Cancelled Moz Local: How Many Listings Still Stand?

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Moz Local is a great tool.  I use it for a number of my clients, and often suggest it to others.  Having correct listings on the “local” sites that matter is a crucial one-time step if you want to improve your local rankings.

No tool is a silver bullet to create or fix all your listings.  Moz Local is no exception.  But it can save you some time and heartache, because typically it takes care of a handful of important listings that can be a pain for you to create or fix manually.

It’s just $84/year, so you’re probably not itching to cancel it.

But what if you do cancel, for whatever reason?

What happens to your listings?  Do they just go poof?

No, based what I’ve observed.  It seems any Moz Local-created listings stick around for at least 90 days, and probably much longer. (I’ll update this when I see how much longer.)

That’s the short answer.  If all you want to know is whether you need to scramble to work on your citations immediately after cancelling Moz Local, you’ve got your answer.  No need to read on.

Or, if you want more detail, in a minute you can read about the micro-study I did on this.

Some context

As you may know, Moz Local creates and fixes listings programmatically.  People aren’t doing it for you.  Moz Local has an API relationship with the local directories and other sites in its network, which is what allows it to publish or fix your listings on those sites for you, and in some cases to remove duplicate or incorrect listings that you don’t want.

That’s also why Moz doesn’t make any promises that your listings will stay up if you cancel Moz Local.  You could have created free listings on the sites in Moz’s network if you wanted to, but you opted to save yourself at least a couple hours of hassle and pay $84/year (a good call in most cases, in my opinion).  What you’re paying for mainly is Moz’s partnership with the various “local” sites.  Moz still has to pay them even if you cancel.  In effect, you’ve chosen to license your listings.

Long way of saying that if you cancel Moz Local, Moz will “release” control your listings.  At that point it’s up to each individual site what to do with your listing(s) in its directory.

I wanted to see how that actually plays out, so I did a little experiment.

The story behind the experiment

I don’t often have occasion to cancel a Moz Local subscription.  It’s only been around since March of 2014.  When I set it up for a client (not all of them), typically the client is with me for many months or for years.  Sometimes I set it up in my Moz account, or sometimes in theirs, depending on their preference.

Anyway, 3 months ago I did have the rare occasion to cancel Moz Local.  I’d set it up for a client in August of 2015.  We worked together for a couple of months, until he went on a long hunting trip that made it tough to do some steps that required teamwork.  (I suppose I could have done the aimless busywork that most SEO companies bill for, and continued to bill the guy until it cut into his ammo fund.)

His business hadn’t been online at all before we started working together.  The paint was still drying on his site.  As part of our broader work on local SEO, my helpers and I did some manual citation-building for him – on the sites that matter that Moz Local can’t reach.  That happened at the same time we set up Moz Local.  He didn’t have any listings on the sites in Moz Local’s network.  When they went up, they went up because of Moz Local.

My client still had 11 months left on his Moz Local subscription.  When renewal approached, I asked if he wanted to keep it around.  Never heard back.  So I took note of how many of his Moz Local-controlled listings were up and running before I cancelled, and then I cancelled.

The experiment

The cancellation was on July 24 of 2016.  Here, you can see my spreadsheet on the status of the Moz Local-controlled listings a few minutes before I cancelled:

Those listings were the same as they’d been 10 months before.  Didn’t lose any or gain any that Moz Local couldn’t create or update (e.g. Factual).

I checked the listings again on August 23, 30 days after I cancelled.  No difference.

Checked ‘em again on September 22, about a month ago.  Still there.

90 days after cancellation, on October 22 (a couple days ago) I checked them again.

 

The listings that were up when I cancelled are still up 3 months after I cancelled.

Conclusions

There were and still are a couple stragglers that never did get squared away, but my point is nothing has changed: The listings didn’t disappear.  You sign up for Moz Local to have it take care of listings on PITA sites like Acxiom, LocalEze, and CitySearch.  In this case, those listings went live without problems, and didn’t go up in smoke once I cancelled.

Now, this was a micro-study on only one case.  I’d say it was a telling case, because the business didn’t have any listings on Moz Local-controlled sites before we signed up.  We started with a clean slate: no duplicate listings, or existing listings that Moz Local had to fix.  Pretty clear before-and-after picture.

Just the same, I’ll keep an eye on what happens to the listings from here, and I’d like to see the results of a similar mini-experiment on a business in a different situation.  There are a few things I still don’t know:

  • Will the same listings still be up a year from now?
  • Did our manual citation-building (on sites not in Moz’s network) in any way make Moz Local-partnered sites more likely to keep listings around after cancellation?
  • If you use Moz Local to suppress duplicate listings, do those listings just pop up once you’ve cancelled? (I’m confident they would, and it’s just a question of when).
  • Will the correct listings remain up for a business that had “messy” listings (incorrect and duplicate listings) before signing up?

Moz Local’s very good FAQ gives some insights into those questions, and I have some theories, but it’s always good to see how things play out in the real world.

No matter what, Moz Local (or any other tool) should be only a part of your strategy to get your local listings built and fixed.  You also need to work on other sites Moz Local doesn’t reach, as well as on “niche” citation sources.

Have you ever cancelled Moz Local?  If so, what happened to your listings?

Any cancellation-related questions I didn’t address?

Leave a comment!

Comments

  1. This is great research, Phil! The way I read Moz’s FAQ on the topic, I expected that the listings would remain, but some of the enhanced data might get stripped. Essentially, the listings would revert back down to a free listing and would lose features like additional categories, longer descriptions, and images. Did you notice any changes to the listings?

    Another thought is that maybe it just hasn’t been long enough for the listings to revert/disappear. Moz has a paid agreement with the data aggregators for the listings, and while your account may have expired, their own internal cycle with the aggregators may still be active for a while. It will be interesting to see what happens in 6 months, and again in a year.

    • Hey, thanks, man!

      No enhanced data seemed to get stripped out of the listings. I wouldn’t be surprised if the URL field gets emptied on the LocalEze listing, because that’s a paid-only feature.

      I agree that the listings probably won’t be up forever – at least not all of ’em.

  2. Phil,
    This was a fabulous post. I have seriously always wondered this. Please do this on Yext next 😉
    I was curious about Factual and InsiderPages being yellow. So why wouldn’t Moz fix these issues in your opinion? I mean months going by after you paid and they still didn’t get a listing on InsiderPages would seem problematic. Did you ever get any feedback from Moz on why those issues were unresolved?

    • Hey, thanks, Joy. I just posted a similar answer to this over on Google+, so I’ll regurgitate here 🙂

      Nyagoslav did a great post on the topic several years ago, but his site is down. Here’s the thread at Linda’s forum: http://www.localsearchforum.com/local-business-citations/9499-when-you-cancel-yext-powerlistings-what-happens-citations.html

      I did a less-formal mini-experiment on Yext earlier this year. Not as many of the “released” listings disappeared as I expected, but some did, and apparently not because of fresh or conflicting data on the sites.

      Good questions re. Factual and InsiderPages. I didn’t look into them for this particular client. Considered contacting support for this post, but I figured a hands-off approach would be most telling. Anyway, Moz Local seems to have issues with InsiderPages. (Not that that site really matters anymore.) It’s possible they would have taken down the Factual duplicate had I used the duplicate-suppression feature, which I didn’t in this case, but Moz’s duplicate-suppression works better on some sites than on others.

    • Nyagoslav has an updated and detailed post on “what happens when you cancel Yext” coming out in the next couple of weeks.

  3. Good to know Phil. Thanks for documenting and sharing this!

  4. My experience with one of my former clients sounds identical to Phil’s. I too am watching and we are 60 days out from the cancellation. No change.

  5. Great write-up Phil! I haven’t had to cancel any Moz Local accounts for my clients yet, but I’m sure the day will come and I was definitely curious as to how things would play out. Looking forward to your intel for those remaining questions!

  6. Thank you Phil! We haven’t had to cancel many ML accounts, but this is good to know. This actually surprised me. Thanks!

  7. Directories are not in the business of removing listings. There’s no value in it for them. Most of these will stay eternally listed, for ever and ever.

    • That is reductive. Directories remove listings all the time, for one reason or another. (I’ve seen them do it post-Yext, too.) They value listings, but they also value data-hygiene, to one extent or another.

      You’re probably right that these particular listings will be around for a long time, but that’s an assumption worth testing.

  8. As Jeffrey suggests the listing will most likely stay forever. What we need to take into account is what’s known as “History of Object.” The aggregators, as well as the engines, take into account the last verified/refresh date. Best practice is to submit monthly to the aggregators and many of the engines. When Google gets the aggregator’s data they also receive the date it was last verified. I can’t say for sure but if I was Google I’d place a higher value on data that was recently verified then data that is stale.

    • I certainly know what you mean about the aggregators’ processes for keeping the data clean, but not sure I’ve seen what you’ve seen regarding the rest.

  9. Phil ~ What an awesome use of the word “reductive” – most excellent! I had to look that one up.

    Back in ’10 when I was pitched annual renewals from both UBL & Localeze I conducted my own research into whether there was any value in paying on-going for directory submissions. Localeze especially auto-renews listings and this can get rather costly. Is there any value to a business in paying annual renewals to Localeze? I’d say “ABSOLUTELY NOT” for most small businesses – unless their info changes. Once submitted those listings tend to remain. The same is likely true for Moz Local so if any small business has a tight marketing budget – I wouldn’t recommend renewing.

    I think a valuable takeaway from this research would be “These are the 5 significant directories that you should manually submit to if you cancel Moz Local”….

    • Hey Jeffrey,

      Glad I wasn’t recondite or otiose 🙂

      I agree about LocalEze. That was just a ripoff, at $300 a pop. (UBL wasn’t a great deal, either.) With Moz Local, though, it’s just so inexpensive, and I suspect any duplicates you squash would resurface if you cancel.

      But it’s definitely worth claiming your LocalEze and Acxiom listings if you ever cancel Moz Local. Rather than resubmitting. That’s an enormous pain on those two sites in particular, as you know.

  10. Wow, thanks for doing this Phil,
    Had no idea that the listing would stay up so long even after up to 90days. Great testing. I definitely do not have the patience haha.

  11. The major issue I have found with Mozlocal is that it only works if your listing information is correct when it was originally added. If you have change or update any of your NAP data, it won’t work. One of my clients had a major name change. Factual had not updated since February and Superpages, City Search, YP, Bing and Insiderpages stopped updating in June/ July. Moz also missed a handful of duplicates too. I agree no system is 100% but I would have been better off not using Mozlocal at all and just updating the citation sources myself.

    • I agree that the best route usually is the scenic, manual route. However, this post was about what happens when you cancel Moz Local, not about the pros and cons of using it in the first place.

    • Hey Jason,

      Moz Local routinely pushes out data to our partners so what you’re describing is atypical. While Factual only updates their database every several weeks, the other networks should update with new information within a few days, especially if the data is new.

      Send me an email at george [at] moz [dot] com and we’ll have an engineer check this out and see why those updates aren’t being pushed out. We’ve actually helped many businesses go through rebrandings and have had amazing success stories from that so I’m sure we can help your client too!

  12. I’ve only recently started using Moz for my clients and I had the concern that should I no longer continue to be their client what might be the issue of cancelling. Gratifying to hear it’s not all doom and gloom!
    I’d previously adhered to manual submissions to give greater control and to be honest as yet the results seem patchy at best but In fairness, it’s only been over a month. However, the real concern is that a lot of the directories don’t seem to be indexing at the moment, including Scoot, TouchLocal and Independent, for over 2 weeks now!

  13. avatar Russ Offord says:

    In the article it mentions ‘PITA sites’. In this case, what does ‘PITA’ mean?

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