Yext Powerlistings Alternatives: How to Better Manage Your Citations?
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You’ll often hear the term “online citations” used in tandem with “Yext Powerlistings.” It’s one of the most popular listings management products out there – but it’s not the only one.
Today, we want to talk about alternatives to Yext Powerlistings, as well as our own process for handling citation management. Our goal is to share our procedures to better inform (and potentially serve) small to mid-sized businesses that don’t need to pay exorbitant amounts of tools like Yext Powerlistings.
Let’s get into it.
Why Is Citation Management Important?
First things first: why do citations matter? What’s the big deal?
The simplest answer is that citations validate your business. They indicate that your business is a part of a community and/or industry. Without them, you’ll struggle to prove your legitimacy to search engines and real searchers.
The importance of citations falls heavily on your local pack rankings in Google search. When Google finds info about your business and/or website from other online directories, it wants to see that the information aligns with information on other sources.
If there are discrepancies in your listings amongst different directories, Google essentially flags your business as questionable.
All of your basic information (name, address, phone number) is important to Google. They want to see consistency and know who your business really is.
Why We Used Yext for Citation Management?
Years ago, when we were creating and managing citations for clients, we relied heavily on Yext Powerlistings.
Yext had partnered with roughly 80 other citation sites, which meant that upon subscription, we gained access to listings and distributions for a large swath of directories. Even though it was a pricey subscription, Yext’s Knowledge Graph and other resources made the price seem worthwhile.
The subscription service also had add-ons for specific listings such as:
- Health Practices
Opting for these add-ons generated listings in an additional 10 industry-specific directories.
Why We Decided to Cancel Yext Powerlistings?
There’s a reason we talk about Yext in the past tense, even though it’s still a popular service today: we left the company in search of a better, more affordable citation management solution.
Some of the reasons we left Yext:
- It cost a whopping $12,000/year for our bulk location discounts
- The data isn’t permanent – it reverts to its pre-Yext state once you leave the service.
- Most of the 80 sites featured are actually low in value.
- Many of the niche directories included don’t accept new business listings.
- There are no white-label services.
- Yext has many features, but we didn’t use most of them, including
- Yext Pages
- Yext Analytics
- Reputation Management/Review Monitoring
- App Directory
All of these factors pulled together made Yext a poor match for our particular needs. Sure, if you are managing hundreds of thousands of locations for one business, Yext might provide the broad services you need.
However, if you’re like Foxxr Digital Marketing and mostly have small to mid-sized clients with single locations, you don’t need huge data updates on a regular basis. You also probably don’t need to spend $12K a year on all of Yext’s features.
Overall, we saw minimal effects on some of our clients’ rankings after canceling their subscription due to COVID. This was just another sign that we’d made the right call to end our partnership.
Alternatives to Yext Powerlistings:
Don’t worry – we won’t just leave you hanging after dishing out dirt on Yext. It’s a great tool for some, but just not for us. Instead, we’ve found several great alternatives that are more affordable and properly fitted to our needs.
Let’s start by talking about BrightLocal, an all-in-one marketing software that makes business listings, keyword tracking, reporting, GMB Optimization, and online reputation simple. We have been using BrightLocal for nine years now.
Not only is this service substantially cheaper than Yext, but it also offers a free two-week trial with no card required. Its citation builder tool creates listings for the low cost of $3 per citation.
Other BrightLocal benefits:
- Users are given the chance to select the sites they want to be listed on.
- There’s a citation tracking tool for managing/monitoring citation statuses.
- It provides a list of potential citations and competitor citations.
- Subscribers are able to check their own citations on suggested sites.
- The service offers citation clean up options to update your outdated info.
All in all, our teams at Foxxr Digital Marketing found BrightLocal to be well worth its price considering its easy management and monitoring of directories, data aggregators, and listings.
2. Manual Discovery of Citations by Foxxr Digital Marketing
Our changes after Yext didn’t just stop with using BrightLocal. We also decided to take things into our own hands by developing a proper workflow for listing management.
The three steps of Foxxr Digital Marketing’s citation process are:
- Find existing listings and perform a cleanup.
- Discover duplicate listings on directories and their suppression.
- Identifying new opportunities and creating listings.
To begin, we use the NAP Hunter chrome extension. This allows us to locate existing listings and profiles of our client’s business.
Then, we’ve created our own Google sheet to manually track listings and statuses. It might not be the fanciest, flashiest way, but it’s extremely effective considering its cost (free).
When searching for duplicates and removing inconsistencies, we start our hunt manually. Then, we reach out to directories asking them to suppress duplicate listings and rectify inconsistencies.
This is where BrightLocal comes into play once again. This service helps us create listings on the four biggest data aggregators:
In free industry directories, we create listings ourselves. When we need to create listings on paid directories where high ranking competitors are listed, we work with our clients to purchase the paid subscriptions.
Our listing management services also included a branded search for every client to ensure their top-ranking properties on the search result page have the correct details. We also double-check meta descriptions to ensure they’re optimized.
3. Local Directories and Niche Management
When looking for industry and local directories, we use a series of search queries. This allows us to check for existing listings. Our most common searches include:
- [location] business listings
- [location] business directory
- [location] directory
- [business type keyword] business listings [location]
- [business type keyword] business directory [location]
- [business type keyword] directory [location]
Using BrightLocal’s GMB audit report, we check for top directories and ensure businesses are accurately listed. If they’re not, or there is no listing, we’ll fix and create them.
Importance of Brand Audit
The ultimate goal is always to get your domain to that coveted number one position on Google Search. When somebody searches for your brand or location, your Knowledge Panel should immediately pop up, providing your searcher with accurate, professional information.
A brand audit ensures that you are properly optimized for high search rankings in all aspects. Similarly, your ads should rank at the top position for your branded search query.
At Foxxr Digital Marketing, our goal is to help Google view your business as two things: trustworthy and reputable.
Auditing your current listings and SEO helps us understand if we’re sending the right signals – and how we can improve our messages to Google. We ensure your social media profiles and information is all correct while also checking for any negative reviews or feedback.
Our team also checks on your GMB profile – if you have one. We’ll create/optimize your profile to ensure you have a 100 percent solid presence in search results on Google.
BBB Listing Creation
The BBB badge is one of the most recognized trust badges you can get. There is a monthly fee to be accredited but we have found that the badge helps with conversions.
A big rule of thumb for our listing management team is to always, always respond to complaints on the BBB. Not addressing negative feedback causes your BBB rate to plummet – even from an A+ to a D.
Therefore, if you want to list your Better Business Bureau badge on your site, you need to know that you’re monitoring your rating avidly. Keep the badge in an easily visible spot and encourage people to click on it.
Why do we care so much about the BBB? In our experience, it’s the only other third-party site (aside from government websites) that Google actually accepts as evidence of credibility.
- You can reply to a BBB complaint at any time.
- The BBB takes down the complaint when they reopen the case.
- You have three months to respond to/resolve an active/open complaint.
- The BBB removes complaints after three years.
- Reviewers cannot complain about a business twice on the BBB.
- The BBB automatically creates listings for businesses once a consumer files a complaint.
- The BBB revokes accreditations for businesses with multiple complaints/multiple unaddressed complaints
Although Google does not use the BBB directly in its algorithms, it certainly does play a role in Google’s perception of your business. You need to keep up with your listings, both for the sake of your accuracy with the BBB and for Google.
Setting Up the Business on Wikidata
We want to briefly touch on Wikidata. Wikidata is the centralized data repository for all Wikimedia projects.
This can serve as a relevant company data repository where you store rich, accurate data. Midsized companies often benefit from Wikidata, as long as they have more than 20 people.
One of our jobs as an SEO and listings manager is to ensure quality data is reusable. We want your information on Wikidata to be sourced from reliable sites, accurate, and usable for the foreseeable future.
Why do we care about setting your business up on Wikidata? Well, it helps you appear in the Knowledge Panel of Google – something that matters quite a bit for your SERP goals.
Types of Citations We Work On
Data Aggregators: Expressupdate, Neustar Localeze, Factual, and Foursquare
- Directories like Yelp, which accepts businesses of all categories
- Niche-related/industry-specific directories
- Regional-specific/state-specific directories
- Unstructured citations like blogs and newspapers
Directory Management When You Relocate
Moving locations? There are tons of listings to update – and we’ll do that for you.
It’s vital that you update all of the major data providers and directories with your new address. Don’t forget about your niche directories that only apply to your industry – these are extremely important and often easy to ignore.
What NAP Variations Should You Bother Cleaning Up?
Last but not least, let’s talk about the NAP. When do you need to change your name, address, and/or phone number? When should you leave small variations alone?
1. Slightly Different Name
As long as your business’s name in the listing is close or contains the correct name, you can ignore the slight variation. You’ve got bigger fish to fry.
For example, if your business name is Bob Smith State Farm and you have a listing that shows State Farm Insurance Bob Smith, don’t sweat it.
2. Totally Different Name
If the name on the listing is totally different (ie. “McDonald’s” instead of “Wendy’s”), you need to make a change ASAP.
3. Address Is Correct but Slightly Off
Is the listing missing a suite number? Is it slightly abbreviated? Don’t worry – Google won’t count these small inconsistencies against you.
4. City Name Is Wrong
This is fine as long as the zip code is correct. Sometimes, cities and zip codes are somewhat blurred, so as long as you have the right zip code and people can find you on a map, you’re good.
5. Street Name Is Wrong
Absolutely change this – even if it’s just “Clark Spring Ave” versus “South Clark Spring Ave.” The street name should be 100 percent accurate – otherwise, people might get lost when using driving directions to get to your location.
6. Address Is Completely Different
Change it. Period.
7. Phone Variation
Let’s say that your phone number is inaccurate, but it still rings to your business. That’s fine. However, if the phone number cannot reach out and is not associated with your business, fix the listing.
8. Website URL Variation
If the domain listed on the citation is not the one for your website, change it. Always try to update your links as often as possible – especially after a domain move or name change.
Small changes, such as a switch from HTTP to HTTPS, don’t require attention.
What You Need to Know About Third-Party Citation Tools (Yext, Moz Local, etc.)?
At the end of the day, there are some big things to keep in mind about the big third-party citation tools.
- You’re essentially giving the tool the right to make changes to listings.
- Third-party tools can also have incorrect information.
It’s extremely important that you always ensure third-party tools have information that is identical to what you’re currently using in your Google My Business profile. Just because a tool is popular doesn’t mean it’s totally error-free.
How Many Citations Do You Need?
A great rule of thumb is to be listed (or included) in at least 30 or 40 of the top citations in your industry and country. Start by looking at Whitespark – they have a list of the top citations to look through, both generally and by industry.
Pay close attention to niche directories in your particular industry. These are hidden gold mines for your brand because they don’t apply to everyone and therefore offer less competition.
Want to know if a citation is worthwhile? Take a look at the listings for your competitors on that directory. Are they indexed on Google?
For example, Local.com feeds to hundreds of smaller directories on newspaper sites. Therefore, if you have one wrong listing on Local.com, you might actually have hundreds of incorrect listings on other directories.
It’s common for SEO companies to include hundreds of sites on their citation audits. This works great as a scare tactic, but don’t let it stress you out – Google doesn’t generally index content that:
- Adds no extra value
- Has information that is already present on other sites
Instead of spending tons of effort focusing on duplicate citations, focus more on citations that are related to your industry with a decent domain authority (DA).
Quality citations allow you to really tell Google what you’re about. When a dentist gets links and citations from sites specifically about dentists, that weighs heavily in Google’s opinion.
Do Citations Still Matter?
The short answer is “yes.” Citations definitely matter, despite the buzz in many communities that citation building might not be the best local SEO tactic for today.
Years ago, Local SEO Guide found that “for competitive searches and in competitive markets, [citations] are a poor differentiator between businesses.” In other words, if you are in a competitive space and your only backlinking strategy involves citations, you aren’t doing enough to rank.
This caused some people to think that they weren’t important, and conversations about the relevance of citations ignited. However, in today’s world, most SEO experts will tell you that citations still matter.
Citation building is a fundamental part of learning to rank on Google, regardless of your industry. It’s a vital way to reach out to local markets and say, “Look at me! I’m a real, valid organization/business.”
Don’t focus all of your energy solely on citations, but definitely include them in your overall SEO goal development and planning.
We’ve covered a lot in this post, from the very basis of citation management to various tools and techniques for tackling the process.
If you’re shelling out thousands for products like Yext Powerlistings, you do have other choices. At Foxxr Digital Marketing, we provide total digital marketing and SEO services created for businesses just like yours – not huge chains.
Talk to us about what you need. Our pros will handle your reputation management to-dos and ensure your listings are up to date. All you need to do is schedule a time to talk to us.