Does Moz Local Work?

Does Moz Local work for managing multi-unit businesses?

== UPDATE – January 2016

Check out our updated Moz Local review with 20 months of data!

==

We’ve been testing Moz Local for 6 weeks hoping to answer this question. Last week we reviewed actual stats from Moz Local tests. This week we’re following up with thoughts on Moz Local usability, functionality, and accuracy.

Listing Management: Works well. No complaints.

Bulk management is essential for any tools we use. Moz Local says, “We designed Moz Local [for] small to mid-sized agencies working with a lot of small business locations”. But did they succeed?

Bulk Upload is available (required, in fact). It’s easy to pull or location data right into the Moz .csv. So far the upload has worked and any errors are clearly called out. If you have an existing Google Places for Business CSV spreadsheet, you can simply upload it to Moz Local.

Score: A

Editing listings is a bit odd. You can’t edit your listings in the dashboard. Rather you’re required to use the .csv upload. My bet is that dashboard editing is coming, but was excluded to get to market faster. It’s a bit more work, but not a problem.

Score: B

Conversely, you CAN bulk edit listing edit data! Other tools require you to edit each listing individual which is a HUGE time suck. I will trade bulk .csv management for individual dashboard management any day. Exporting all of your location is a breeze.

Score: A+

Reporting: Lack of bulk reporting could be a deal breaker

Do Moz Local reports give us what we need? Efficient management is essential for our agency. The majority of our Local SEO clients are multi-unit and franchise, meaning we’re managing tens or hundreds of locations. Efficiency is a must. Recently, one of our vendors dropped the bulk reporting we rely on. It nearly forced us to change tools. Fortunately, Bright Local has the best customer service in the business, and they have a great product.

Bulk reporting is missing, which is a big thumbs down. That said, it is reasonably fast to pull numbers from each individual listing. This is acceptable when dealing with a handful of clients, but if it doesn’t scale it may be a deal breaker.

Score: F

Single listing reports are fine. Some text for clients explaining what it all means would be great, as would the ability to export to PDF; the whole page and/or just the graphical details. Downloading raw data is sadly missing, making custom trend reporting less efficient.

Score: B-

Dashboard & Metrics: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

The Moz Local dashboard is functional and friendly. Again, for us it’s all about efficiency. That means easily finding and managing the listings we need. We currently have 24 listings and the page is getting a bit long. Will tens or hundreds of listings impact load time? Perhaps it paginates at some point.

Search functionality is a plus, although it doesn’t search everything. Biz name or address works and even partial address (e.g. street number, zip), but no luck with phone or url. Seems odd that these aren’t searchable. It could be more friendly, but at least it has some search that works.

Score: B

Metrics are inconsistent, moving up and down for unknown reasons. (In other words, it’s status quo for Local SEO!)

  • Bing is often “0”, presumably a problem with the Bing feed.
  • A Yahoo listing went from 0% to 81% then dropped to 13% overnight. Looking at the Inconsistent tab shows no data at all, but scores it at “13%”. Why the changes? How can it score 13% with 0 data?
  • Google is up and down, despite well optimized profiles. G+ went up to 100%, then fell back to the 90s. even though we did not make any changes to Google. I assume the main reason for less than 100% is Moz’s suggestion to “Add 4 more photos”.
  • Moz flagged a “duplicate” that was a totally different business with somewhat similar name. The “duplicate” dropped out within a week.

Score: TBD – We’ll look at the trend over time.

Dealing with inconsistencies is nigh impossible. Moz Local toes a hard line on accuracy. While technically correct, will listings EVER be 100% consistent with our master listing data? Case in point: One location has seven flagged listings that are perfectly accurate variations. Essentially, Moz says “St” St.” and “Street” are inconsistent. We need a way to flag these as OK. Vendasta allows this.

Score: D

Now the doozy. To launch a new business listing, Moz verifies the listing against Google and Facebook. One must match the name of the business as listed must match what is provided to Moz. If the names don’t match, Moz rejects it, and rejects your $49.

Fixing the business name is one of the very issues we need Moz to address. In these cases, everything on the G+ page matches Moz, except the name. For example, “Bob Dobbs Furniture” is what we want, but the G+ page has “Bob Dobbs Mattress & Furniture Store”. Facebook has identical info with the name “Bob Dobbs Furniture Sheboygan, WI”. We’ve claimed the G+ page of course and entered the correct name, but Google still displays the wrong name. We’re working to with Google help, but until then we’re stuck. No match, no Moz.

With the new Google Places Descriptors this could become a BIG problem.

Score: F* although it only impacts a small percentage of our listings.

Conclusion: Does Moz Local work?

Yes, but not without some challenges. Despite the promise, bulk management is limited. If we can’t get bulk report downloads we probably won’t continue to use it for multi-location clients. Overall functionality is sound, but to truly succeed Moz needs a few more features. Any new product has its challenges. Will Moz sort them out? We’ll keep using it, but we’re not diving in with both feet.

About Jason Rogers

Jason is a search marketing veteran with an insatiable curiosity about how people interact with digital media, and how to optimize those experiences for success in Google search results.

Comments

  1. So you are using Vendasta, Bright Local and now adding Moz Local? I hadn’t seen Vendasta before reading your post so thank you for that. Could you share what you see as the limitations you’ve experienced wit Vendasta? Thank you

    • Jason Rogers says:

      Hi Mike. We’re not actively using Vendasta right now, but is in our quiver so to speak. One hurdle is price. We’re working with a number of multi-unit businesses, so bulk management, reporting and price are important. We a large enough project to cover the cost. With multiple locations it’s hard to get the same level of detail from Vendasta as they provide with the single location reports. I’ll try and post more once we have used it a bit more. – Jason

  2. What I’d be most interested in is learning how effective Moz Local is at driving top rankings in local search results compared to other services. At the end of the day, unless I’m missing something, is that local clients want top rankings in Google local search results. So how does that metric measure up among the competitors?

  3. This is good information and I agree that Moz has some limitation. I’m finding it a bit frustrating when trying to determine which listings were update. I’m thinking about using Yext as an alternative. Any suggestions?

    • Jason Rogers says:

      The best way to see if a listing has been updated is to simply compare what you gave in Moz vs the listing in question. We write descriptions for each business, so when we see the description on the listing we know it’s up to date. We will also send listings to the web page for an individual store rather than the main www homepage. Again, this way we can check for something unique.

      There’s no way a service like Moz Local can tell you the date that a listing is changed because Moz doesn’t own the website with the listing in question. Moz provides the data, but it is up to that website to then do something with the data.

      We’ve been using Moz Local for a year now and are very happy. They report a level of data that we have not seen from other services. It’s not perfect, but it performs as well as any other syndication service – UBL, Vendasta, etc. They all syndicate to the same websites and databases – Acxiom, Localeze, Foursquare, InfoGroup. There are other paid services like Localeze that will get your info out (faster?) to their network. We’ve found them a bit expensive for what you get. If you have more money than time, go for it.

      Yext. … Yext can do some great things. … Yext is paid advertising. Yext does not “fix” your data. If your goal is to truly fix your business listing problems, Yext is not your answer. If your goal is advertising Yext can be a good option. Knowing how competitive plumbing is, it might be good for you. If you get good ROI from “Yext Advertisments”, great.

      Mike Blumenthal at blumenthals.com/blog has several great posts on Yext.

      Hope that helps.

  4. Thankyou for the BrightLocal mention Jason – the team are always busy working on new features & updates so it’s great to hear that you find our tools useful.

  5. Plumber Los Angeles says:

    I am trying to find the best tool to get more citations, MOZ Local will help?

    • Jason Rogers says:

      Short answer, yes, we have found that syndicating business data via Moz Local does result in some new citations.

      More importantly, for us, the tool is best used to correct existing listing data. This is accomplished via their direct connections to Foursquare, Bing, CityGrid, Supermedia and to the major databases; factual, acxiom, localeze, and infogroup. By extension, other websites will pick up data from these databases to update listing info and potentially to add new listings, if you are not already listed.

      Longer answer, no. Moz Local is not a tool for automatically generating citations en masse. From our perspective, it is best to do that legwork manually.

      – Whitespark is a popular solution to facilitate this process.
      – Bright Local’s Citation Burst service is affordable and effective. We found that we would rather handle these directly.
      – We do not use Yext for citation building. Yext is advertising. Don’t confuse the two.

      Many in the Local SEO field argue that you hit diminishing returns on citation building after the 20-30 major sites. Moz (and other syndication services) handle this pretty well. We always manually claim whatever we can (G+, Bing, Super, YP, etc.) and rely on Moz to handle the rest.

      So perhaps another answer to your question is what type of citations do you need? After taking care of the tier I and tier II citations (as above) we look for hyper-local and vertical sites that are less likely to pick up the syndicated listings; chambers of commerce, local media, industry assoc., etc. It is pretty easy for any business to pay for business listing syndication. Vertical and local citations set you apart from competitors who don’t put in the additional effort. In the same vein, Google sees vertical and hyper-local citations as extremely relevant indicators that a business truly services a given location.

      Service area businesses like plumbers have a separate set of issues in that your “location” is not a storefront. You’ll need more than citations to break through the noise in such a highly competitive space. The first place to start is your own website.

  6. Hey Jason! I found this article in my research to switch up my local listing data aggregator solution for my websites and my client sites. I was reading it and got to the $49 mention, then scrolled back to the top and saw May 2014 :) So, my next thought was I was reading out dated material on their solution, which isn’t an issue. I then started looking around your site for an update. Did you/your team do another test on Moz Local in 2015 or 2016 yet? If so, could you email me the link to that article? I’m interested and would be grateful as I make my notes. – Patrick

  7. Jason Rogers says:

    Hi Patrick. Thanks for reading. We are extremely pleased with Moz and now use it exclusively. We have found that, at least for the 15 citations they report specifically, the visibility, accuracy and completeness of our citations increases. On the Moz Local scale they reach above 80% in about 6 months and into the 90’s over time. In short, we are very pleased. Updating this post has been on my to do list for way too long. I’ll try to get an update posted. – Jason

  8. Jason Rogers says:

    See this post for our latest update on Moz Local:
    http://twooctobers.com/2016/01/yes-moz-local-works/

  9. Moz works but the results are very slow as well you dont get chance to edit/make changes once you upload the data. Hence I am confused on choosing brightlocal or vendasta for my local business listing. Can anyone help me out on this ?

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