Being a local business owner in 2015 means you probably have a love/hate relationship with online directories. When all the directories have consistent, accurate information about your business, they work in your favor and help you connect with countless new customers in the area. But when your listings don’t sync up, they can hurt your web presence and keep locals from finding you. Yext, a technology company founded in 2006, hopes to simplify this complicated relationship by acting as the middleman between local businesses and online directories. But how beneficial is Yext for the long-term web presence of local businesses? We’ll take a look in this edition of “Prospect Genius Reviews…”
First, let’s briefly explain what Yext does. Its bread-and-butter service is called “PowerListings.” Yext creates a business profile for each client using basic information (e.g. company name, business category, address, phone number, website URL, etc.). Then, using that information, it creates listings on a network of 49 online business directories. The aim here is to make businesses more visible on the web and to rank well in local search results. Importantly, a Google My Business listing is not included in Yext’s PowerListings.
Yext also provides its clients with the option to build their own location pages. These pages are designed using basic SEO features, such as site titles, URLs, and sitemaps. They can be integrated with a business’s PowerListings.
What draws most people to Yext is that it involves a single point of contact for the user. Once you submit your business’s information, you’re done. If you ever want to update a piece of information on your listings, you can submit an edit through the main dashboard and see your update go live relatively quickly. In the short term, it’s an efficient way for busy business owners to make sure all of their listings are kept consistent, particularly when a big change (e.g. relocation, new store hours) occurs.
However, Prospect Genius reviews Yext with some hesitation. One major problem is that Google listings are not included in its PowerListings network. While citation-building and on-page optimization are two important parts of local SEO, Google listings must be optimized, as well, in order to see any significant level of success. Some business owners have already set up or claimed their Google listings on their own, but many haven’t.
Furthermore, Yext leaves a lot of the work to the business owner. For example, with its location pages, Yext creates the template’s bare bones and adds your basic company info, but it’s up to you to fill out the rest. You’ll have to write all of your own content and add any customized features yourself. This often feels like a chore to many business owners, so they neglect to personalize their page and thus miss an opportunity to attract new customers. Meanwhile, with its PowerListings, Yext scans and monitors your listings for duplicates (which are harmful to SEO), but it will only notify you if there’s a duplicate. It won’t take any action on its own. As with page personalization, it’s a mistake to expect small business owners to find the time or energy to check their Location Manager regularly and take action on duplicate listings.
Overall, Yext is a dependable service for when you need to make sweeping changes to all of your listings in a time crunch. However, if you’re looking to build a more comprehensive web presence, you’ll need a more hands-on advertising company, one that will build you an optimized, multi-page website with plenty of unique, professionally written content and actively monitor and update your listings on your behalf.
Next time on “Prospect Genius Reviews…,” we’ll discuss YP (YellowPages.com) and assess how it has transitioned from print directory to online directory.