Local SEO Best Practices Change with the Death of Yahoo Local Business

By John Stewart in SEO on March 30th, 2016

Yahoo! Small Business changing to Aabaco small businessSource: Aabaco

Yahoo Small Business has become Aabaco which is now only offered at a premium level. Boosting Local SEO is still possible, but through different avenues.

It’s a disaster.

For many years Yahoo local listings have been a cornerstone of local SEO. But to create your listing, you had to find the “Free Basic Listing” link hidden among Yahoo Small Business offerings. Lately there has been a lot of news about Yahoo Small Business changing its name and services to Aabaco Small Business. Adding Aabaco services to existing SEO budgets could double the cost of third party tools and this once free service is now only offered on a premium level. Yahoo Small Business has done away with the popular “Free Basic Listing” to the dismay of many businesses.  Now, brands are faced with the decision to to find other avenues for business listings or invest in Aabaco.

The transition to Aabaco was supposed to be seamless but has turned out to be a nightmare for people attempting to claim their business listing or even simply delete it.

To claim your business listing, Aabaco will tell you to enter your email address onto their website and then your account information will be emailed to begin migrating accounts. The email does not send and this is the beginning of an avalanche of frustration for anyone involved in the process of creating the Aabaco account.

After the confirmation email not going through with more confusion and still no access to the Aabaco account, clients of Yahoo Small Business commented on telapost.com that they waited up to two hours just to talk with an Aabaco representative that was not able to solve their problem; instead they were asked to sign up for additional business services.  Due to the complication of the transition of accounts, some clients have lost profit since they have been unable to list new items for sale.

Below are a few responses from users after attempting the switch accounts to Aabaco taken from a blog about the issue from telapost.com. Many were angry about waiting on hold, unusual charges in their bank accounts and in general, receiving no help on the issue at all.

problems with aabacoproblems with aabaco

problems with aabaco

While many have considered deleting their Aabaco listings due to the almost impossible transition, they want to keep hanging on because of its local SEO value.

All good things must come to an end but there is always a silver lining.

Local SEO Basics

Local search ecosystem visible to search engines for business listings

Google and Bing pull in data from different small and large data aggregators. The local search ecosystem illustration above (created by David Mihm, who now heads up Moz Local SEO tool development) shows sources where different sites gather their listing data from across the web. With the growth of mobile device usage and focus on local user intent, these sources have been quickly growing and changing. The same listings can contain different information combined from many data sources. This makes it increasingly harder for search engines to identify the correct information for each listing. (The more business listings that Google sees with the same information the higher they will rank in Google.)  Local SEO agencies must stay on top of editing and updating as many listings as possible to make information more visible to search engines, which strengthens local businesses' internet presence. 

Yahoo’s Role in Local SEO

Yahoo Business Listings are an important part of the ecosystem because they provided signals to Google, and the Yahoo listings even appear right in Google search results. Managing listings, local landing pages and map listings are key SEO practices. Bing Places, Yelp and Superpages are great, free alternatives to the Aabaco confusion which will still boost local SEO. But to get that powerful Yahoo listing, the best work around right now is to get into as many top tier aggregators as possible.  These include Neustar, Localeze, Infogroup, and Acxiom.  If you are willing to pay a premium, Yext is an API partner with Yahoo and will supply direct feed to control your Yahoo listing.

We asked BKV SEO Director Greg Lee to comment on any additional work arounds for Yahoo Local.

We have to assume Yahoo will still pull data from its previous data sources.  To be safe, you should cover the big data listing sources.

A few second tier data providers that have recently become more important because of how they share their data include Factual, and Foursquare. Believe it or not, Foursquare has become more important in business listings because of how it shares its data.

Yext, UBL and Moz Local can be helpful, but they are not actually aggregators, and I am hesitant about even calling them data providers. They are services that get you listed in multiple aggregators and data providers. They use a combined effort of manual claiming as well as API feeds. Similar to a local SEO agency, they do the legwork for you and get a volume discount for the data provider sites and aggregators for which they partner.  You can do the same work yourself by performing manual creation/claiming or bulk upload tools available from the data providers. The big value in these is similar to a local SEO agency – you have industry experts doing the work for you, and you get monitoring and reporting. Yext also provides real-time live updates with some of its partners – but this is more of a short term promo advertising tactic than a long term SEO tactic. Unfortunately at this time, if you want to actively claim and control your Yahoo listing, you need to go through Yext or Aabaco.

The more business listings that Google sees with consistent information the higher you will rank in Google.  Finding the right tools that work within the local search ecosystem which pull in the most recent data is a best practice for local SEO.

SEO is constantly evolving. For local SEO, it is crucial to stay up to date with news to know when it is time to stop using tools and when it is better to start utilizing new ones. Using top tier data aggregators which are Neustar Localeze, Infogroup, and Acxiom is one of the best first steps to get business listings to rank in the top search results.

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