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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.