This part of our series on How Yext Works is about what happens to business listings and information either without Yext or after someone has elected to not renew their Yext subscription. Having not been at Yext very long, this was one of my biggest questions and, frankly, misconceptions upon my arrival. Looking at many blog posts and comments out there, I am clearly not alone. So let’s discuss the (unthinkable) scenario of what happens after Yext PowerListings are turned off, which also provides some insight into what happens to all business listing data without Yext.
As we covered in the first installment of this series, Yext PowerListings give control of business listings to business owners and professional marketers through a process called Match and Lock.
But what happens when the PowerListings subscription is not renewed?
Does the business listing data get deleted by Yext at each publisher? Does Yext take down the Name, Address, Phone (NAP) from each of the sites and search engines? Does the business’s online presence disappear? Lastly, does Yext put the old data back that used to be wrong?
The answer to all of these questions is a resounding and emphatic, NO!
The simple answer to each of these questions is that effectively, the Lock comes off. What that means is that the NAP is not deleted or removed by Yext, but the Lock that was put in place to protect the business listing is no longer present. Once this occurs, the business listing is subject to the normal compilation process at the search engine, online directory, mobile app, or social network. In fact, because Yext no longer has this lock in place, Yext has no control over the listing directly at all, and the business listing data will now act as it normally would occur without Yext.
Further, when a PowerListing becomes inactive, the enhanced content (photos, menus, hours of operation, products, biographies, featured messages, and more) that was connected to the business listing ceases to be available. This situation happens because the Lock that provides the Dual-Sync technology that delivers this enhanced content is the same Lock that protects the PowerListing, and it is no longer connected. In reality, this content is still available on the Yext platform, but it can no longer be accessed because the Lock came off of the business listing and that connection has been severed.
Now, for the more detailed answer of why the NAP and other data changes quickly following the cancellation of a PowerListing, I pulled together a diagram to outline some of the many differences and disparate data sources at work behind a “normal compilation process” at a data aggregator, publisher, or search engine. “Normal compilation” is something of a misnomer as there isn’t really anything normal about it. From Publisher to search engine to mobile app to directory site, each utilizes a different method to match, merge, and select the NAP data it will choose to display. This process is what occurs without Yext everyday, and it only ceases to be the norm when a Yext PowerListing Lock is in place.
Looking at the diagram, a business or professional marketer can always choose between Yext and the normal compilation process. If they choose to utilize Yext, the Lock put in place will protect the business listing and ensure perfect NAP (and enhanced content) at all the PowerListing network publishers. If, at some point, the business or professional marketer chooses to not renew their Yext subscription, the Lock simply comes off, and their data is now subject to the normal compilation process. Without Yext, there are now hundreds or thousands of competing data sources fighting for control over what NAP data is displayed.
From there, each of the 50+ publishers, search engines, website directories and mobile app platforms, as well as several data aggregators, will need to each be sent owner claims and submissions of business listing data. You as the owner of the business or professional marketer representing them will need to make these submissions, repeatedly. Remember, this isn’t any different than if you attempted to claim and maintain perfect NAP information without Yext at every one of the Publishers in the PowerListings network.
One last, very important point on this topic. There is no permanent solution to business listing data staying correct or in control of a business or professional marketer without maintaining the Lock from PowerListings. Either a business must continue to submit their data to each and every one of the normal compilation processes repeatedly, or they can utilize a manual service to do so. Every compilation platform will make mistakes, overwrite key data points, and occasionally accept wrong or false data as they are not the business owner or the professional marketer whose livelihood depends on this information being correct and perfect at all times in all places. Further, submission is no guarantee that the data will be updated, accepted, corrected, or even created.
Remember, this is in no way the fault of the publishers, search engines, data aggregators or even the businesses and professional marketers trying to correct the data. Getting perfect location information (and hopefully enhanced content) about businesses correct across millions of businesses is extremely difficult and time consuming. Each party is doing their best, but with thousands of sources, match algorithms, nuances, and opinions on how to do this, the process will continue to be time consuming and difficult for all parties.
In other words, Yext is the most time efficient and cost effective way to maintain control of your business listings across the web.