Today, I’m going to answer a question I get over and over and over again. That question is, do you use Yext? Should I use Yext for my law firm’s marketing? In case you don’t know, Yext is a service that allows you to update all of your local business listings on one dashboard.
On the surface, it seems like a great idea. You go to one place, you enter your information one time, and you’re done. Anyone who’s ever updated business listings can see the benefits of that, and when I say business listings, I mean any directory that your law firm is listed in. It could be Yelp, Yahoo, YP.com, Foursquare, etc.
When we used to use Yext, they allowed you to update all of those listings from one dashboard. There was something like 70 or 80 listings that you would get to update on one dashboard, and on the surface, this seems great and like a huge timesaver.
However, one day I logged into my Yext account and started clicking around. And I immediately picked up my phone and told them they were fired.
What I Discovered When I Looked More Closely
When I started looking at the actual listings, I was looking at whether the listings were indexed by Google. The way Google works is that they don’t return the search listings in real time. Instead, they crawl the web. They go on every single web page, and they put the pages that they feel are important in their index.
The index is the database from which the search results come. So, if you search for something and it’s not in Google’s index, then it won’t be returned in the search results.
What I found was that most of the listings that Yext created were not indexed in Google. What that means is that Google does not see these listings as important enough to store in their search engine. If Google doesn’t think that the listings are important, then they’re not going to count towards your website.
The Reason For Building Citations
The reason that you’re building citations in the first place is twofold. One is so that people can find you, but most of the time people are not going to YP.com to find your business. You’re not getting a lot of business that way.
The main reason that my company builds citations or business listings for my clients is because when you’re listed in a lot of different places and have that prominence that Google is looking for, then you will rank higher.
The Problem With Citations That Don’t Work
Now, the problem is that if your citations don’t index, and if Google doesn’t think your citations are so important that they should store them in their index, then they don’t count, and it’s like they don’t exist.
What I found when I looked at our dashboard was that 90% of the citations that we had created were not getting indexed. Google did not think they were important. So why were we paying a monthly fee?
We were paying several thousand dollars per month to Yext so that all of our clients could stay up to date. But at the end of the day, it was hurting us more than it helped us.
What Really Happened With Yext?
After a bit of investigation, we finally figured out why our listings were not getting indexed. So, here’s the problem with Yext. With Yext, you’re able to enter one business description, and that business description gets syndicated across all of your listings.
If you have 80, 90, or 100 listings that all have the same business description, then Google looks at that as duplicate content. There is no penalty for duplicate content. A lot of people think there is, but there isn’t.
What you get instead is that you just don’t get shown. Google doesn’t want to show the same thing over and over again. What it does is it doesn’t index the pages that have the duplicate content. If you have 100 listings with the same business description on it, Google doesn’t think that they’re as important and it doesn’t index them.
What We Do Now
What we do now is create citations manually, and it’s a pain in the ass, it’s a lot of work, but we use unique business descriptions for all of our stuff. Now, there are companies out there that will do this for you.
I’m not going to name any names in this video, but if you want, send me a message, and I’ll point you in the right direction. I’ll get you a recommendation for a company that I trust, the same company that we use for a lot of things and that we partner up with.
Why I No Longer Recommend Yext
I’m not saying that Yext is cutting corners, but it’s taking the easy way. Rather than updating all of these citations, which is a huge pain, we’re just going to let you enter your information once and then we’ll keep it up.
The problem with that is that it just doesn’t get you as good of a result. It’s unfortunate. The other problem with Yext was that we were paying thousands of dollars per month because we had a lot of listings, but you do have to pay a monthly fee to Yext.
And there’s something else, though I’m not sure if this is correct or not, I didn’t check because we immediately went in and changed all of our citations once we fired Yext.
But I believe once you leave Yext, all your citations revert to what they were before you joined Yext. So, they really have you by the you-know-what.
At the end of the day, it’s just easier to get it done right the first time. This will really help your local SEO and your bank account.