How to Change Your CitySearch Business Categories without Breaking a Sweat

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The categories you pick for your non-Google local listings also matter.  They influence your rankings within those sites, and seem to influence your Google Places rankings at least a little.

I’ve already nagged you to pay attention to your categories on Yelp, Apple Maps, and other sites.

But don’t forget about creaky old CitySearch.  It’s not a cool, up-and-coming site, but it still matters to your local visibility.  Start by making sure you’re listed under the right categories

The trouble is that the part of the site that business owners have to deal with has been half-broken for several years now.  Local SEOs have had to rely on the support staff for help with listings that need fixing.  Complicating matters is that if you email support you’ll get an auto-reply email that implies all you have to do on CitySearch is to square away your ExpressUpdate listing.

Maybe oddest of all is the fact that even if you’ve claimed your CitySearch listing you’ll have to call the support line (800-611-4827) if you want to change your categories.

The other day, fellow LocalSparker Gene Maryushenko and I were discussing a client’s case, and looking for every worthwhile tune-up we could make.  CitySearch had our client listed under the overly broad category of “Attorneys,” but we wanted to get it changed to the more-accurate “Criminal Defense Attorneys” category.

Turns out it was real easy, according to Gene:


We discussed updating [client’s] category on CityGrid and you said you’d be interested in hearing how that phone call to support went.

As soon as I got off the Skype call with you, I gave them a call. Pressed option 2 for non-paying customer, pressed 2 to change listing info and got a rep on the line.

I told the rep I’m interested in changing the categories and he said sure, no problem. I asked to have the primary category set to Criminal Defense Attorneys and removed secondary. He said it should take 24-48 hours to process and that was it.

Call lasted less than a minute. I’m writing this the next day (10:22am my time) to let you know the change was processed.

Again, the CitySearch/CityGrid support-line number is (800) 611-4827.

I’m guessing this would work even on an unclaimed CitySearch listing, too.  Sometimes CitySearch can be buggy when you’re trying to claim or log into your listing.  Haven’t tried it on an unclaimed listing yet, though.

Any tips on dealing with CitySearch listings in general – especially the categories?

Any category-related tips on other sites?

Leave a comment!


  1. Phil,
    As we discussed, we wrote about our experience adding a Citation on ExpressUpdate and having it propagate to CitySearch, CityGrid and InsiderPages all automagically within 2 days – Our entries have the same categories on all three sites.
    What we just did is modify the categories on ExpressUpdate and we’ll see how long (or if) they update to the same three sites. We’ll let you know what we find. But our initial efforts have led us to believe that (at least for new entries) putting your info into ExpressUpdate (InfoGroup) will get you the other 3 “for free”

    • Scott, that’s not quite what I’ve found. ExpressUpdate pushes info (including categories) to CityGrid properties, but on some sites (like CitySearch) it seems you can override those categories manually. Case in point: the client I mentioned still has “Attorneys” as her ExpressUpdate category, but “Criminal Defense Attorneys” on CitySearch.

      • Phil,
        Indeed, you can update CityGrid and CitySearch directly if you want to – my point was that by updating ExpressUpdate you will get the changes made there “pushed” to the other three. We just made some new changes on ExpressUpdate and they were pushed to all three (InsiderPages, CitySearch, CityGrid) within 4 business days.
        What is interesting though is that we chose 4 categories on ExpressUpdate for our business – and while the categories on IP, CS and CG are identical, they are in different order and also slightly different category names than what we originally put into ExpressUpdate. So – it seems like all 3 get the same info syndicated at the same time, and the “cooking” of the categories is all the same – but the order they are displayed is different. Not sure that really matters, but just an interesting nuance.
        So, I think we’d simply suggest that folks update their ExpressUpdate profile and let EU take care of updating IP, CS and CG. Do you have a scenario where it makes sense for somebody to update one of the other three properties directly if they know they can get all three updated via EU within a few days?

        • Scott, the EU categories don’t seem to match the ones on CitySearch (I can’t speak to other CG properties, like InsiderPages and JudysBook). In the specific situation I cited EU didn’t have a category for “Criminal Defense Attorneys.” That’s a situation where just dealing with EU may not cut the mustard.

          • ok, fair enough. As I mentioned, I did notice a difference between the categories I selected in EU and what got syndicated to the other three (which were all the same, BTW).
            I find that a bit odd that EU would have fewer categories.
            Did you find that when you changed the category to “Criminal Defense Attorney” on CS that it helped with SEO when you would do a search? I’m just curious regarding effort to update vs. benefit – since this requires knowing all the available categories on all citation sites, right?

          • Good question, Scott, but it’s too early to tell if/how that category update helped. I doubt updating CitySearch categories in itself would do much; in this case, on other sites there were categories we had to tune up, so there’s a little dust flying.

  2. It seems claiming a listing on MerchantCircle is not free anymore.It now costs $9.91 per month

    • Wow, interesting. They are advertising it here in the US as an “upgrade” to their Pro tier for $9.99/mo – and you can cancel after the first month (which is free) – but no way to exit out and just stick with their free tier. Not a fan of this approach, but I’m sure plenty of people “forget” to cancel and they are making a few bucks this way. There should still be a way to decline this promotion and stick with the free tier – it does not appear this option exists (even in small print).

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