

 All of this is to say that better listings management ultimately means more business for you. And who could say no to that? Now, all you need to do is get started.

How to get started with listings management

Setting up and optimizing your online listings doesn’t need to be a big, complicated process. Here are some basic steps you can follow to set yourself up for success.

For people who manage multi-location businesses, we recommend you skip this part and look at our sections on listings management software. Managing dozens and dozens of locations manually is just too time-consuming. Investing in a software solution makes more sense. 

Got questions about getting started? Join our next listings webinar, which will include a Q&A session.
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1. Establish your NAPWCHD 

It may not be the prettiest acronym, but NAPWCHD is super important for anyone perfecting their listings to remember. It stands for:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Website
  • Categories
  • Hours
  • Description

Nearly every listing you create needs to have this information. It’s also important that it’s 100% consistent from listing to listing. So, if you spell your business name “eX@mPle,” you need to make sure it appears exactly that way on any listing out there.

To make sure there are no mistakes, create a document that explicitly spells out all of this information in one place. Then, in the next steps, you can ensure that information is accurate across the web.

 2. Claim, update, and create basic listings on the top directories

There are hundreds of directories out there, so you might as well start with the most popular ones. 

These include:

  • Google Business Profile
  • Apple
  • Yelp
  • Bing Places for Business
  • Facebook

On all of these platforms, you may need to update old listings you created yourself, claim listings made for you, or start completely from scratch.

Start by making sure your NAPWCHD information is accurate for each of these directories.

Think you’re done? Not quite yet. Here is our list of the 28 top directories your business should be listed in. Try to fill in the basics for each of these directories as well before moving on to the next step.

3. Optimize Google Business Profile and other important listings

Of all the online directories, Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business) is usually the most important. Since so many people use Google as their primary search engine, making sure Google knows what your business is, what it does, and what it offers is paramount to being found online.

For this reason, with Google Business Profile (GBP), you’ll want to do more than just basic NAPWCHD information.

Here is everything you should do to optimize your GBP:

If you need more help, check out our complete guide to optimizing your Google Business Profile.

4. Set up a schedule

Managing your business listings is not a one-and-done sort of thing. It takes constant attention to make sure your listings continue to be a net positive for your business.

To manage your local listings efficiently while focusing on other priorities, create a schedule to regularly go over these potential action items:

  • Are all of your online listings still accurate?
  • Do you have any duplicates that need to be removed?
  • Are there any temporary changes to store hours that need to be announced?
  • Are there any reviews that you need to respond to?

Some of these items need to be done daily (if possible). This includes responding to reviews, questions, and comments across your listings. Others can be done on a monthly basis.

Also, don’t forget to set aside time to work on improving your listings on other directories. The more optimized each one is, the better your chances are of growing your customer base.

4 best practices for managing your business listings

There are a lot of listing management best practices out there, but these four are some of the most important that every business should follow.

1. Always keep listings up-to-date

This advice seems slightly obvious, but it can’t be said enough. Always keep your listings up-to-date. Any change to your NAPWCHD information needs to be rolled out across your listings ASAP.

This isn’t just for major things like changes to your business name or phone numbers, either.

It’s also for temporary changes. For instance, if your stores are opening for longer hours over the holidays or Black Friday, you want that reflected everywhere you can. Post on social, make changes to your listings, and shout it from the streets. Whatever it takes to make sure your customers know when your doors are open to their business.

2. Respond to reviews (even bad ones)

No review should go unactioned.

It doesn’t need to be much. Even a quick thank you for leaving a review is enough to make your customers feel heard. 

The mistake many people make is to ignore bad reviews. When responding to bad reviews, always try to:

  • Be polite and professional
  • Solve their problem (if possible)
  • Explain yourself (calmly) if the review warrants it

By doing this, you have a real chance to change the minds of your customers. At the very least, you’ll come across as professional and polite.

If you’re finding that responding to reviews one by one is too resource-intensive, consider an AI-powered tool like the one offered by Chatmeter. Our reputation management software makes it simple to reply to reviews by offering AI-generated responses, easy-to-use templates, and NLP processing.

3. Follow industry best practices

Every industry has its own best practices when it comes to listings management. This could include the most effective directories, specific information prospects look for, and more.

Click on your niche below to learn more about these popular business categories:

Pay close attention to the parts of these articles that focus on what sets that industry apart. This way, you can save yourself time and headaches forging a path that others have already successfully trod.  

4. Use software if you need it

No one wants to add another tool to their tool stack. But adding something to help with listings management makes sense for many people.

As you’ve probably realized reading this, keeping your listings accurate and up-to-date is a nearly herculean task when you are managing multiple locations. 

So, if you’re finding that you’re missing duplicate listings, constantly finding mistakes, and falling behind on customer reviews, consider trying out a dedicated listings management software solution.

These tools can, among other things:

  • Automatically update multiple listings at once
  • Spot and remove duplicate listings
  • Notify you of reviews and comments on different directories
  • Optimize your listings for better local SEO
  • Provide actionable analytics for better web traffic

However, picking the right tool can be a difficult thing. So, we’ll run down what you need to look for with these tools.

How to pick the right listings management solutions for you

There are plenty of listings management software tools on the market today, so how do you know which one is right for you?

You need to evaluate what your needs are and then match those needs with the tools on offer. 

Here is what you should look for and consider when you make that choice:

  • Support: Listings management is a highly involved process. You want software that’s backed up by a team that is available, knowledgeable, and always ready to help your team win.
  • Managed listings: When you have over 50 locations, it becomes a big drag on resources to keep everything updated yourself. Having a tool that offers a team that can step in and manage your listings for you is a big plus. 
  • Reputation management features: Look for software that includes reputation management tools such as deep listening technology, sentiment analysis, and customer response features.
  • Pricing plans: Make sure you consider both what the overall cost will be and also how that pricing is structured, i.e., per user or location. 
  • Access to multiple directories: A good tool will have partnerships with a wide range of important online directories and platforms, like Google and Apple, where your customers are likely to be.
  • Listing status reporting: Choose software that audits your listings for inaccuracies in key areas like name, address, phone number, and hours, especially if managing multiple locations.
  • Local search and SEO assistance: You want software that can help you optimize your listings for local SEO ranking factors. This includes ensuring complete listings, responding to reviews, and supporting features like voice search, map registrations, and local page optimization to enhance visibility on local searches.

With these points in mind, consider which areas are the most important to you. Are you looking for killer AI features? Fully managed listings? A cheap price? Or something else entirely?

Once you know this, all you need to do is find the tool that’ll satisfy those needs.

Top 4 listings management tools to explore

Here are four of the best listings management tools out there. Whatever your needs are, chances are that one of these tools will be the best fit for you.

This is just an overview of these tools. If you’re looking for something more in-depth, take a look at our review of the best listings management tools of the year.

1. Chatmeter


Chatmeter is a multi-location intelligence suite that offers a load of smart, AI-powered features and bespoke, white-glove service from our team of US-based experts. The perfect solution for companies managing listings for more than 50 locations.

Best features

  • Advanced reputation management and AI-powered tools: Helps businesses with more than 50 locations enhance their online presence, manage reviews, and optimize customer journey steps.
  • Efficient listings management: Smart systems for keeping listings accurate and up-to-date, with the ability to quickly correct inaccuracies and update hundreds of listings.
  • Expert human support: US-based listings management team provides specialized support to optimize listings, allowing businesses to focus on core activities.
  • Detailed reporting system: Offers in-depth reports on listing issues, prioritizing problems over surface-level reporting, and providing businesses with actionable insights.
  • Partnerships with major directories: Collaborates with top directories like Apple, Yelp, and Google, aiding in easy updates and improved online ranking.
  • Local SEO tools: Tools to monitor listing performance and identify necessary fixes, helping businesses outrank competitors.

What to know before trying it

  • Built for big business: If you’re a small, single-location business, this software may have more features and support than you necessarily need.

2. Yext

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Yext is one of the original and most well-known players in this sphere. If you’ve heard of listings management software before, Yext is probably what you’ve heard of.

Best features

  • Big network: They’ve built up a large number of partnerships and direct API integrations so your data stays up-to-date across multiple directories. 
  • Duplicate removal: Their systems are great for finding and suppressing duplicate listings across the web. 
  • Update suggestions: Although not always perfect, Yext can notify you when it believes you should update a listing that looks out of date or incorrect.
  • AI content creation: Their AI tools allow you to generate new listings based on the information from your old ones.

What to know before trying it

  • Built for a subset of businesses: Based on G2 reviews, it seems like Yext only really shines when you get beyond 1,000 locations.
  • User complaints: Some users report being unhappy that the quality of support you can get with them has gone downhill.  

3. Birdeye

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Another big player in the listings management game, Birdeye stands out by doubling as an extremely convenient multi-channel messaging platform.

Best features

  • Integrated messaging: Allows you to seamlessly message customers across multiple channels. 
  • Review management capabilities: Helping businesses stay on top of and reply to reviews of their businesses that come in on different directories.
  • Listing scanner: Gives you a basic audit of core information across all of your listings, helping you keep everything accurate and consistent.
  • Listings coverage: Makes it easy to create and update listings across key directories like Google, Foursquare, Bing, and Facebook, although with limitations in certain directories like Yelp and Apple Maps.

What to know before trying it

  • No Google partnership: Without this partnership, it’s difficult to boost your visibility on the world’s largest search engine.
  • No Yelp partnership: Without this partnership, you won’t be able to see or respond to Yelp reviews in your dashboard.
  • Inconsistent support: Customers complain about the lack of support and difficulty canceling their contract.
  • Pricing model: Tools are often priced separately, meaning that every new feature will cost you more.

4. SOCi


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SOCi may not have as many listings management bells and whistles as others on this list, but their focus on social media could be exactly what some businesses are looking for.

Best features

  • Bulk editor: Simplifies the process of editing multiple listings across different platforms or locations.
  • Covers major platforms: It may not have as many directories as other tools, but it does hit the big ones like Google, Apple, and Facebook.
  • Approvals system: Managers have control over who in an organization can view data or make changes.
  • Social media management: Manage all of your social media accounts in one convenient place. 

What to know before trying it

  • Mostly for social media: Their lack of tools in the listings management space means that you have far less visibility into your listings across the web. 

Take control of your online listings and brand

At this point, you’ve read about 3,000 words about listings management software. If you’ve come this far, your business could probably benefit from software that makes optimizing your online presence so much easier.

Listings management is no set-it-and-forget-it task. However, that doesn’t mean you need to spend hours every day yourself making sure it’s done correctly. Using Chatmeter, you can take advantage of cutting-edge AI and our team of US-based experts to keep your listings and online presence a key asset of your brand.

Want to see how? Check out our self-guided product demos to see exactly how Chatmeter can benefit your business. 

Or, if you just want to learn more, set up a call with our team. We’ll be happy to walk you through exactly what Chatmeter can offer your company.