A recent case study by Yext shows the impact of duplicate listings on local rankings in Google. Coordinated by local search expert Andrew Shotland, the core research evaluates Yext duplicate suppression for a national restaurant chain.
I’m not here to dispute the research or results. Having consistent NAP (name, address and phone number) has long been regarded as a priority for local businesses. However, there are limitations to using Yext for finding and removing duplicates.
Launched in June of 2014, duplicate listing suppression has been a selling point for the Yext platform. Different from deletion, suppression redirects search engines and customers to the correct information on a particular website. The suppression happens as long as a client or the agency is a paid subscriber to Yext.
Full disclosure: I am Yext-certified and currently manage 60 unique clients in Yext. It is a powerful platform and useful for scaling citation management. Yet when it comes to duplicate suppression, there are many areas where Yext can improve.
The platform isn’t created to find all duplicates
Doing a Yext Scan is a fun way to show clients all the issues with their local listings. But it isn’t set up to show multiple duplicates for a single citation, and it includes only 53 sites. It appears to me that Yext cherry-picks to create a report with the goal of showing as many mistakes as possible.
Once client details are added to Location Manager and PowerListings have started to sync, Yext will crawl online for duplicates. The possible duplicates tab are those Yext has automatically found in their network.
The platform does look for name, address and phone duplicates, although it isn’t comprehensive. Yext especially has difficulties where a business name has changed or is using multiple assumed names. Data where only the phone or only the address is a match to a duplicate business are frequently missed.
A user of Yext can also submit duplicates through the platform, which is a common occurrence. Yext requires a URL of the duplicate, but what happens next is where the platform could really be improved.
Not all duplicates can be suppressed
A client of mine had two duplicates in CitySearch, which Yext didn’t find and required manual submission. A month later, the duplicates were still not flagged in the system.
Sometimes, Yext reveals which duplicates are being processed, and other times it doesn’t. Even worse, it can sometimes tell you a duplicate is being suppressed when it isn’t. For the same client, two duplicates in Superpages were shown in Yext as being suppressed. However, these listings were still live on Superpages and being crawled by Google.
Another option is to submit duplicates to Yext support. Below is a quote from a support agent, on my request to remove duplicates for a client that purchased a previously used phone number.
“The listings that only match the phone number do not follow our 2/3 guidelines. We are not able to submit another business’ listing for suppression. It is the responsibility of that business to correct the phone number on their listings if they are no longer using it.”
Yext does not suppress at the source
Not all local citations are included in the Yext PowerListings Network. Even sites in the network, such as Factual, don’t allow for duplicate suppression. A user is still required to submit a manual duplicate ticket for Factual.
In addition to Factual, data aggregators Express Update/InfoUSA, Neustar Localeze, Axciom and Dun & Bradstreet are excluded from the Yext network. These are often the source of duplicates in Yext and many other sites online.
An SEO consultant should still catalog correct and incorrect NAP in a spreadsheet and check Google and important citations for more duplicates. Moz Local can be used to scan data aggregators.
Yext could be pushing incorrect data
It doesn’t happen as often, but there are some scenarios where Yext could be pushing duplicate and inaccurate data.
The first is not having access to an existing Yext account. An existing PowerListing subscription could be sending incorrect data. You will not be able to add a location to a second Yext account until it is removed from the original.
For removal, Yext tends to require permission from the account owner. I have been unsuccessful at this in a few cases. One was for an HVAC client partnered with Lennox, which automatically subscribes all authorized dealers to a PowerListings subscription. Unfortunately, Lennox required that a tracking phone number and their own landing page be published in place of the client’s local number and website.
The second scenario is NAP accuracy. Yext has some checks on the data entered in Location Manager, but it doesn’t check against a business license or a registered office address. In a recent test, I was able to add a company twice to the PowerListings Network, but with a different phone number.
Despite these flaws, Yext is still in my arsenal for local listing management. If you choose to use Yext to suppress duplicates, understand the strengths and gaps in using the platform to do so.
Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.