Do Yext & Business Listings Services Help Local SEO? The SEO Agency Answer.
The simple and important answer is not very much, unless you manually help. So let’s explore why you need to manually help your business listings to improve your local SEO.
Business listing services like Yext have become very popular over the last few years, especially for small local business. Dozens of companies offer business listings management as a stand alone service or rolled up into SEO services. So the big question is, do business listing services like Yext really help local SEO? Do they drive traffic and new customers to your business website? Is it worth paying a monthly fee for business listing services?
Our SEO specialists at JEMSU have the privilege of working on the business listings and local SEO of hundreds of small local business. We’ve worked with several business listing service companies including Yext to sync and manage business listings. In this article we will explore the pros and cons of these directory services starting with the cons.
The Biggest Problem with Yext & All Business Listing Services is Indexation.
Indexation is the biggest problem with business listing services. What do we mean by indexation? Indexing is the process of web pages being crawled by the major search engines, most importantly Google and Bing and added to their large database of websites, also called an index. If a business profile page is crawled and indexed by Google and Bing then the business profile page is beneficial for local SEO because of the links to both your website and social profiles. In addition, the anchor text gives the links additional value and business data like the name, phone number and address also provide value as signal to Google and other search engines. The problem is up to 75% of business profiles Yext creates for a company are not crawled and indexed by Google and Bing automatically. Thus, any local SEO value created by a business profile page is completed negated if the major search engines do not recognize the page by crawling and indexing it.
Why are so many of these business profiles created by Yext and all business listing services not getting indexed automatically? There are several reasons.
- Google & Bing are less likely to automatically crawl and find deeply nested profile pages on websites with relatively low traffic.
- Google & Bing are less likely to automatically crawl and find deeply nested profile pages on websites with no inbound links to those profile pages.
- Most of these directories have millions of profile pages with long navigational paths to the deeply nested profile pages
These are the primary reasons a high percentage of profile pages created by Yext and other business listing services are not indexed automatically, thus creating no local SEO value.
How to Check if Your Business Listing Pages are Indexed
Both Google and Bing have a search modifier that allows you to check if any page is indexed, “site:”. Simply put the site: search modifier in front of any page in the search bar to check its indexation status. Example: site:https://ezlocal.com/co/denver/internet-marketing-service/092108811
How to Make Sure Your Business Listing Pages Get Indexed.
Google has a URL Inspection tool built into it’s Google Search Console to allow webmaster to submit pages for indexing, the problem is this only works for verified websites (websites you own). This complicates things a bit because you have no way of directly submitting website pages into Google’s index, instead you need to get Google to crawl and index those business listing profile pages in other ways. The best way to get Google to crawl and index deeply nested pages is to create legitimate backlinks to each of the profile pages from frequently crawled pages. This is the key to manually helping Yext or any business listing service create local SEO value for your business. If the business listing profile pages these services create are not indexed, then the service is more or less useless. JEMSU has developed its own methods of creating backlinks from highly crawled pages to assure the business listing profiles created by Yext get indexed and help improve local SEO for our clients.
The Cons of Yext & Business Listing Services
Indexation – This is hands down the biggest problem. Up to 75% of business listings are not automatically indexed by Google and Bing. Manual methods are needed to help assist the indexation process for many of the business listing profiles created.
Little to Zero Traffic & Visibility – A majority of the business listing profiles created on deeply nested pages. These pages get little to zero traffic or organic visibility, especially if they are not indexed. Simply put a majority of these listings will never get any visitors. The are more to support local SEO and business listing consistency.
Deeply Nested Profile Pages – A majority of the business listing profiles created by Yext & other business listing services are nested 4+ levels deep. This is the major reason for the indexation issues.
No Follow / Low Page Authority – Many of the the business listing profile pages have no follow links. In addition, the page authority of these deeply nested profile pages is very low. So the overall SEO value from these backlinks is low.
The Pros of Yext & Business Listing Services
Lots of Directories – Yext syncs with 81 directories. Most of the business listing services sync with 50+ directories. This allows you to easily create lots of profiles with little effort.
Business Listing Consistency – Assuring that your business information is properly and consistently listed across the web’s major directories is valuable and a small ranking indicator.
Direct Sync – The ability to automatically update any business information because of direct sync is a huge time saver.
Backlinks – A majority of the business profiles have a backlink back to your website and social profiles.
Custom Anchor Text – I believe this is one of the biggest values Yext has to offer. They allow you to create custom anchor text for many of your backlinks. Anchor text has always been an important SEO signal for Google.
As an SEO Agency we partner with Yext. We find business listing services to helpful for local SEO, only because we have found methods to help the indexation process. On the other hand we believe a majority of the people using these services are not aware of the indexation problem, nor do they have methods to improve it. Thus they are missing a majority of the value provided by these services. Without indexation we find they services useless and not worth paying for. We are frustrated that Yext and other business listing service providers shove this hugely important issue under the rug and sell the service as a way to improve local SEO. We feel these business listing providers should be required to discuss the indexation of the profile pages before making any claims that their services help local SEO.