I guess I should have qualified it better, which of the non-freelancer services?
I found Brightlocal was the most economical for getting a new listing submitted to the major aggregators. This was after a comparison of many. I guess logically I should stick with them, but its for a business I didn't originally submit through them. That shouldn't make a big difference though.
Yes, I think they are the best price for submission, but I also get the impression that it's just that: submission only, not correction. I don't think they do a detailed NAP variation discovery phase and then clean up all the duplicates and incorrect listings on the aggregators.
You are right in thinking that BrightLocal is the most economical option when it comes to citation building services. And it's not a problem at all if you didn't submit through us initially, either.
In regards to @whitespark's comment, I'd also just like to point out that our Citation Builder service does cover all aspects of citation work – we take care of submissions, corrections, and duplicate removals, as well as always performing a comprehensive audit of listing sites to ensure we identify existing listings first.
In fact, to ensure that we avoid creating additional duplicates, this process is done twice - once by our system and then again manually by our agents. I will say, however with manual citations, duplicate removal is a standalone service, that needs to be added to the order. With Data Aggregators, duplicate removal is automatically included in the service. Our Aggregator team also stays in close communication with all Data Aggregators to ensure that we keep on top of their latest publication policies and ensure there is a proper process in determining and flagging duplicates.
I hope that clears up any potential confusion and of course, do feel free to pop me a message directly if you'd like to talk anything through.
In the meantime, best of luck with your citations journey!
We still do our listings manually which is not the cheapest option starting out. But, we found that using the cheaper submission options left us with lots of problems and after fixing the errors, cost us more in the end. Whitespark has the new Yext replacement service which I am excited to test. It gives you all the major listings you need to be on.
I've been using Bright Local and no complaints. Make sure you pay the extra fee to check for duplicates and they are accurate in my experience. I think you can also leave notes or email them to alert the team that everything is for updates.
I've used Citation Building Group to fix citations a few times. They weren't able to fix all of them, but they did a great job of going through the list. I have used Bright Local to fix aggregators. I haven't tried Whitespark for citations yet, but use like their other services.
@StephanieNewton@whitespark and anyone else who wants to chime in, I have two big concerns with switching from manually managing citations/local listings to using a service...
1) A good bit of the time we spend on local listings is doing phone and post card verifications with our clients. To make things easy for our clients, we call the client on their cell phone and then initiate the phone verifications to their main line, they tell us the verification code over their cell phone, and we complete the verification.
2) Even after we verify local lists and update them, it's not unusual for the verification not to work or the update info not to get published. So, the other thing we spend a lot of time doing is going back a couple weeks later to manually check that the listing is verified and info has been updated.
Does BrightLocal, WhiteSpark or any other local listings service 1) facilitate phone and post card verifications, and 2) regularly check local listings to be sure the verification and data updates are published and stay active and accurate.
We handle phone verifications the same way you do. Coordinate a call with the business and send the verifications through, or fire off the postcards. It's a hassle for sure. We have not noticed the problem you mentioned with verifications not working, though. There are only about 7 sites we have to deal with verifications on. Are you doing some obscure sites that need this extra check?
We do facilitate postcard verification, but phone verification is generally left with the customer. We do however provide detailed instructions and support to get that step of the process done — and that seems to work well for our current users.
That said, our process does tend to differ for large brands, as the verification is done in bulk we're able to offer that extra level of assistance.
Regarding your second question, we don't usually need to perform the additional check that you mention, but if a customer requests we look into something, then we will do so happily.
I wanted to try and explain why you might be seeing what you describe with your second point. Getting a listing verified almost always doesn't mean that the information on the listing will get updated instantly and/or that the information will stay as it has been submitted via the business dashboard. There are a number of reasons why this is so:
1) In many cases, there might be another account under which the corresponding listing has already been claimed. This happens most frequently with Bing Places because of the way their listing management system is structured. If there is more than one account under which a listing is claimed, and if information submitted via these multiple accounts differs, Bing frequently choose to display the information that had been verified and submitted earlier.
2) There is contradicting information fed to the business directory by a third-party source. This is most troublesome in cases where the third-party source is a very high-ranking trust source of data for the corresponding business directory. For instance, data fed to Bing Places by Yelp (and frequently for countries other than the US - by Foursquare) is very trustworthy in their system, especially if there is social activity related to it (for instance, reviews). This means that even if you verify your claim over a listing by phone, by postcard, or (in some cases) by email, Bing might choose to trust and display another set of data coming from a more trusted third-party source.
3) There is a contradicting data feed coming from a higher ranking data source. This happens sometimes with Infogroup. If you manually phone verify a business record on ExpressUpdate.com, you may sometimes notice that after some time, the record switches back to how it was. This happens most frequently, because someone submits (usually on a regular basis) contradicting data via Bulk Update (or Data Axle) - higher ranking data systems in Infogroup's business database. Very frequently this happens because a business has an active Moz Local subscription, but it can also happen if they have an active subscription with any other agency that makes such uploads to Infogroup.
In many cases problems like these can be spotted and solved quickly - usually very soon after the verification has been completed. The best way to avoid running into troubles like this is to obtain as much information from your client as possible regarding any work they (might) have done in regards with business listings. This includes any work they might have hired other agencies to do for them. Note that it is very common that agencies sign up their clients for services such as Yext PowerListings (sometimes via white-label third-party providers) or Moz Local without the knowledge of the clients. There are certain telltales that could indicate if that is the case, even if the client has not reported it to you, but discussing them might be a topic for another post.
I agree completely with you about both concerns when switching from manual management to automated or semi-automated. We have been manually managing location data for agencies for 8+ years now & still believe it to be the best solution. We also believe that an agency needs all inclusive service to provide their clients with the best outcomes.
Our service includes ...
* Manual audit for existing listings & duplicates
* White Label Verification Service - We follow up with your client until all location listings are verified (bulk, postcard, phone, email). We also re-verify when needed for phone/address changes. This work is done by USA based team members that will work as an extension of your team (white label).
* Listing editing and/or data updates as needed.
* Duplicate listing removal/suppression.
* Complete follow up for publishing accuracy after verification & after any data edits/updates.
* Complete follow up for any/all listing issues publishing or otherwise.
Our service cost is per location for a one year time period which includes everything you need. Cost is based on how many sites we are managing (Google, Bing, Apple, Yelp, etc..) & the number of locations involved. Cost is reduced in year two if renewed.
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