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Moz Local: 4 Necessary Changes for Longterm Success

Apr 01, 2014

On Tuesday, March 18th, Moz rolled out an updated version of rebranded as Moz Local. Much like, Moz Local allows you to check your business' listings and see how close they are to 100% completion and accuracy.

The difference between Moz Local and GetListed is that Moz Local is a local SEO platform designed to help businesses enhance their local presence. It is supposed to help businesses efficiently update their listings so that they are consistent across the web.

As an enthusiast of local SEO, I jumped at the opportunity to give this new tool a try. Within an hour of Moz releasing Moz Local, I had already uploaded a CSV file with our own listing attached. I was excited to see what Moz Local could offer us with the platform's new capabilities.

Moz Local's user experience is immediately more user-friendly than its predecessor. Uploading listings is simple, and the service is cheap relative to the competition (Yext, UBL, etc).

While there were plenty of aspects of Moz Local that we liked, I couldn't help but feel that there were features missing that I expected Moz Local to offer. Alas, this is only Moz Local 1.0, and it’s still fresh out of the oven.

Moz 1.0 overall offers a lot of great benefits: it's simple, cheap, and if you’re already on the Moz bandwagon, this gives you more tools in one place. Still, we know that this is only the beginning for this great tool. The following is where I believe David Mihm and his team are going to take Moz Local in the near future.

International Listings

GetListed had long been a go to resource for a lot of Local SEOs, and for good reason. It offered valuable insight on the current stance of your business’s local listings. But what, and now Moz Local, lacks is the ability to check your listings if your business is outside of the United States.

When Moz Local was announced, one of my immediate thoughts was that they were finally going to support international listings. At the minimum I believed they would offer Canadian listings. However, I quickly discovered this error when I put in a Canadian zip code:

David Mihm, Director of Local Search Strategy at Moz, said the following regarding the demand for international listings:

"We know there’s a lot of international demand but we’re just not able to support non-U.S. countries with our current engineering and help team resources. It’s definitely an area we’ve considered and that I personally hope to get into in the future."

What we can infer from this is that, as Moz Local continues to progress, providing updates and new features, we can expect to see the service support Canadian listings. The vast majority of their competitors already offer international listings far beyond Canada. By offering international listings, Moz Local stands to gain a huge portion of potential customers they weren’t reaching before.

Uploading Listings

If I had to choose a feature about Moz Local that I disliked the most, it would be the CSV file upload. While services like UBL permit a user to complete a set of fields for individual listings, Moz Local still requires a user to upload a CSV file. While they might be trying to encourage everyone to simply upload in bulk, the option to add a single listing without a CSV file would be a welcomed addition.

To me, aside from when you are doing a “bulk” upload, the process of uploading a listing through the CSV file is cumbersome. Although Moz Local does offer a nice step-by-step guide on how to properly format each cell when uploading a listing, when we consider adding just one listing, there are still too many opportunities for a user to make mistakes.

Further, you have to make sure that each cell is formatted exactly how they specify, otherwise, if the file doesn’t meet their standards, then the listing will be rejected until properly formatted.

Enhanced User Dashboard

For Local 2.0, I'm hoping Moz will move away from the CSV file, and move more towards a user-friendly uploading process based on a dashboard upload model.

This would enhance the user-friendliness of the platform because it will offer more clarity on what is required in each section.Currently, if you try to upload your listing without consulting the step-by-step guide first, then you will have no idea what fields are required or which ones are optional.

A couple of features I'd like to see this new dashboard include are:

Adding Pictures Quickly & Easily

Andrew Shotland of Local SEO Guide also discussed adding a simple file upload to include pictures for your listing in his review of Moz Local 1.0. He mentioned that the platform lacked the ability to upload your pictures and he wouldn’t be surprised if they released a more robust tool to help manage this.

Cross-Listing Category Matching

I know Moz has already done this to a certain extent. You can enter the category, for example “Cosmetic Dentist” and it will helpfully display a list of categories across the various local engines.

Moz Category Tool Matcher

Where I think this can be improved, is adding this feature to the dashboard and then matching each category across every listing platform. This will eliminate the multi-step process of looking up & overriding each category associated with each listing. This could really be a big time saver in version 2.o.

Real Time Updating

In February of 2014, RIO SEO, a leader in local SEO automation, announced direct API integration with Factual to automate syndication of relevant local listings. This allowed RIO SEO to give their customers real-time updates on where their listing was in the distribution process. By providing real-time updates on local listings, you can provide customers the ability quickly see where their listing is being distributed and if they need to update any incorrect information.

Right now the Moz Local platform only allows you to see what databases have been updated and which ones still need to be completed. You don’t have the ability to update your listing and then see detailed progress of your listings. Your only option is to upload your listing and then frequently check back to see if the information has been updated.

If Moz really wants Moz Local to compete with the major players of local SEO, they will need to seriously consider moving towards real-time updates. To offer real-time updates, I predict that Moz will eventually have to gravitate towards offering multiple Moz Local packages. One of the biggest selling points of Moz Local is that it’s only $49/year per listing. They should keep $49/year option to attract the smaller businesses, but then release a second or third option with more advanced features. These options would be targeted towards larger corporations who manage 100’s listings and locations, where real-timing updating plays a more significant role.

By offering different packages of Moz Local it would allow for them to draw in customers from both small businesses and large-scale operations. Moz shouldn't be limiting itself to only a small partition of the market, especially one that is as demanding and essential for a business’s success like local SEO.

Final Thoughts

Moz Local already has the makings of a great tool for managing your businesses listings. It easily distributes your business to the major data aggregators while keeping you informed of your listing's progression towards 100% complete. As David Mihm and his team begin to roll out updates and new features, I look for Moz Local to improve in time and become a major player in the local SEO automation industry.

Thoughts or comments on Moz Local and the future of Local SEO? Let us know, we would love to hear from you!

Workshop Team