Large business firms can have their hands full with location management. Local searches about their different locations can be a nightmare and a headache to keep track of. Thankfully, there are paths enterprise brands can take to manage location information better and more effectively.
Challenges to Managing Local Listings
The challenges large businesses run into with managing their location information usually consist of one of the following categories:
- an incredible and overwhelming amount of location information
- people’s opposition to change
Stressful Amount of Location Data
Location info can come from several different databases for large businesses. Information comes from the varying departments, such as shipping, delivery, accounting, etc.
Search engines have specific standards for location data and for large businesses, this can be difficult to meet when there are different departments and locations that the info is coming from. Another hurdle is that many independent store managers do not know how format addresses that search engines approve.
Resistance to Change
To be human is, in most circumstances, to being resistant to change, to some degree or another. When a franchise or corporation decides to try and simplify organizing and collecting all the data in one place, this can bring significant resistance because a lot of these franchises or smaller companies under the corporation have likely been doing this from the beginning and they do not want to give up control of their marketing/social media.
You can accomplish bringing all the location data to one place by unifying the company. You can do this by first getting the executive team to, and then by giving authority to those who have to actually caring out the mandate. You can unify the company by explaining this to private owners or managers of the different locations. You will likely still meet some resistance, but rationally educating them will likely help unify everyone and make the transition easier.
After you have most of everyone agreeing with the change, you need to merge all the data before trying to simplify and make it homogenize. Your ultimate goal is to unify it to be able to send out up-to-date info to your various locations. Once you have created one location for all your data, it needs to be uniformed. You need to have all your addresses use a single format. There are multiple types of formats, and even if you use a single format this does not guarantee your addresses are correct. One way to unify all your addresses is using a validator tool. Once it is all unified, you need to make sure your pin is correct on all search engines.
Regrettably, there is not an easy way to do this. For Google, this means you have to go to the street view and makes sure it correlates with the correct address. This can be tricky in new developments or rural areas. Also, if a location is in a mall the address just correlates with the overall building. You may have to look at the layout of the building to find the exact location of one of the stores and make sure you place the pin in the correct area.
Once you have localized all the information to one site and cleared up all the search engines with all your sites, then you need to scan the search engines to makes sure there are no old sites that might have closed stores or sites that may have been created by customers or private owners and start managing these sites. You do not want a potential customer going to these different sites and getting false information and not ending up at one of your true stores.
After you have localized all the information to one site, set all the pins, and managed all the sites, now you need to continually make sure all the data that is being created is going to your various locations correctly. You are managing the new locations and distributing the information to them.
For companies that only have a few sites, it can be fairly easy to manage everything manually; but, for larger companies that have hundreds to thousands of sites, it becomes very important to automatize as much as possible. Being in the technology age, this has become easier. So if you have started going down this road, continue to do so!