Today I’m digging into what makes Yext a great tool, and some of the other technologies that are great alternatives to efficiently improve your local SEO, automating the process of managing your local citations.
Local Citations – The Quick Rundown
Local citations are the backbone of any great local SEO strategy, providing consumers with reliable business information such as name, address, and phone number (NAP), shown here in a Google search query:
Although shown in Google above, citations aren’t limited to Google — they can occur on local business directories, websites and apps, even social media platforms.
Having citations in place can help you be discovered by internet users and even improve your search rankings. The more your business appears in online listings (Yelp, the Yellow Pages, and the Better Business Bureau, for example), the more likely your website is to appear higher in search results.
When to Start Using a Citation Management Tool Like Yext
For local businesses, it’s never too early to focus on citation management as a tool to grow the business. Setting up Google My Business (GMB) is a great place to start, but it’s only the beginning, and while local citations might sound easy enough to handle on your own, it’s no walk in the park.
Between having to wait weeks to get your listing approved, to dealing with the process of managing the accuracy of this information across many platforms, local citation management can end up being a huge time sink. Enter, tools like Yext or Yext Alternatives.
The Pros and Cons of Working with Yext
Yext is one of the most popular citation management tools available today, trusted by many of the world’s big brands. Is it something you should consider? Here are some of the pros and cons of this popular tool.
Pros of Working with Yext
- It’s easy and efficient. Yext is one of the top citation management companies out there for a reason, and setup is super easy. You can send your business information out to 80 directories automatically, and the citations are up within 72 hours of submitting them.
- Listings get approved fast. Ordinarily it can take weeks or even months to get changes to your local listings approved, but with Yext, any changes you make to your local listings are approved within minutes.
- Visualize impact with an analytics dashboard. As with any SEO campaign, it’s important to be able to track your metrics to see what’s working and what could use improvement. Yext provides a dashboard with data so you can see how your users are viewing and interacting with your site from the local listings.
Cons of Working with Yext
- Citations are only temporary. When you purchase citations via Yext, they only last as long as you’re paying your monthly subscription fee. I like to think of this more like Yext is renting out the citation to you, versus selling it. Your listings will be revoked if you ever decide to cancel your plan. (Worse, potentially, they’ll actually revert back to whatever they were before you started using the tool.)
- It costs more than other citation management tools. The cost of Yext will run you at least $500 per year, which is more expensive than many of the Yext alternatives.
- You won’t get help for other local SEO tactics. Yext is great if you have an in-house SEO on your team, but if you don’t, you’ll need to find another way to add SEO strategy and best practices to your citation management, in order to maximize growth.
The Top 5 Yext Alternatives
If some of the downsides of the Yext platform caught your attention, rest assured that you have other options. Here are some great alternatives to Yext, and some common reasons why you might want to consider them when choosing where to invest resources in citation management.
Whitespark’s specialty in local SEO services makes them a great resource for any brick-and-mortar business. Their citation finder tool helps users create citations through locations, primary keywords, and competitor data. This enables users to make more strategic moves against the competition while improving local SEO efforts.
Great For: Businesses looking for a broader local SEO solution
Best Feature: Focusing on local search marketing, this Whitespark stands out as an alternative to Yext because of their breadth, offering data aggregator services, citation building, citation audit and clean up, and GMB services.
Worst Feature: Customer reviewers seem to agree that Whitespark isn’t great for smaller businesses who just need the basic local citation services.
Cost: Citations are $4-$5 per listing, and other services (like citation audit/cleanup, aggregation, and GMB services) are $129-599.
BrightLocal is an “all-in-one” local marketing platform, with a flexible business model that gives users different options to manage local listings: manual, direct-to-site submissions, or automated distribution. Going beyond just building citations, marketers who use this Yext alternative can choose to have their citations uploaded to a single aggregator (at a lower price point) or pay per listing (a feature that Yext does not offer).
Great For: Businesses looking for flexibility and control over their citations
Best Feature: BrightLocal’s flexible model helps businesses maintain control over their citations even if they part ways with Bright Local (i.e., you don’t have to worry about losing your rankings if you stop using the tool.)
Worst Feature: It’s worth noting that BrightLocal doesn’t integrate with as many business systems and applications as Yext does, so it might not be suitable if you’re in, say, a larger enterprise with a broad technology stack.
Cost: Manual, direct-to-site submissions are $2 to $3 each. Data aggregator submissions are $60 per year.
Moz Local is a platform that provides a centralized place for managing local citations. You simply provide your business information and Moz will automatically push it out to their partner networks. This Yext alternative platform integrates easily with social networks, too.
Great For: Your average local business with 1 or more locations.
Best Feature: Because Moz Local is part of the Moz family, it’s a good Yext alternative because businesses can benefit from the solution while integrating local citations into a broader SEO strategy that already leverages Moz.
Worst Feature: Just like Yext, Moz will remove your listings from platforms when you stop paying for their service.
Cost: $129-$299 per year, per business location (This alternative to Yext can be a more affordable option for integrating into your local SEO campaigns, but will widely vary depending on how many locations you have. Keep this in mind when calculating total costs.)
Recently acquired by Tripadvisor, SinglePlatform helps restaurants publish menu content and company information on web-based listings, social media platforms, review sites, etc. In this unprecedented time for the restaurant industry, SinglePlatform helps make it easy for restaurants to update their online presence, as menus are potentially changing more often, and customers are looking for reliable information about delivery/takeout options.
Great For: Restaurants owners who want a complete solution for managing local citations and other restaurant information.
Best Feature: Being specialized to a single type of business, SinglePlatform’s best feature is its ability to provide so much in a single place, dramatically reducing the amount of legwork required by restaurant owners, helping them publish menus along with their business info, in one easy tool.
Worst Feature: Of course, this Yext alternative isn’t going to work well for a business not in the restaurant industry.
Cost: Starts at $109 per month.
BirdEye is a broader online reputation management software, offering citation management as one of its many services. With 50+ global partners, BirdEye syncs any updates you make to your business information automatically, and then updates your information anywhere it appears on the web.
Great For: Any size business that’s looking for broader online reputation management in addition to citation management.
Best Feature: BirdEye leverages customer reviews as a competitive edge, helping customers receive and manage reviews efficiently. Companies can respond to text messages, Facebook messages, and web chats, all from within the BirdEye interface.
Worst Feature: BirdEye is much more expensive than other citation management tools on the market, and you can’t piecemeal out the citation management part. To make use of the BirdEye platform you have to get the whole suite of services, which may not be needed to suit your needs.
Cost: Pricing starts at $3,000 per year for small businesses and scales up from there for enterprise clients.
Citation Management Tool vs. Local SEO Agency
So where does citation management fit into your broader local SEO strategy? Are local citations enough to get you more traffic?
Although citation management software can be a pretty cheap and quick fix to get your business in front of more customers, it’s just one small sliver of the Local SEO pie.
That’s where partnering with an SEO agency (like Victorious!) can come in handy. SEO agencies that provide local SEO services will not only provide a fully exhaustive citation cleanup (unlike Yext and competitors, which are partnered with a set number of directories), but they will enable a more strategic approach to building citations, with a full SEO campaign to help you get that critical exposure to new customers.
An SEO partnership will help you align efforts across both on-page SEO and off-page SEO, helping you with local keyword research and aligning content marketing strategies with your organic opportunities to target geographic phrases, all of which will help Google understand when to return your pages in search results.
When partnering with an SEO agency, you’ll also have a set of eyes constantly double-checking that your citations are consistent and valuable. They’ll scour the entire web for inconsistencies and do a comprehensive citation cleanup, without any limitations.
So if you are able to invest in a larger local SEO campaign, you can hand off local citations to an SEO agency. But if you’re looking for a quicker fix and don’t have the budget to invest in a larger SEO solution, it will make sense to stick with Yext or the Yext alternative that makes most sense for you.