One of the most frequent questions I get (especially after this review on Yext) is how a manual citation building services, such as ours, compares with an automated listings distribution service, such as Yext. I will cover the comparison points one-by-one below.
Yext’s network currently consists of 42 platforms, and they have less public relationships with a few more. For instance, I have noticed that one of the most active “users” on Brownbook.net is “Yext”. It is to be noted that Yext offers its services only for US-based businesses (although some time ago Howard Lerman, CEO of Yext, mentioned to me that they were looking into expanding internationally in 2013).
A manual citation building service could potentially cover as many platforms as necessary. Some businesses might already be found on a number of sites, so these might also need to be excluded from the process. At the same time, the competition from industry to industry and from location to location varies greatly. For example, 40 citations might be more than enough for a pet groomer in Rancho Cuccamonga, CA, but even 100 might be completely insufficient for a criminal defense attorney in Los Angeles, CA. Additionally, a manual citation building service could potentially be offered to businesses anywhere in the world. We, for instance, offer it for the United States, Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Germany, France, Spain, Ireland, Singapore, Malaysia, Bulgaria, Dubai.
Most of the listings submitted through Yext get updated instantly. According to their tech specifications files, the following listings get updated slower:
- 411.com – 1-3 business days
- Citysearch – 2-24 hours
- HopStop – 2 minutes
- Local.com – 24 hours
- MapQuest – 30 minutes
- PhonePages – 1-3 business days
- Superpages – 1-4 business days
- Switchboard – 1-3 business days
- Topix – 24 hours
- Whitepages – 1-3 business days
- Yahoo! – 48-72 hours
- YellowPageCity – 24 hours
- Yelp – 1 hour
With the manual approach it really depends on the website. For instance, listings on sites such as CitySquares, EZLocal, GetFave, MojoPages, ShowMeLocal, Tupalo, are created/updated immediately. However, listings on sites such as Yahoo! Local might take more than a month to be set up or fixed. Additionally, as the service is manual, it might not be possible for your listings to be created in the same moment you submit your order. With our service, for instance, it takes 20-25 days to deliver the final report with all the completed work.
Obviously Yext offers an automated service and the personalization with such services is normally put to the minimum. You can choose a package, but the websites that are included in it would be pre-determined. You can also choose which listing to be updated (only one per platform), but again – you can choose just from listings on sites that are part of Yext’s network.
A manual citation building service allows for much more personalization. This is crucial point with the current stage of online marketing. Both in terms of general exposure and SEO value the platforms vary significantly from niche to niche. An interesting study by GetListed and Whitespark showed some time ago how different the most important citation sources for different industries and cities were. One great disadvantage of the current version of Yext is that it doesn’t deal with duplicate listings, i.e. it is limited to one listing per website. This limitation could easily be overcome with using a manual citation building service. In our process, for instance, one of the most important tasks is checking for duplicate listings and removing them.
4. Completeness of the profiles
Yext has deep integration with most of the platforms in its network. That is why they are able to provide a lot of information to make each listing as complete as it is impossible to become unless one is a Yext subscriber. As I have previously written, completeness of profiles is an indirect ranking factor in local search, so this is an important point.
A manual citation building service can generally offer two types of profiles:
- Basic profiles
- Enhanced profiles
Basic profiles are the free business profiles that most business directory websites offer. Unfortunately, in many cases these basic profiles allow for much less information to be added to a listing than if these were paid enhanced profiles. Some manual citation building service providers (such as ourselves) have different types of relationships with some of these business directories and are able to provide enhanced profiles at no added cost. These enhanced profiles are very close to the profiles created via Yext.
5. Subscription period
Yext’s subscription period is 1 year. After 1 year, unless one decides to continue subscribing, the listings are taken down or revert back to the stage they were in prior to the initial subscription. This is something I wrote about recently.
Howard Lerman, CEO of Yext sent tweeted the following in regards with this comment:
@Nyagoslav Core listing data doesn't revert back. It is updated permanently. We just release our control.
— Howard Lerman (@howard) July 25, 2013
I will be following up on this as there is obviously some discrepancy between what is being shared in the Yahoo! Localworks FAQ (which is white-labeled Yext, as already mentioned) vs. what Howard claims.
Most manual citation building services are one-time offers. This means that once the process of claiming/submitting/editing is finished, the listings will not disappear or revert back to how they were (incomplete, incorrect, unclaimed). Furthermore, ours, and other citation building services, allow for ongoing citation building, i.e. adding new citations every month for a period of a few months.
6. Total cost
The total cost for Yext’s main package is $499/year. Cheaper rates could be obtained from resellers. For instance, SEOmoz paid subscribers can get Yext PowerListings for as low as $75/year. Yahoo! Local offers the same service, white-labeled as Yahoo! Localworks, at $89.95/quarter.
The rates for different manual citation building services differ. There are providers that offer citation building for as low as $1/citation, and as high as $5/citation. Generally, based on personal observations and experience, higher rates suggest higher quality. Our citation building service rates, for instance, are $50 set-up fee + $3/citation.
Both Yext and manual citation building have their advantages and disadvantages. Which one should be chosen highly depends on the situation and the needs.