Updated for accuracy December 16, 2017.
Local SEO is one of the most important areas to address in your digital marketing. Having few or no directory listings makes your business much harder to find in search, and worse, if you don’t make the effort to claim and verify your listings, you have no guarantee that the information they contain is even accurate.
It’s generally pretty straight-forward when it comes to claiming major listings, like Google, Bing, Yelp, etc. But Yahoo is a little more complicated, and unfortunately, they’re one of the Big Three, so you really shouldn’t skip it.
If you’ve tried in the last few years to claim or create a Yahoo directory listing for your business, you may very well have thrown your computer out a window in frustration. (What? I admit nothing; I’m just saying—no judgment.)
The process has become a bit muddled for many reasons, and it’s not immediately clear that you can, in fact, have a listing without paying for it. And that’s what I’m going to walk you through today. Ready?
First, a little background.
For the last few years, it seems like every time I had a new business to list, Yahoo’s claiming process had changed in some way. Just a few months ago, I had to actually speak to a live person on the phone to clear up what is and is not current practice, because I was still finding working links and references to defunct processes on Yahoo’s own webpages.
Since 2015, their branding has gone from Yahoo Small Business to Luminate from Aabaco Small Business to just Aabaco Small Business--all of which seems to have been an unmitigated disaster—back to Yahoo Small Business.
The listing service is currently known as Yahoo LocalWorks, with directory services provided by Yext PowerListings—and depending on which way you access it, you may or may not find a free option to claim your listing.
Visiting Yahoo Small Business or Yahoo LocalWorks directly only gives you the option to purchase a listings package. However, if you go to yahoo.com, search for your business, and click on “Verify Your Listing,” it not only opens a new window and redirects you to yext.com, but the process that follows is completely different.
I would love for them to make the free listing option more noticeable, but in the meantime I genuinely hate the idea of people believing they have to PAY to claim their own business listing on a public search engine, so I’m going to take you through the process step-by-step.
Disclaimer: I just want to make it clear that I understand where Yahoo and Yext are coming from in having set up the claiming process this way—they are businesses, and obviously they need to make money. And further, Yext is an impressive platform that provides a genuinely useful service, one that we ourselves benefit from.
The reason for this post is that the free listing option is a bit hidden for my comfort, and I want to make sure small business owners with limited budgets know that it is there and how to access it.
Choosing “Local” will bring up the map—same information, just displayed in a different format. Then you’ll see one of two things: a green “Merchant Verified” or a grey “Verify Your Listing.” You may notice that most chain or corporate restaurants/businesses have the green mark while many independently owned ones do not. I feel like that tells you something about this process compared to other search engines.
Step 2: Verify Your Listing
If you click the link to “Verify Your Listing,” your browser will open a new window and take you directly to Yext, where you should see one of these two pop-up messages (or both):
If you get the first pop-up, you can either choose to fill in whatever is missing and let it scan or just hit the X in the top right; it’s up to you. I think clicking the X reveals the other pop-up, actually. Basically, it’s going to run this report whether you want it or not. You can click anywhere to get that pop-up to disappear.
And finally, there’s a last pop-up that appears when you start to move away from the page like you’re about to close it, which asks if you want an emailed copy of the report. I recommend saying no for two reasons:
Instead, look below the big red button and click, “Not interested.”
Finally, you’ve reached the scan results page. All you can do from here is click the “Continue” button.
Step 3: Update Your Information
The next page will let you fill out the information for your business and shows you a little preview on the right of what it might look like.
Keep in mind that the info you enter here should match the way you’re listed elsewhere. For instance:
Note: Save your “Business Description” somewhere because you’re likely to need it again later. I don’t know if this happens every time, but when I confirm a new account and log in, I find that some information has been stripped, including “Categories,” “Business Description,” and “Contact Email.”
Once you’re finished, click the “Continue” button.
Step 4: “Select Your Plan”
Notice I put that in quotation marks.
This is the part I’m uncomfortable with, where they prominently display their different listing packages, relegating the free option to a small text link all the way at the bottom of the page. But find “Claim your Basic Listing only on Yahoo” and click.
You’ll be taken to a checkout page showing a price of $0.00, followed by some fine print about how choosing the free listing means there’s no guarantee it will be published because it takes multiple sources of information into account.
Honestly, that feels to me like a marketing tactic, but I can’t say for sure. I am curious under what circumstances they would choose not to publish the information you gave.
(You may also notice that the red text indicates “vertification is required.” I’ve been assured that typo will be fixed.)
Step 5: Place Order (for $0.00) and Verify
In any case, all that’s left to do is click the checkboxes and “Place Order.” You’ll receive an email from Yext at whatever address you provided, which will prompt you to create an account from which you can manage your listing.
Like I said earlier, some of the info may be missing, so re-enter “Categories,” “Business Description,” and “Contact Email.” You'll also want to check that right-hand sidebar to see whether the “Yahoo Listing Status” indicates submitted or not.
If it says you’re opted out, just click the link right next to it that says “Opt In” and choose a verification method. You can either answer a phone call at your business number or provide them with an official document that shows your business name and address.
Obviously the phone call is quicker and easier, so I would try that first. When you’re ready, click the button for the call—the phone will ring surprisingly fast, and an automated voice will give you a four-digit verification code. Enter that code and you should be done!
Much more complicated than it needs to be, in my opinion, but I hope that makes the process a little easier to navigate. Make sure to keep a record of your Yext login information in case you ever need to make changes to the listing or if you just want to check on it. I check ours from time to time just to see if the status has changed—I'm curious as to when that green check mark is going to appear next to our listing!
If you experience any issues going through this or find something that I didn’t cover, send me an email and let me know! I'd be happy to help, and if I missed something I’ll need to come back and update!
Catherine has a degree in English literature and a passion for all things marketing. As Digital Specialist, her focus is on web design, search engine optimization, social media, online presence management, and project coordination.