Yext Debuts Content Directory Service With AOL MapQuest

Mapquest-B2The Web creates a business directory for consumers looking for answers, but updating consistent information across dozens of sites remains one of the biggest headaches for marketers -- not just location, but who, what, when and how. Yext introduced a dashboard Tuesday that allows companies to maintain information on dozens of sites simultaneously across desktop and mobile.

In addition to location information, the dashboard will provide a way to change and update bios, calendars, menus and products and services. The Yext tool, PowerListings+, supports content on search engines, mapping services and mobile apps to provide a complete picture of the business on more than 45 local search engines, local directories and mobile applications. Take an exercise class, for example. Businesses can now include the class schedules along with the location of the gym.

The service launches in beta with AOL's MapQuest, and Yahoo, according to Howard Lerman, Yext CEO and co-founder -- aimed at increasing foot traffic from online searches. Staff bios highlight those supporting the business, event calendars improve community interest, and menus add details to local listings.

Yext shares revenue with publishers like MapQuest and Yahoo, Lerman said.  

Lerman said relationships with dozens of sites and directories enable companies to update and index the information instantly. These lists are updated in real-time and tailored to each location. "Today's local search is okay at answering location questions, but it doesn't answer the 'who' question," he said. "That's important when you're looking for a doctor."

About three dozen engineers support the platform and many of them came from Google, Lerman said. He defines the company as a "location, information software company," making it possible for businesses like Sears to put all their location information into the cloud and append the digital versions of circulars and menus and sync it across dozens of places. It's all about the location and information data.

The service supports 14 of the top 100 U.S. retailers, such as Sears, to update their location data, and "we expect all to append their weekly special circular data to the service. It works not just with retailers, but also services and restaurants. People search for Kenmore, not just a Sears location. Lerman said search engines need to have access to that data, making it searchable.

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