Local SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is a huge focus for small businesses owners and for Google itself. Since Google’s 2012 Venice update, there has been a series of algorithm updates towards local flavor on Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). With this focus on local search, there has been one topic that has stood out more than others – updated, accurate directory listings.
Small businesses often have listings on local directories, but it’s crucial to keep these listings up to date and accurate.
Now, this may seem easy on the surface, but when you step back and actually look at the directory listing environment, you’ll start to see a different story. There are thousands of directories out there, and more of them are popping up each day.
Take a look at the diagram below from Moz to get a better understanding of the directory listing landscape:
Still seem simple?
For small business owners, it’s pretty intense and could be very time consuming to manage all your various local directory listings. In an earlier local SEO article I wrote, I discussed breaking down the behemoth task of updating all of the directory listings that are out there in a way that is most time efficient for you and your business. One which way was to use a local listing management service that is set up to feed to these directories so that you don’t have to worry about every directory that exists out there.
Local directories do matter. They are a fundamental part of local search and are literally a driver of traffic to your physical location!
In this article, we’re going to explore the top 3 local listing management services – Yext Power Listing, Moz Local, and Advice Local – to determine which ones are going to be the most beneficial for your business.
Preface – Why Manage Your Local Directories?
Before diving into these directory comparisons, any small business should stop and think about what they’re looking for in these directories.
- Are you looking to correct wrong information on the web?
- Are you looking to correct listings after moving your business?
- Are you looking to rank better in SEO?
- Are you planning on being in this location for a long period of time?
- Are you trying to duplicate your own efforts to be more efficient with updating items?
These are just a few things you have to consider and they are very important. Update your directories for reasons that are important to your business.
FUN FACT: 67% of customers lose faith in a brand if they get lost en route to a business due to inaccurate listing location.
Comparing the Top 3 Local Listing Management Services
Now that you know what a local listing management service is and why it’s beneficial, let’s compare the top 3 that you’ll want to consider:
1. Yext Power Listings
A powerhouse in the local directory game, Yext has been at directories before it was cool. As one of the longest living platforms with accurate directory listings, they have some of the most depth when it comes to directories they work with.
With these directories, they’re able to reach a lot more than the other directory platforms that you’ll see on our list.
Each package for Yext has a different level of directories that it works with but the main ones are consistent.
What is the Price for Yext?
The cost of Yext Power Listings is dependent on the package level, but starts at $4/week on annual billing. See the Yext price breakdown for current pricing.
What’s the Biggest Drawback for Yext?
The single biggest drawback for Yext is that it is only good as long as you’re paying for it. Yext claims that its system is built on a direct API with these “partner” directories, which needs resources (dollars) being fed into it for it to stay active and once it is inactive, it reverts back to the beginning, before you started with them.
This is a tough pill for any small business to swallow. Imagine your grocery store spending $1500 over 3 years and haven’t changed hours or moved once during that time period – most businesses would think, “Hey, I don’t think this is worth $1500 at this moment” but when you go to cancel, you find out it would revert to the way it was before you started. So, 3 years and $1,500 later you’re back at square 1 and nothing is accomplished.
2. Moz Local
Moz Local comes from good stock. One of the most prominent names in the SEO industry, Moz has a number of tools to help people in the fight for position in search. Moz Local is their tool that focuses on directory listings. Unlike other directory listing platforms, Moz has whittled down their directory focus for two things: keeping popular maps pointing the right way and supporting search engine activity.
QUICK TIP: Not sure if you’re in need of local directory listing support? Check your directories for free through Moz Local to get a better understanding of your situation. You can check without having to sign up! Keep honest platforms honest by checking your directory listings across several platforms and check yourself – search Four Square for your location, ask Apple Maps, and so on!
Moz does not spend nearly as much time on the wide range of directory listings that Yext and Advice Local do. But by staying focused on directories that people use most often and directories or data aggregators that other directories use, they eliminate a lot of waste. The people at Moz are pretty straight forward about not going to as many directories as Yext or other local directory services out there but are confident in their choice.
That being said, Moz is able to come to the plate at a much lower price each year than the competition.
What Does Moz Local Cost?
Moz Local is one of the lower priced directory platforms out there. It starts at a yearly price of $99 for it’s based platform. This includes what they refer to as:
- Directory submissions
- Aggregator Submissions
- Directory Reporting and Dashboard
- Reputation Monitoring
That is for their essential package and priced out per year. Here is a full breakdown of Moz’s pricing options.
3. Advice Local
Advice Local stands head-to-head with Yext in the amount of directories it supports. Boasting 55+ directories on each and every one of their packages, along with some of the top data and local listing aggregators for their higher end platforms, Advice Local is certainly a complete local directory listing platform. Their main selling point over Yext is that they manually build out local citations, rather than using an API – so once you’ve finished with Advice, your directories do not revert back to before you started.
A comparative drawback between Advice and Yext comes at the swiftness of directory updates. Yext is relatively quick with directory updates, relative to the package you’ve subscribed to, but Advice may take a few months to get above an 80% score for directory submissions.
Similar to Moz, Advice Local provides a full line-up of digital services which sets the two apart from Yext. Yext sticks strictly to directories (dabbles a bit in directory reputation) whereas these other platforms have a deeper bench. Advice Local is part of a larger group, Advice Interactive, that supports the additional digital services, so if you’re looking for a one-stop shop, this platform could support that.
QUICK TIP: If you are a digital advertising agency looking for a white listed approach to directory listings for your clients, Advice Local provides a solution. You’re able to White List your reports and even set up a subdomain on your site that provides client’s real-time login to information on their directory listings!
What Does Advice Local Cost?
Advice Local starts at $100 per year for just getting in front of the top 4 data aggregators, including: Localeze, Infogroup, Factual, and Acxiom. This does not take into account the actual directories. Here is a complete breakdown of Advice Local Pricing.
The Core Package takes care of Data Aggregators and the Classic Package handles all of your top directories along with reporting and monitoring. Deluxe is the combination of the two.
Noticeably absent on these are the ability to Optimize your Google My Business page, which doesn’t even come in unless you refer to their “Custom Packages”
Direct Comparison of the Platforms:
The easiest way to get an idea of the best performing platform is to take their “Preferred” package and compare them together (please note that Advice Local does not indicate a preferred platform so we will be using their “Classic Package” to compare).
Which is the Best?
To answer the question, which directory platform is the best depends on a number of things. As I mentioned in the preface, you do have to consider your business goals.
If you want a quickly update your info because people are going to the wrong place too often, then your best bet will be Yext. There is no other platform that is going to feed out to as many directories as fast as they will be able to. You’ll be updated on mapping products and in search in a quick manner.
If you want a more managed approach to digital advertising where you can have a live rep and keep your directories up to date, along with other advertising support, then you will be best served by the people over at Advice Local.
For most other cases, whether it is just better search presence, long-term brand value and a number of other items, the best directory listing platform is going to be Moz Local. The efficiency of the platform, easy to understand reporting and updates, and well-positioned price point, makes it ideal for small businesses. It’s priced in a way people can afford and has to keep earning it’s spot at the table each year because if your business hasn’t changed and their platform hasn’t made any updates, then you can comfortably drop them without damaging your current directory listings. That being said, they do come out with regular product updates!
In addition to my comparisons of the 3 local listing management services above, there are many others that exist out there. Some other honorable mentions are as follows:
In an effort to maintain an unbiased position on these platforms, it may serve you well to test your listings through one of these listing services as well. You can test your directories and even get free trials through some of the above!
Local directory listings are important for your local SEO efforts. Due to the sheer number of local directories out there, it is difficult and time consuming for the average small business owner to individually manage each and every listing. There are local listing management services out there that automate this task for you. If you are not using one of these services or are not doing it manually, then your business is at risk as your potential customers could be misled with old, outdated information. Bottom line – always keep your business listings up to date!
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