Automated Directory Submissions -
Blessing or Evil?
Bed and Breakfast Promotion investigates the...
Dangers and advantages of automated directory submission services:
Some words of Warning!
Disclaimer - Part of my business is the manual submission of businesses to directories. So, despite the possiblity that all of the following may actually be true, my investigation is unequivocally biased.
I came to this project with a clear understanding of what auto submission services do and what manual submitting was all about. Pre-conceptions and pre-judgements. A clear dislike for Yext (may there be a pox upon your soul!!!). But was I really correct in my conclusion that such services are actually harmful to your rankings? (possibly) Or are they simply a rip- off that do little of either good or harm? (if you are lucky) That they may actually be a great deal on a fabulous service like they profess to be? Is this even a possibility? Lets find out...
First I want to state that this article takes off from the assumption that you already know about search engine submissions and that you have already taken care of that. If you havn't gotten your website listed yet and you are pondering the hiring of someone to submit your site to "hundreds of search engines" then the answer to that is DON'T. Just get a webmaster account over at google. Do what they tell you to and in a couple months all the other SEs will pick you up.
are another thing altogether.
Directories are a bit different from search engines in that they seldom just pick you up without your doing anything to cause it. SE robots cruise around seeking out new websites to understand and list. Directories will ignore you completely (except for Yelp) which creates a list of restaurants missing the best because the best never bothered to cause the directories to list them.
I'm not sure why anyone would go to YP etc. to search for a business but having a link from YP to your website is still worth the effort because google etc. will consider this as validation of you, your business and your permanence.
Auto submissions - how they can help
I thought to get right to the gist of the question by searching "Do yext directory submissions hurt my search engine rank?" I have an open mind and I also know what the answer is already: that is that Yext totally sucks.
Well it was easy to find LOTS of people who agree with me.
See: Review of Yext. Quite a bit of disscussion on Yext having a totally shitty business ethic. But then I knew that already. They have a potentially worthless service (though I suspect if you change your phone number, address, business hours and web domain name frequently it may not be totally worthless, but if you do any/all of these things... well good luck no matter what else you do).
You should read this Google group discussion on this topic where someone gives great advice on getting listed everywhere fairly easily.
But what about the good things Yext (etc) can do for you. I looked over their site and discovered they have a "review monitoring" service. That looks pretty nifty. However I searched around and found such a "review monitoring" service for free - which I am going to try out today. Soo why Yext? I don't know, maybe you have too much money lying around and need someone to take it from you (and you've sworn off politics - a wise move right there).
What about the great "Dashboard" at yext? You mean you have actually gotten bored with the google dashboards? Try the one over at Bing, they also have interesting webmaster tools. But right, these are free and the whole point of Yext seems to be how to get you to part with your money.
Conclusion - Do it yourself!
OK, take a search for "directory submission service". Whoa! Somebody is trying to make money, are you sucker enough to give it to them?
Lets add up the obvious.
1) Yext spends a literal ton of money advertising their "service" damn near everywhere.They do that because there are even more suckers out there anxious to buy empty promises for $500 (or so) a year.
2) They have a hot business selling franchising so that other companies with ethics handicaps (yahoo!!! clearly emitting their last dying gasp!) make a load off of every sucker they bring into the fold.
3) They cold call you immediately after you use their free directory listing tool that invaribly returns accurate and inaccurate results together.
4) The salesmen are just that, salesmen. As soon as they get an inkling you aren't going to buy then "clunk!" goes the phone. Just try it and find out for yourself. Tell the bozo who calls that you just read that google penalizes the use of such services and see if he hangs up on you.
5) RE: the above statement. Yes. Google is very wary of such services and warns against using them. ("Mass submissions, which are sometimes offered as a quick work-around SEO method, are mostly useless and not likely to serve your purposes.")
6) Just submit to a few directories yourself. You will quickly see that each has differnet options and different requirements. Any directory worth looking at is going to verify your listing. How can an automated service help you with this? Oh, check out that list of directories that yext spits out. Good god more than half are in partnerships with yext and won't list you without paying yext first. SCAM ALERT! SCAM ALERT!
How to do it manually
There is apparently software out there that makes it less difficult to do this job the right way. That is believable though I haven't tried any myself, though I should, especially if I'm going to bother writing an article like this one. I guess that is going to have to wait for part 2. In the meantime go back up the page where I mention this "where someone gives great advice on getting listed everywhere fairly easily." Follow that first. Then figure out google places (google maps, whatever). Do the same at Bing and good luck wading through the Yahoo maze (though it is possible). If you are still not worn out search "local business directories your area/city". What still not enough? OK search "business directories your area/city/state". Your efforts get more response for the investment the closer you advertise to home. Apparently a great majority of businesses do most of their business locally/regonally so the whole web has the tendency to work from that model.
Tip: keep good notes so you can copy/paste the answers, descriptions, addresses, photo names etc.
Did I hear you say that this is too hard? Great give me a call and I'll do it for you (though you are still going to have to help me with the verifying).
Alright now go work on your reviews for Pete's sake.
With nearly 12 years experience with Bed and Breakfast management and promotion we understand your business and can help you promote it.
Next: Mobile friendly websites and SEO - Investigated!