January 8

Local Citation Building Services Compared – Moz Local vs. BrightLocal vs. Yext vs. Whitespark vs. Advice Local vs. Synup

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If you’re in the roofing industry, local search is important to you and your business. Many expert sales organizations, offering you citation building services, call on the phone or send you email about “local SEO” every month, right?

Why?

According to GE Capital Retail Bank’s second annual Major Purchase Shopper Study, the average buyer polled spends 79 days researching a major purchase and 81% of those inquiries start online at either Amazon or Google.

What does that tell you?

Your listing and ability to place in local search mean you’re more likely to get included in a buyer’s initial research. Customers can’t buy from you if you don’t show up in their search. To do that, you need strong organic rankings. You also need to rank in the local map listings. One of the ways to achieve this is through good, clean listings on directory sites. That’s where local citation services come in.

What Is a Local Citation Building Service?

Unless you’re very involved in your company marketing or SEO, you might not be familiar with the term, but you likely know what it does. When marketers refer to a “local citation service,” they’re talking about a business that helps you optimize or present your local business listing.

Your business likely shows up on a lot of local listings from Google to business directories, review sites to industry listings. These sites often pull from other sites so you may not even be aware of some of the listings you’re on.

They feature your business name, address, and phone numbers (commonly referred to as NAP). Sometimes the listings are more advanced and contain contact information, products/services, business hours, images of your building and/or products/services, and reviews.

But…

The problem is none of these sites talk to each other. When the information on these listings differs, it could hurt your organic ranking. Here are a few other things you should know about citations:

  1. It’s good to be listed on a number of sites IF they are quality listings on websites with good reputations.
  2. Your citations should all have the same accurate information on them if you want them to positively affect your search rankings.
  3. Duplicate listings (on the same site) will negatively impact your rankings.
  4. Cleaning up misinformation and inaccurate details on such listings must be done periodically.

Therein lies the problem…

Cleaning up these citations can be exhausting. It’s a big job that no one has time for and yet, if you don’t make time for it, your search rankings could (and will likely) suffer.
That’s where local citation services come in.
Local citation building and cleaning services take on the administrative task of improving your citations for you. They find, update, and merge duplicate listings as required to ultimately improve your ranking. But they’re not all created equal.

In this article you’ll:

  1. Learn the names of the major local citation services
  2. Learn the pros and cons of working with them
  3. Understand their pricing structures
  4. Get the information you need to select the right one for your roofing business

How Do Local Citation Services Work?

Before we get into the individual companies that can clear up your citations, it’s important to understand how they will do it because the method affects the pricing and service. Information is handled one of two ways:

  1. Direct-to-site Submission Services: these companies go directly to the listings and access them manually entering the information or using an API or data upload to populate them.
  2. Data Aggregator Distribution: local aggregators curate or sell information about businesses to third-party directories, providers, and other companies. Data aggregator services from a local citation business are often less expensive than a direct-to-site submission service.

There are four main data aggregators in the United States. These include: Acxiom, Factual, InfoUSA, and Neustar/Localeze.

What Features Do I Need in a Local Citation Service?

Rooting through the comparisons of local citation services can be difficult if you don’t consider first what you need. As a roofing contractor or someone serving the roofing industry, you have very different needs than say a restaurant owner. Here are a few things you want to keep in mind as you peruse the following comparisons and speak with listing citation service vendors:

    • Does this option provide access to listings that are important to my business such as Angie’s List, building sites, and roofing industry sites? Create an industry list prior to speaking to vendors so you know whether they can help with those entities or whether you’ll have to do those on your own.
    • How do they handle association listings? Are you a member of a roofer or builders association? Will they ensure your information is correct there or will you do that manually? This may also include business listings and membership organizations like Chambers of Commerce and the Better Business Bureau.
    • Who will maintain the data? After it is “scrubbed” and directories contain your correct information, who maintains that data? Is it something that is then given to your company or is there a recurring fee to keep it current?
    • What happens when you no longer use the service? Does the data remain cleaned until additional changes occur over time or does the listing service cause it to revert to pre-agreement times?

Who handles duplicate listings?

Local citation service companies offer several services. Optimally, you want to address all of them to improve ranking. These include:

    1. Build business listings. Some local citation services companies offer you the service of suggesting sites to be listed on and then they build your listing for you.
    2. Claim business listings. Directories like Manta create listings through pulling information from other sites. They then give the owner the option of “claiming” them and adding information. Some local citation services assist you in claiming them.
    3. Correct business listings. From typos to incorrect information and old addresses, the Internet is filled with directories and business listings that are misrepresenting your business, hours, address, and other vital information. This service will ensure all of your data is correct and identical.
    4. Identify duplicate listings. Duplicate listings refers to the same listing within a site, not across sites (those you want to be the same). Once these duplicates are found, it’s important to contact the directory and have the additional ones deleted or merged.

It’s important to understand what local citation service companies do because they don’t all offer the same services. Many won’t claim your listings for you and some don’t even guarantee their changes will be uploaded to the sites. Do your research using our comparison listing below and then ask your questions of the vendors. They’re there to help.

Comparing the Top Local Citation Services

The first type of providers we’ll review are the services offering direct-to-site submission services. The main companies in this space are Advice Local, BrightLocal, Moz Local, Synup, Whitespark, and Yext.

We’re beginning the review with Bright Local and Whitespark as they offer a manual approach to citation services. The others offer an automated one.

BrightLocal

Submissions Cost: $2-3/listing
Recurring Fee: no recurring fee
Bulk Discount: BrightLocal offers a discount of $2/listing

Citation Building Services Include:

  • Create new listings
  • Update existing listings
  • Claim listings
  • Remove duplicates
  • # of Sites: 1600

Sites Include:

    • Google My Business
    • Bing Places
    • Facebook
    • Yelp
    • Foursquare
    • Apple Maps
    • TomTom
    • Yellow Pages/YP.com

Pros to BrightLocal: They offer a 14-day free trial that doesn’t require a credit card. Their dashboard provides lots of information and explanation, is easy to read, and you can even view competitor information. They also give you the choice of which of the 1600 sites they submit to that you want to use. This is ideal so you’re not paying for something that won’t be of use to you as a roofing contractor or service, like TripAdvisor.
Cons to BrightLocal: The reporting may be too comprehensive for what you’re looking for. BrightLocal can be used for an agency and this reporting contains a lot of things the business owner may not be interested in. Listings can take 2-3 months before they are live.

Whitespark

Submissions Cost: $4-5/listing, also a clean-up service for $14-18/listing
Recurring Fee: none
Bulk Discount: possible, depends on total listings

Services Include:

  • Create new listings
  • Update existing listings
  • Claim listings
  • Remove duplicates
  • # of Sites: 1,800

Sites Include:

  • Google My Business
  • Yahoo Local
  • Bing Places
  • Facebook
  • Yelp
  • Foursquare
  • Apple Maps
  • TomTom
  • Yellow Pages/YP.com

Pros to Whitespark: Whitespark offers a free 30-day trial. They offer a quick turnaround time on citation clean-up and guarantee the project will be done in 30-days from receiving the intake data.
Cons to using Whitespark: For a manual service, they are more expensive than BrightLocal. They outsource some of their citation work to OptiLocal.

The following businesses provide automated citation services:

Moz Local

Submissions Cost: $99/year
Recurring Fee: $99/year
Bulk Discount: possible

Services Include:

  • Create new listings
  • Update existing listings
  • Remove duplicates
  • # of Sites: 10

Sites Include:

  • Bing Places
  • Foursquare
  • Apple Maps (through NavAds)
  • TomTom (through NavAds)

Pros to Moz Local: You can manage multiple business locations from one dashboard. This company is the name in SEO and keyword research and has a knowledgeable team with lots of resources.
Cons of Moz Local: You can’t claim business listings. They do not submit to Google My Business, Facebook, Yelp, Yellow Pages, or Yahoo Local. List changes can take 2-3 months.

Yext

Submissions Cost: $499/year
Recurring Fee: $499/year
Bulk Discount: possible

Services Include:

  • Create new listings
  • Update existing listings
  • Remove duplicates
  • # of Sites: over 100

Sites Include:

  • Yahoo Local
  • Bing Places
  • Facebook
  • Yelp
  • Foursquare
  • Apple Maps
  • TomTom
  • Yellow Pages/YP.com

Pros to Yext: An Intuitive dashboard that lets you handle over 100 listings. Offers “Power Listing” features to stand out in directories.
Cons to Yext: They offer a demo but no free trial. You can’t claim business listings. They do not submit to Google My Business. When you stop using Yext, the data reverts back to pre-Yext state.

Advice Local

Submissions Cost: $390/year
Recurring Fee: $390/year
Discount: possible

Services Include:

  • Create new listings
  • Update existing listings
  • Remove duplicates
  • # of Sites: 35

Sites Include:

  • Google My Business
  • Bing Places
  • Facebook
  • Yelp
  • Foursquare
  • Apple Maps
  • TomTom
  • Yellow Pages/YP.com

Pros to Advice Local: They offer a specialist local submission service and niche industry sites for some industries, including local verticals for home services, which includes contractors.com and HomeStars.
Cons to Advice Local: You can’t claim business listings nor can you select which sites you submit to. They operate using a fixed list. There’s no Google Analytics integration and they do not submit to Yahoo Local.

Synup

Submissions Cost: $30/month (yearly agreement may be eligible for further discounts)
Recurring Fee: $30/month
Discount: $20/month (for over 1,000+ locations)

Services Include:

  • Create new listings
  • Update existing listings
  • Claim listings
  • Remove duplicates
  • # of Sites: instant network covers 42 or optionally add up to 150

Premium Sites Include:

  • Google+
  • Bing Places
  • Facebook
  • Foursquare
  • Yellow Pages
  • Yelp

Pros to Synup: They offer a free scan of your business listings on their site. While they use specified directories on their network, they can also help get you into external directories of your choice.
Cons to Synup: They do not submit to Google My Business, TomTom, Apple Maps, or Yahoo Local. Their additional directories do not include specified niche directories but they do connect with BuildingPros.

Data Aggregator Submission Services

As mentioned above, this is generally a less expensive way to get your citations cleaned. Here are the details behind what those same companies provide:

BrightLocal

Aggregators Submitted To (out of 4): 4
Cost: $5-55/year
Recurring Fee: $55/year

Services Include:

  • Create new listings
  • Order individual aggregator (only vendor on the list where this is possible)
  • Update existing listings
  • Remove duplicates

Whitespark

Aggregators Submitted To (out of 4): 4
Submissions Cost: $279/year
Recurring Fee: none

Services Include:

  • Create new listings
  • Update existing listings
  • Remove duplicates

Moz Local

Aggregators Submitted To (out of 4): 4
Submissions Cost: $99/year
Recurring Fee: $99/year

Services Include:

  • Create new listings
  • Update existing listings
  • Remove duplicates

Yext

Submissions Cost: $450/year
Recurring Fee: $450/year

Services Include:

  • Create new listings
  • Update existing listings
  • Remove duplicates
  • # of Sites: 1 – Factual

Note: It reports to only one aggregator, Factual.

Advice Local

Aggregators Submitted To (out of 4): 4
Submissions Cost: $279/year
Recurring Fee: $100/year

Services Include:

  • Create new listings
  • Update existing listings
  • Remove duplicates

Synup

Aggregators Submitted To (out of 4): 1 – Factual
Submissions Cost: $30/month
Recurring Fee: $30/month

Services Include:

  • Create new listings
  • Update existing listings

Note: They only submit to one aggregator site Factual.

Have you tried citation building services like Yext before? Many of these services listed above are at the heart of or at least allow duplicate and incorrect business listings on local directories. This alone can prevent you from making the local pack for your keywords. At TopRankedRoofer, we can help you sort through your ranking issues and get you better positioned to reach more customers. When you’re ready to make your phone ring with local leads, give us a call.


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