I loved the show Mythbusters, perhaps because I always longed for a job where you would get paid to blow stuff up. Well now, my time has come. Please indulge me as I "blow up" some myths about Yext.
"Yext Creates Bad Listings to Drive Sales""Yext Stole My Listings""Yext Takes Your Data if You Cancel"
It pains me to even give these myths oxygen, but since I have heard them stated out loud by SEOs I respect, let me put them to rest for good:
Yext DOES NOT create bad listings to drive sales. Yext DOES NOT steal anyone's listings. Yext DOES NOT take your data if you cancel.
So how do such myths come into being? As near as I can tell, they're due to a fundamental misunderstanding of how bad listings originate within an intelligent service like a search engine or a map. The assumption is that if one of those exists, someone must have created it for their benefit. But the truth is that bad listings originate for a number of reasons:
- Incorrect Data from Compiled Sources. Way back in Parts 2 & 3 of this series, we discussed how intelligent services, like search engines and maps, compile data from a number of different sources to form their knowledge base. These sources include a wide variety of public records, data aggregators, users, and businesses themselves. Each intelligent service weights their sources differently based on historical accuracy, data recency, and other factors of relevance. The service then leverages a proprietary algorithm to return the best result in the moment it is requested by a consumer.
This process is inherently subject to error, so intelligent services are constantly updating their algorithms. If you cringe when you hear Google Panda or Penguin, you know what I mean. So, the assumption that there's a perfect, third-party source of data out there upon which all intelligent services rely is simply wrong. Rather, there are some sources that develop a trusted reputation for quality over time and therefore, bubble to the top. For PowerListings® Network members, that source is Yext with data straight from the business itself. Remember, that's why Bing calls their integration with us "Yext on Top."
User Suggestions. Apple, Bing, Google, Facebook, and other intelligent services actively solicit user suggestions to help "fill in the blanks" of their knowledge base. You've seen this if you've ever tagged a location on Facebook and been asked if they're open until 11 PM or have live music. Shake your phone while using Google Maps, and you're instantly asked to "Report a Data Issue" or "Submit a New Place."
These efforts are well-intentioned and can really help improve the breadth of information a service provides for those businesses that do not actively manage their digital knowledge online. But for those that do, unfiltered user suggestions can wreak havoc with up-to-date business information. That's why Yext created Publisher Suggestions, a feature within the Yext Knowledge Manager that lets the company review user suggestions and decide which, if any, should be published. Right now, the feature can be used to monitor and review user suggestions on Google and Yelp with more to come.
Data Degradation. This point is really an extension of #1, but it bears further emphasis due to the incorrect belief that Yext "steals your data" if you cancel. Plus, I have a sweet infographic to share!
What you see below is a time-lapse documenting how one deli's listing in Texas changed over the course of a year. Our research team monitored this listing (touching nothing) in order to illustrate how a business listing will change if it is not actively managed today.
Across the 10 services monitored, every piece of information about the business changed in those 12 months through no action by the business itself. Crazy, huh? So why did they change? Because of the ongoing efforts of the services to improve the information they provide to their users.
As a service gets in a fresher bit of information about a company, it may be weighted as more reliable even if objectively it is wrong. That's the guessing game intelligent services have to play in the absence of truly reliable information from the business itself. This isn't Yext changing listings, *it's the intelligent services themselves changing listings.*This is why Yext is adamant that the era of "set it and forget it" manual submission is over. To be certain your digital knowledge is accurate everywhere it can be, you must actively manage, monitor, update, and evolve it on an ongoing basis.
Now, while we hope one of our customers never feels the need to cancel, it does happen. Upon cancellation, we leave all of their information with the service they managed across the PowerListings Network. At that point, it's up to the respective intelligent service, and them alone, to determine whether to continue to display that Yext-provided information or supplant it with third-party data that their algorithm determines is more accurate and fresh (regardless if that is objectively true or not).
In other words, once you stop actively managing your digital knowledge, you are back at the mercy of each intelligent service's data compilation and algorithmic decisions regardless of how good the data was that Yext left with the service.
To summarize, here's SEO expert & tattoo aficionado (ask to see his James Bond) Greg Gifford of DealerOn:
Yext is a publicly-traded company with oodles of satisfied customers who are seeing impressive ROI from our platform. Just read about the success that Arby's, AutoNation, BMO Harris Bank, Denny's, FTD, Pep Boys, Marriott, Steward Health, and other brands have had working with Yext. The results aren't by accident.
If you ever gave any of the Yext myths any credence, I hope now you see the truth. However, if you still have doubts, please email me at duane-at-yext.com. I'm happy to help as needed. I also recommend checking out my thoughts from this series in the whitepaper, A Better Way with Yext. Download the full whitepaper today.