My Thoughts on Where Yext Fits Into a Local Search Marketing Plan

MIHMORANDUM NO. 1476 | May 23rd, 2012Reader Comments (21)

Disclosure: GetListed.org, a company where I serve as president, currently receives a small referral fee from both Yext and Localeze for business owners we send their way & sign up for a paid account. 

Reader Kat Taylor recently commented on my Local Search Ecosystem post, as well as Kelly Marsh (comment), and a dozen or so people have asked me privately via email what my thoughts are on Yext vs Localeze vs Infogroup, etc.  So I thought I’d respond publicly to lower my response time on future queries :)

As I said to Kat,

Localeze and Yext are fundamentally different propositions. Localeze and Infogroup are essential to long-term success in Local. Yext should be used

a) only AFTER claiming your listing at ExpressUpdateUSA and Localeze
b) businesses just getting started in both the online and offline world OR
b-2) businesses who need an immediate boost to their citation profile & don’t have time or expertise to claim listings across the rest of the ecosystem

[[from Mike Blumenthal: c) where time is more valuable than money and you use Yext for claiming secondary directories. ]]

Simply put, Yext is NOT a substitute for managing your business information at major aggregators.

The analogy of building a house is probably over-used, but it fits here.  Let’s say your entire digital online presence is your house.  Your basic business information is the foundation.  Your website, NAP information, and blog are the studs of the house.

Seeding your NAP with major (permanent) data aggregators is the equivalent of your house’s drywall and insulation.  This is absolutely critical if you’re going to have a house that will stand up to the “winds of change” at Google Places, the mobile space, etc., etc., etc.

Yext provides a valuable service that is more like wallpaper in your nicest, most public-facing room.  It’s NOT a permanent solution, nor is it a substitute for drywall.  Only an idiot contractor would try to build a house with wallpaper glued directly to the studs, with no insulation in between.  Like wallpaper, Yext can hide a lot of fundamental problems in the construction of your Local SEO house…but don’t be an idiot contractor and think that it’s a permanent long-term solution.

And not every house needs wallpaper.  Going around and claiming your listing directly at all the places Yext syndicates to is a more permanent solution, but does require work and you will have to be patient going through all of the various approval processes.  And as Chris Gregory astutely observes, Yext may not override previously claimed listings at major portals like Yelp, etc.

My conclusion about the value of Yext is essentially the same as Mike’s:

It definitely makes the Local process more time-efficient.

It may lead to an additional 5-6-7 quality citations if your business has not already claimed them.

It may not be as cost-efficient as outsourcing to reputable companies for manual claiming. Companies (and clients) choosing this option have to be patient, however, and have at least some faith in the outsourced provider that they’ll do what they promise they’re going to do and not hijack an account.

21 Responses to “My Thoughts on Where Yext Fits Into a Local Search Marketing Plan”

  1. Adam Kaufman says at

    First of many questions. Does Yext Add new Profiles or claim existing data. In addition, what do they do, if anything about duplicate or old data?

  2. Andrew Beckman says at

    David, we agree with you that Yext does not take place of managing local business listings, and the speed of the data implementation is the main key feature of this service. If Mapquest, Yelp, Yellowpages is your top priority than focusing on Yext is a solution.

    Speed of implementing business information does not necessarily help you with Google. You still need Googlebot to crawl the page your citation appears on, and wait for their algo to update.

  3. Mike Blumenthal says at

    @Adam

    Yext does claim anything at its participating directories, it corrects and enhances the data that is already there or adds it if it is not there. The listing remains unclaimed at these sites. It essentially matches the data to an existing listing. If there was a duplicate at one of the directories before, I doubt that this will fix it as that task falls to the directory itself.

  4. Adam Kaufman says at

    Hi Mike,
    If you are not claiming and deleting duplicate listings, doesn’t it make the process close to useless? Not to plug our service, but we delete all duplicate listings when we work on data. Duplicate can also mean close to duplicate. Like a slight difference in the address or Google pulling business registration data that uses the same address and phone. Also, what does Yext do about informing businesses that they are using a PO box. Do they educate the business on best practices? Or will they just update it, regardless?

  5. Brian Coryat says at

    Hi David,

    Very well put and we agree with you. We believe that Yext is the right platform for businesses that want to push out their data over several local search portals very quickly and painlessly. My understanding of their platform is that it also provides another benefit that allows the business to push out “specials” on a near real time basis.

    We feel strongly that there is no substitute for enhancing local listings with photos, videos, categories, full descriptions, keywords etc etc etc, and then of course Claiming/Merchant Verifying the listing.

    This is a very time consuming and not-fun process. We hire and train college interns who were pretty much born with a mouse in their hand and it still takes them about two full days to complete their first client. Over time, they can get the process down to about 4-5 hours. And, this is for the top-20 to 25 top tier local directories only!

    We have found that the painful process is well worth it as our clients have had significant results in their market.

  6. Joshua Gill says at

    I got the chance to do a product demo of Yext’s enterprise offering a week or so ago with Rob Renshaw. It was pretty amazing to watch in real time as he temporarily changed a live Trader Joes store listing on Superpages (I believe) to say “Hey Josh” or something like that in the specials/deals section of that listing by updating in Yext’s backend UI. He also said that they were deep in contract negotiations with Bing and would go live with them in a month or so. All of this does add value in my opinion when managing a large or mid sized chain or even a number of local listings for businesses that are educated on local and don’t mind spending some money to show up properly and quickly. Not to mention the ability to update coupons and deals as well as hours of operation quickly and efficiently. We always follow David’s advice to claim in the large aggregators to seed the proper NAP, but Yext is a welcome addition to speed up some of the other parts of the local that are tedious. Great post!

  7. Mark Bagley says at

    [I've not read all the replies to this post apologies if this is a repeat]

    Don, I don’t think that is what Yext is about, it is what I thought before I met them. To me it is about controlling leads to my business. By being able to send updates to every directory listing site for my business in real time then I get to control traffic to my business as I can post incentives (daily deals and specials) to these sites to drive traffic to my business all in my control. With Groupon you can’t take the offer back once listed and it can be a drain on the business.

    So I think it is amore about a better Groupon than it is about getting access to listings sites for your business easily.

    Mark

  8. Peter Troast says at

    David–

    Isn’t the key question about Yext their pricing model? Is there really justification for an ongoing monthly fee, that apparently lasts forever? If you stop paying, do they take your listings down?

  9. Nyagoslav says at

    I have a few thoughts about Yext, which I hope this is a right place to express.

    1) Good points:
    - fast synchronization of data across multiple platforms
    - providing the opportunity to include elements (special offers, video), which might not be available on some sites (even for paying customers)
    - statistics on impressions and clicks (unfortunately not granulated per site)

    2) Bad points:
    - once you buy the full package, that’s the list of sites you would be able to operate on period; you can’t get to the newly added to the package sites
    - the listings coming from Yext are unclaimed (lowers the value of the data a lot)
    - the duplicate listings are not taken care of
    - if you already advertise on some site, Yext won’t work for it (lowers the value of the full package)
    - the listings coming from Yext are not fully completed (lowers the value of the listings)
    - the sites on which the data is synced are limited number, in most of the cases these are not all the sites where the data is wrong, and there are many VERY important data providers and citation sites (for Google) that are missing (Yellowpages.com probably being the most notable example, to which I could add InsiderPages, Kudzu, DexKnows, MagicYellow, Manta, Brownbook, etc)
    - the price structure is strange – one is forced to purchase the product for a year, while at the same time the pricing is advertised as “per month”; very few businesses would need to change much of their core information over a period of one year, probably they’d just need to change the offers periodically; and as some of these sites produce as low as 5-10 impressions per month, I am not sure $500 for the yearly full package is a reasonable price

    Overall, I think Yext might be considered as an addition to a business’ local search strategy, but definitely there is a lot more to be done. If one relies only on Yext to get their business data straightened up, they might leave unhappy.

  10. Kelly Marsh says at

    Thanks for answering my question in this post!
    You have confirmed what I had been thinking. It is best to claim and manage listings for my clients myself, even if it takes a great deal of time. After all that is really what they are paying me for.

    Perhaps you can write a future post on reputable companies or outsourcers that build citations correctly and cheaply. Currently I have tried O-Desk, which can be more work managing a worker than it’s worth and a company called quality submissions which actually worked pretty well, but still had some mistakes.

    Thanks again,
    Kelly

  11. Joy Hawkins says at

    I agree with Adam. The lack of ability for Yext to deal with duplicate listings seems to make the service way less valuable. We tried them for several months and had some pretty bad experiences, a lot of which have been touched on by other comments here. Overall I don’t see how their cost justifies the service.

  12. Chris Reilly says at

    I cannot comment on the efficacy of Yext from a citation building perspective, but their marketing tactics have been very aggressive. I’ve had dozens of clients receive deceptive emails from them and ask if they are doing something wrong in local. Furthermore, their reputation they build with their pay-per-call business has been less than sparkly clean – for reference see Andrew Shotland’s post about Yext pay per call and the epic comment thread it inspired.

    Localeze and manual work have proven reliable in our shop.

    There needs to be a “canonical” way to update NAP across the web that is affordable and effective – if not for local SEO, for sheer data quality for consumer usage.

  13. PageInvasion says at

    I must say, I paid over $1000.00 to be a reseller, white label for localeze, at the time, I saw a lot of promise in that app. It was also when Yext wasn’t really off the ground yet, about 2.5 years ago if I remember right. I pushed LocalEze very hard, I really got behind it, signed customers up, marketed it, etc.

    I can’t tell you how disappointed I was with the results, I should say lack of results. I mean, literally, nothing happened to the traffic on my clients’ sites or their rankings. After about 6 months, I discontinued my partnership with them.

    Yext, on the other hand, especially more recently, post Panda, etc., seems to be a great tool, easy to use, cost effective, and I have seen some improvement in SERP’s for some of my clients after submitting and verifying accurate data on their listings.

  14. Chris G Tucker says at

    Yext has very very aggressive salespeople, that’s for sure! They really work you over, and if one does not sell you, they pound you with deceptive emails and phone calls. Plus, they are expensive! My problem is I have my company listed at 2 different addresses, one here in Brandon, and one in Tampa Florida.
    I have TRIED to manually change these incorrect listings, but it is not easy! I wish Yext had a competitor that offered what they do.
    I would pay 299.00 for their services. But they want 499.00, and that’s a lot of money to change 8 citations.

  15. Matthew Chan says at

    Thanks for the post, I’m currently working on SEO and Yext seems like a good short term investment but from an SEO standpoint to set yourself up for long term success a monthly payment of $400+ to keep your listings isn’t too good of a ROI. Thanks again for ExpressUpdateUSA and Localeze!

  16. G. Tavanlar IV says at

    My 3 cents:

    (1) Once upon a time, a person with a Sprint phone paid Zero Dollars and waited Zero Seconds for a new or updated profile to go live on Whitepages (and its mirror-sites 411, etc) . That option has now been replaced by Yext’s version of a Whitepages update: Pay us $99 and give us 3-5 Business Days.

    (2) In a year when small businesses struggling for visibility got a boost from no less than Google Inc — with programs such as California Get Your Business Online where one could get a website (through Homestead/Intuit), and a domain name totally free, and an option to get a Listings-Boost for less than $10 — gains from such initiatives were dampened by parallel developments in the same sphere as the growth in partnerships between online business directories and Yext, saw more and more sites charging a sudden fee to get listed, structured thus: $100 per site minimum, or a little less money a month for an impressive package of sites, provided you pay up for a YEAR!. Of course you can opt out, submit a free listing, and wait 3-6 months for signs of online life.

    3) What Yext truly brings to the online table is a way for business owners to secure, build, and enhance their online presence without going throught the usually tedious steps involved in doing so. What it doesnt tell you is that it simply replaces the web of forms, phonecalls, and verification emails that one has to navigate through to get listed when doing so manually, with another, more frightening game where the puzzle to solve is this: try to get Yext’s Customer Service number without first landing on a Enter-Your-Credit-Card-Information page.

    If I may borrow the Building-A-House analogy employed earlier in this discussion thread because it seems fitting (again) here…. Yext is like really like wallpaper, I agree. It is wallpaper for your car.

    ’nuff said!

  17. James says at

    Is there any efficient way to outsource these local listings? I’d love to be able to help clients register with their local listings, but it’s just so time-consuming to do it manually. Any other smaller firms to oursource this kind of stuff to that doesn’t result in so-so results?

  18. David Mihm says at

    Hi James,
    Both Nyagoslav Zhekov (http://www.ngsmarketing.com) and Darren Shaw (http://whitespark.ca) offer affordable, human-backed listing submission services.

  19. Timothy Hider says at

    At the end of the day, wouldn’t Yext be considered a competitor to Google? And should the descriptions in each of the categories be the same. It could be thought of as ‘lazy’ to purchase an aggregator and everything be the same. I understand that NAP is extremely important for consistency, however would Google consider this cookie cutter, lazy and penalize sites?

  20. Chris M says at

    One of the biggest problems we have is phone verification, we have a message that comes on first then our phone hunts to one of the three offices that isnt on a call. Usually we dont get past the “welcome” message. So I have to have our IT forward our phone number to my cell phone for a couple minutes while waiting for the verification call.

    Having a postcard sent is also sometimes annoying, I had to have google resend it three times.

    I just did a check on getlisted, and it said that two of the listings that I am 100% sure I have claimed are not claimed. Is there a process that getlisted does different then what I would do when I claimed them? I did phone verification on one of them (checked notes), I have seen same thing on yext before where it says it wasnt claimed but I did claim it already.

  21. Danielle says at

    Do Localeze listings revert back if you cancel their service like Yext listings do?

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