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Topping search results relies on appearing on wide range of publisher sites: study lends credence to the power of retail media

With less than With less than 1% of customers referencing the second page of results, ranking at the top of the Google SERP has been the cornerstone of an effective SEO strategy. However, as search algos and AI become ever more refined, getting those rankings requires more than just some good use of keywords and more on appearing as widely as possible across the web. And that means leveraging a network of independent publishers.

Assessing just how important this is, new research by Yext, a leading digital presence platform for multi-location brands, has found a strong correlation between managing information across an extended publisher network and an increase of +186% more clicks from Google.

Yext analysed more than 620,000 global locations across 15 industries managed within the Yext platform and found that locations syncing data with less than 50% of Yext’s network – which consists of more than 200 publishers – saw the least amount of website traffic from Google. 

The data also indicated that locations syncing 50-75% of Yext’s network saw an average +95% increase in website clicks from Google, while locations syncing more than 75% of Yext’s network saw a +186% increase. Additionally, the data showed over +17% of a typical location’s website traffic came from non-Google publishers.

The results highlight the importance of smaller and niche publishers in delivering best-in-class organic search performance through consistent and accurate information. 

In an environment where every company is rethinking their SEO strategies, these findings provide a path to accelerating improvement in organic search results. How brands prepare today will prevent missed opportunities tomorrow.

Changing habits

Today, most brands are still heavily focused on driving traffic from Google, which makes sense: at least 83% of customers look for information there before visiting a brand location.

But as search evolves and customer behavior changes, syncing information to an extended network of publishers is important far beyond Google. It sets brands up to win in an increasingly fragmented search landscape.

Beyond Gartner’s prediction about AI chatbots and other virtual agents taking search share of voice, social media search is also on the rise. According to Google, nearly 40% of Gen Z may prefer searching on TikTok and Instagram over Google Search and Maps. In Europe, brands are already noticing a decline in Google traffic due to the implementation of the Digital Markets Act — making other publishers more important.

No matter where a brand operates, non-Google publishers might already matter more than you think: the typical location sees over 17% of all their digital engagement (including website traffic and detailed profile views) come from non-Google publishers.

“It’s been a common misconception in the industry that limiting information management to a few major publishers is enough to win in organic search. Our research clearly shows the importance of showing up consistently and accurately across a broad network for stronger discoverability,” says Christian J. Ward, EVP and Chief Data Officer of Yext. “Companies who are showing up across all search engines, AI tools, social media, and other emerging channels will be best positioned to win.” 

Check out the full report here

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