What are Listings ?
A listing is a website’s presence in a search engine or directory, and is not necessarily indicative of its search-engine positioning.
In easy terms a web listing service is a one-stop profile service to help promote your company through local search, like Yahoo! Places, Yelp, or SuperPages.
More complexly, it is a backlinking-type service that offers you the extended reach to be found online whenever someone searches locally for your type of company or your company name.
Why use a service?
In a nutshell, it’s faster. Just think about all the local search properties out there—Google Places, Yahoo! Places, SuperPages, Yelp, Yext, Manta, YellowPages, Citysearch, Foursquare, Business Finder, Merchant Circle, WhitePages, and so many more.
When using a more organic or manual approach to local search, it could take between 8 to 20 weeks for engines to pick up your listing. That’s nearly 6 months in the worst case. Who can wait that long to appear in a local listing search when you’ve just started a business or launched a website?
The investment could seem prohibitive for small business owners just starting out or even non-profits looking to gain exposure.
Also, how do you know you get the bang for your buck? Well, you will have to monitor and measure like you would with any other marketing initiative. One way is to ask people how they found you. Having a quick survey conducted either by phone when people call you, or on your website when people want to contact you is simple enough. You may also want reporting from the listing service of choice. Not all services off this, however.
Lastly, there have been some scams reported in the past for companies who claim to do the same type of thing for much, much less. Be aware of these services. Do your research before signing up. Make sure you are getting something of value and that they have the reputation to back it up.