Local Citation Services Compared – Moz Local vs. BrightLocal vs. Yext vs. Whitespark vs. Advice Local vs. Synup

Local Citation Services Compared – Moz Local vs. BrightLocal vs. Yext vs. Whitespark vs. Advice Local vs. Synup
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Post last updated: November 2016

We see a lot of questions in forums and blog comments asking ‘which citation service is best?’ So we thought we’d provide a useful resource that compares six popular citation services and list the pros and cons of each.

Yes, there are many other citation listing services out there, and yes if we had more time we’d like to cover them all; but for the sake of efficiency and time I have opted to cover what I see as the most prominent services in the market (apologies to other providers that I have overlooked).

It goes without saying that I have included our own Citation Building Service ‘CitationBurst’ in this list. I have tried to remain impartial and give a genuine, unbiased view of each service using the information I have available to me through our own trials and from feedback from others who have used other services and reported back to me.

We will publish all* comments made on this post so that service providers, customers and readers can share their comments and advice as well. This way our readers will get maximum value from this resource.

*Caveat: Any comments which are purely self-promotional or link-grabbing will be deleted.

Index of Contents

This post is pretty long! So to help you jump to the part that you’re most interested in, we’ve made it easy to go straight to the information you want:


Rewind….What are citations and why are they important?

Yelp citationCitations (aka local business listings) are a key part of local search optimization. A citation is a mention of your business on a third-party website – typically a local business directory, event site, industry/niche directory or review site. These mentions contain your Business’ Name, Address and Phone Number (NAP) but the listing can (and should) contain much more details about your business, like a description of your products or services, business hours, types of payments accepted, images, etc.

Having lots of citations that all display the exact same, accurate info about your business can help improve your ranking in local search results. Accuracy and ‘quality’ of your citation listings is considered the most important factor — sheer quantity has value but is trumped by quality (see recent Expert Citation Survey Results). Keep in mind that not all Citation sites are equal in the eyes of Google, Bing and Yahoo! Make sure that you only work with and get listed on quality Citation sites.

Cleaning up inaccurate data, merging duplicate listings and creating new listings is a critical part of local search optimization.

However manually going through each site to find, update or add a listing yourself is very repetitive and time consuming. But there is help at hand! In this post we compare six well-known local listing services and present essential facts that you need to know so that you can select the best service for your needs.

Direct-to-Site Submissions vs Aggregator Submissions

Citation building can be handled in a number of ways. Broadly these fall into two camps:

Direct-to-site Submission

Citation service providers go direct to the directories/citations sites they use and update or submit business data to them. This process is either done manually by real, actual people or it’s done via automated means – typically via APIs or data-uploads direct into directory databases.

Data Aggregator Distribution

Local Data Aggregators curate data about local businesses and sell or distribute that data to third-party directories, mobile apps, GPS providers, etc.

USA vs. other countries

This review is USA-centric, focusing on citation listing services that are available in the USA, but only some are available outside the USA.USA Flag

The US local data market is more evolved and structured than other countries. There are four central data aggregators (Acxiom, InfoUSA, Neustar/Localeze and Factual) that distribute their data out to the wider universe of directories and citation sites.

In the overview of each service further down the page I briefly mention which countries they operate in and how big their networks are in each country.

This aggregator model doesn’t really exist in other countries, although there are some smaller aggregators and even some directories that re-distribute data to other directories. ‘Factual’ is an international data provider so it has data on businesses in many/most countries.

Direct-to-Site Submission Services Compared

Data Aggregator Submission Services Compared

FeatureBrightLocalMozLocalYextAdvice LocalSynupWhitespark
ApproachManualAutomatedAutomatedManualManualManual
Cost Direct Submissions$3/listing$84/yr$499/yr$150/yr$30/mo$4-5/listing
Recurring FeeDelete
$84/yr$499/yr$150/yr$30/moDelete
Bulk Discount33% = $2/listingYes - negYes - negYes - neg33% = $20/moYes - Depends on $ Spend
Countries10 – inc USA, Can, UK, AusUSA & UK50+USAUSA11 – inc USA, Can, UK, Aus
Sites Submitted To160058250421800
Create New ListingsCheck
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Update Existing ListingsCheck
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Claim ListingsCheck
Delete
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Remove Duplicate ListingsCheck
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Data is Permanent?*Check
Delete
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Google Local / GMBCheck
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Yahoo LocalDelete
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Bing LocalCheck
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FacebookCheck
Delete
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YelpCheck
Delete
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FoursquareCheck
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Apple MapsCheck
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TomTomCheck
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Data Aggregator Submission Services Compared

Data Aggregator Submission Services Compared

FeatureBrightLocalMozLocalYextAdvice LocalSynupWhiteSpark
Submit to AggregatorsCheck
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Cost$55/year*$84/year$499/year$100/year$30/monthOn Request
Recurring Fee$55/year$84/year$499/year$100/year$30/monthDelete
Create New ListingsCheck
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Update Existing ListingsCheck
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Remove Duplicate ListingsCheck
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?Check
FactualCheck
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InfoGroupCheck
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Delete
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NeustarLocalezeCheck
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Delete
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AcxiomCheck
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Delete
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*This comparison focuses solely on USA data aggregator services. Factual is the only aggregator that operates outside of the USA and can be used for businesses in all other countries.

BrightLocal has been amazing and has saved me at least a dozen hours building citations!

Deacon Tyler Los Angeles

Yext

Overview of Yext

Yext logo

Yext offers a one-stop solution for taking control of approximately 80 of your online and mobile listings and managing them through one dashboard. They have a direct pipe (an API) into the directories, mapping services and mobile apps in their network so they can take control of your listings and publish edits and new and updated listings quickly.

As a Yext client you also get a more prominent listing on some directories (a ‘PowerListing’) that helps you standout from other businesses. Yext charges an annual, recurring fee, so once you start using them you are meant to maintain your ‘subscription year after year – cancelling your account has some repercussions (see below).

What other countries does Yext work in?

  • USA – 82 sites
  • UK – 40 sites
  • Canada – 32 sites
  • Australia – 23 sites
  • France – 21 sites
  • Germany – 36 sites
  • Italy — 19 sites
  • Portugal — 18 sites
  • Spain — 22 sites
  • And 70+ other countries

5 ‘must know’ facts about Yext

  • Submit direct to 30-80 different local directories, mapping services and mobile apps
  • You can quickly update data at any time and also promote special offers
  • Yext provides clear reports and analytics on listing performance
  • Yext charges a recurring, annual fee – not a one-off cost
  • Yext only submits to one data aggregator – Factual

Cost of Yext

  • $499/location per year*
  • Bulk discounts are negotiable down to approximately $250/location/year

*It’s hard to get a definitive price on Yext. They have an advertised price of $500 but most people can secure a discount if they play hard to get and/or have multiple locations.

Pros and Cons of Yext

PositivesNegatives
Manage 80+ of your listings through 1 dashboardIt’s expensive & cost is recurring each year
Take control quickly & make updates when you needWhen you stop using Yext the listing data reverts back to pre-Yext state
Get great standout on directories through ‘Power Listing' featuresOnly submit to 80 sites, many of which are low value
Good reporting & listing analyticsCan’t select which sites you submit to – fixed list
Submit to many powerful directories & map servicesReputation of being very sales focused with high churn rate
Don't submit to data aggregators (only Factual)

Key question: What happens if you stop using Yext?

The Yext data that feeds into their partners’ sites stop after one year (unless you repay for another 12 months.) Enhanced listing info that was added via Yext (e.g. images, working hours, bios, menus, etc.) will be removed from the listings immediately. Basic listing data (e.g. NAP) can revert to a pre-Yext state because it loses it’s ‘locked’ (aka trusted) state with each of the directories/services Yext feeds into.

My opinion on Yext

Yext has done a decent job of getting the technology side right, although they haven’t (by many accounts*) sorted out how to merge or remove duplicate listings yet. They do charge a lot of money for using their service, and if you stop paying them your listing info can revert to its old state which may be wrong/incomplete**.

In this sense I consider them to be the equivalent of PPC for listings – they offer a quick solution to sort your listing data out, but once you stop paying them all the benefits quickly stop. They also don’t submit to many sites considering there are hundreds of citation sites in the US.

Many of the services within Yext’s network have questionable value — e.g. GPS providers which are not relevant for many business types and can’t be crawled by Google so they have limited local SEO value.

So you pay to get listed on 30-80 sites but many of them don’t add much value to your local listing profile.

Compare features & pricing of Yext and BrightLocal

Reviews from around the web about Yext


Moz Local

Overview of Moz Local

moz local

Moz Local provides a service focused on distributing data via Aggregators. They allow you to update or submit listing details to the big four aggregators + five directories directly.  You can run a useful listing audit on their service to see where you do and don’t have listings and you can see where that data is complete, incomplete or even duplicated. You can upload a CSV of your listing data (for one or many locations) and then submit this data to their network for a charge of $84 per year.

Moz connects directly to Google My Business so you can pull in your data from there and also push data updates in Google My Business.

6 ‘must know’ facts about Moz Local

  • Moz Local submits to all 4 US aggregators
  • Provides a good audit tool to view existing listing completeness & duplicates
  • You can update listings & re-verify listing data at any time
  • Charge an annual fee – need to commit to maintain trusted status of data
  • No white-label reporting option
  • Listings go live slower due to delays in aggregator distribution*

*See data distribution timeline – https://getlisted.org/static/resources/listing_time_to_live.pdf

Moz Local in the UK

Moz Local also offer listing distribution in the UK. They submit via two aggregators called Central Index and Thomson Local which gets your data on seven sites and a network of local newspaper sites. In reality these aggregators don’t have such extensive networks as the US aggregators do (not Moz’s fault, just the way the UK market is.) The UK cost is £84/year

Cost of Moz Local

  • $84 per location per year
  • £84 per local per year for UK businesses

Pros and Cons of Moz Local

PositivesNegatives
Submits to all big aggregators for relatively low chargeSlow updates – listing changes can take 2-3 months
Manage multiple locations in 1 dashboardRecurring annual fee – failure to pay means data may revert back
Good audit tool that shows duplicate listingsDon’t create accounts/claim listings on all local directories
Well supported by a knowledgeable teamNo white-label reporting option for agencies
Only submit to 9 sites directly - 4 aggregators + 5 direct

*This issue is not of Moz’s making  – this is an aggregator issue and is a flaw in an Aggregator-only approach to listings.

Key question: What happens if I stop using Moz Local?

(taken from Moz Local FAQs) Moz Local will simply report to the sites in their network that the listing is no longer under management by Moz. In this event, Acxiom and Neustar Localeze will revert your listings to their status prior to your Moz Local subscription. In some cases, your other listings will lose enhanced content like website URL, secondary category information, logos and other images.

My opinion on Moz Local

The team behind Moz Local have excellent pedigree in understanding the local market and developing strong SaaS tools. Moz Local is a useful tool for checking listing status and for managing submissions to aggregators at relatively low cost – although not as low cost as BrightLocal.

The downsides are that listings are not claimed on each site, which means other people can claim your listings instead of you. Data can also revert if the feed into aggregators isn’t paid annually. And there can be long lead times for the data to go live on some sites and have an impact in Google (2-3 months). Many local biz owners are too impatient to wait this long and agencies need to show results sooner to keep clients happy.

Compare features & pricing of Moz & BrightLocal

Reviews from around the web about Moz Local

We've been blown away by the service and results we've received by using CitationBurst for our clients. I've been very satisfied with them as a company, and would highly recommend them!

Seth Partridge Guelph, Ontario

BrightLocal

Overview of BrightLocal

brightlocal logo

More than 1,000 SEO agencies outsource their local citation management to BrightLocal.

We have an in-house team of 50 submission agents and managers that currently handle 60,000+ citation submissions every month.

We offer a hybrid solution that combines manual, direct-to-site submissions and/or automated distribution via local data aggregators.

Users have total flexibility in choosing which route they want to take – direct submissions, aggregator submissions or both.

Users can also also select the number of sites and which sites we update or submit to. This flexibility suits customers who know what they want but can be complicated for customers who are less knowledgeable and want simple prepackaged options.

Out manual submission service operates in 10 countries including US, Canada, UK and Australia.

5 ‘must know’ facts about BrightLocal

  • Offer manual citation building and data aggregator distribution
  • Charge $2-3/listing for manual submissions and $55/year for aggregator submissions
  • You can select exact quantity of submissions and which sites to use
  • Guarantee that 70% of submissions go live in four weeks of submission
  • Aggregator submissions come with free 12-month updates

Cost of BrightLocal

  • Manual, direct-to-site submissions – $2-3 per listing
  • Data Aggregator submissions – $55/year

Pros and Cons of BrightLocal

PositivesNegatives
Lowest prices for both manual & aggregator submissionsDon’t guarantee that ALL submissions will go live
Can claim & submit directly to GoogleMyBusinessListings via aggregators can take 2-3 months to go live
Experienced, in-house team of 50 submission agents
Submit to all 4 data aggregators
Flexibility to submit to aggregators & direct-to-site
Create & claim accounts on directories
Simple online interface & reporting

Key Question: What happens if I stop using BrightLocal?

As 90% of our submissions are direct to site rather than into aggregators, the majority of listings are claimed and ‘owned’ by the customer so data remains intact in the future. But for any aggregator listings, after one year the feeds from aggregators into third-party sites lose their ‘managed’ status. We advise customers to renew their submissions to aggregators every 12 months to maintain the trusted data status – this renewal can be done directly or via BrightLocal for $55.

My opinion on BrightLocal

I can’t really provide an opinion of BrightLocal without it being biased. So all I’ll say is that we have completed over 600,000 submissions for more than 30,000 businesses and have lots of repeat customers. We have a big enough team to deliver citations at scale but also maintain focus on quality of citations delivered.

What countries does BrightLocal work in?

  • USA
  • UK
  • Canada
  • Australia
  • Ireland
  • South Africa
  • Netherlands
  • Germany
  • Singapore

Reviews from the web about BrightLocal

The majority of info and reviews on BrightLocal are about our tools and reports, not about CitationBurst. So we haven’t included these because they’re not relevant to this study.


Advice Local

Overview of Advice LocalAdvice Local Logo

Advice Local is a specialist local listing service that provides submission services in the USA. They typically work with SEO agencies and through channel partners and resellers – i.e. not with local businesses directly.

They provide both local search reporting (e.g. rankings, listings audit, review audit) as well as providing a blend of data aggregator submissions and direct to site submissions.

They offer a range of submission packages ranging from $100-$250+/year which include distribution via aggregators, direct submission to top 50 directories and reputation monitoring reports.

5 ‘must know’ facts about Advice Local

  • Submit to mix of aggregators and direct to site
  • Can handle set-up and claiming of Google Local / Google My Business listings
  • Can handle Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest account creation
  • Provide reporting as well as submission services
  • Only operates in the USA

Cost of Advice Local:

  • $100 – $250+ per location per year
PositivesNegatives
Specialist local submission serviceCost is higher than comparable services
Combine aggregator & direct-to-site submissionsYou can’t select which sites you submit to – used fixed lists
Can claim & submit directly to GoogleMyBusinessListings via aggregators can take 2-3 months to go live*
Can claim & submit directly to Facebook & TwitterDon’t create accounts/claim listings on all directories
Provide white-label reports for agencies
Submit to niche-industry sites for certain industries

*This issue is not of Advice Local’s making  – this is an aggregator issue and is a flaw in an Aggregator focused approach to listings.

Key question: What happens if I stop using Advice Local?

After one year the feeds from aggregators into third-party sites lose their ‘managed’ status. Listings with Acxiom and Localeze revert to status prior to using Advice Local. Any direct-to-site listings with claimed profiles remain intact and ‘owned’ by customer.

My opinion on Advice Local

Advice Local has been around for a long time and has a solid reputation. They really focus on local listing management and serving SMBs via channel partners and agencies. They’re pricing is economical at lower package levels but expensive at top end and I question the value.

They recently (2016) developed some vertical (aka ‘niche’) submission packages for five industries – Legal, Healthcare, Home Services, Financial Services and Restaurants. There are roughly 5-6 sites in each category and cost $99 + $20/month ($339/year all in). That is expensive and you can submit to most of these directories via BrightLocal for just $2/$3 per directory.

Compare features & pricing of Advice Local & BrightLocal

Reviews from the web about Advice Local

BrightLocal is by far the best Local SEO tool & citation building service we have ever used!

Sam Patel Glendale, AZ

Whitespark

Whitespark logo

Overview of Whitespark

Whitespark is a well known software and citation services provider based in Canada. They run a full suite of software including the Local Citation Finder, Local Rank Tracker, Reputation Builder and offer some other free tools as well. They offer citation building services in 11 countries and operate like a citation service provider. They offer bespoke citation research and citation clean up based on the specific client/location they work on. They partner with a third-party business, OptiLocal, to deliver citations.

There are no recurring aggregator fees. They claim existing listings and go through the phone verification process.

5 ‘must know’ facts about Whitespark

  • Have a strong team with great local knowledge/citation know-how
  • Submit to mix of aggregators and direct to site
  • One-off/adhoc cost – no recurring charges
  • Offer a more custom citation service
  • Guarantee that 70% submissions will go live (at the time of submission you can expect about 30% to be live)

Cost of WhiteSpark

  • $4-5 per submission (= $200-$250 for 50 submissions)

Pros and Cons of Whitespark

PositivesNegatives
Offer custom citation clean-up & research serviceOutsource some citation work to 3rd party (OptiLocal)
1 time cost – no recurring feeMore expensive than BrightLocal
Submit to aggregators & direct to certain sites
Create accounts on directories which clients own/access
You select number of submissions & which sites used

Key Question: What happens if I stop using Whitespark?

Whitespark does a lot of direct-to-site submissions. Therefore any direct listings with claimed profiles remain intact and ‘’owned’ by customer.

My opinion on Whitespark

The team at Whitespark have great local knowledge, good reputations and know the citation market well. They provide good customer service which is what some local businesses want and need. They cater to agencies and enterprise businesses. They charge more per submission than other services (e.g. 25-40% more than BrightLocal).

Compare features & pricing of Whitespark & BrightLocal

Reviews from the web about WhiteSpark


Synup

Overview of SynupSynup Logo

Founded in 2014 and based in India, Synup offers both local search reporting and local listing management, although their primary focus and billing structure is focused is on local listings.

They manually submit to 40 sites in their network. Most of their sites are US-centric – although some sites, like Facebook, Google Local and Factual, are international.

Their reporting covers local listings, business reviews and search rankings.

They primarily work with SMBs but do offer white-label services and reporting to SEO agencies.

5 ‘must know’ facts about Synup

  • They offer basic local search reporting included within $30/month fee
  • Only works for US-based businesses
  • You need to sign up for a 12 month-up deal
  • Offer instant updates on 42 sites and you can purchase extra updates on 150 sites
  • Offer discount pricing for multiple locations

Cost of Synup

  • $30/month ($360/year – 12-month agreement)
  • $20/month for 1000+ locations (12-month agreement)

Pros and Cons of Synup

PositivesNegatives
Offer instant data-syncing with 42 sitesCharge a monthly recurring fee with annual commitment
Can also submit data to additional 150 sitesSubmitting to additional 150 sites costs extra
Submit to Google My BusinessSome sites in their network are low value
Provide reputation monitoring toolsDon't guarantee listing update success
Provide additional SEO reports - e.g. rankingsOnly works for US-based businesses
Provide white-label reporting optionsCost per location is higher than comparable servcies

My opinion on Synup

Of all the services reviewed, Synup is the one I know least about. I believe that they target SMBs/local businesses more than agencies. At $360/year (12 x $30) they aren’t the cheapest solution available but you do get reporting and local listing updates for this amount. I did try their local submission service back in 2012 and it wasn’t good but they have developed a lot since then so may be much better now. Certainly their dashboard and website look much better than earlier versions.

Compare features & pricing of Whitespark & BrightLocal

Reviews from the web about Synup


Got a different viewpoint on this subject or some useful insights you want to share? We’re interested in publishing unique content written by smart marketeers on our blog. Contact us with your details and ideas and we’ll get back to you ASAP!

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75 thoughts on “Local Citation Services Compared – Moz Local vs. BrightLocal vs. Yext vs. Whitespark vs. Advice Local vs. Synup”

  1. Considering moving client accounts (I am an agency) from Yext to an alternative. the matter of owning citation listings is decisive, I think. Do you have experience in moving a local small business from Yext in such a way that local listing data, when removed from say Bing or Yahoo after Yext cancellation, can be replaced? I would be interested in the transition time?

    1. Hi, Rob…

      Great question! It’s one we get asked a lot. Here’s a good post to read about timelines on cancelling Yext.

      With the above in mind we have two strategies we usually run with.

      Option A (with Aggregator submissions)

      Stage 1 – Aggregator Submissions

      Submit to aggregators 7 weeks before cancelling Yext.

      Data aggregators take around 5 weeks to make data available to their partners (we need 2 weeks notice to submit which is where the 7 week figure comes from).

      This will plug the gap for when you leave Yext.

      Price $55 per location

      Stage 2 (optional) – order manual submissions

      You can then order follow-up campaigns 2 weeks after cancelling Yext.

      This will help fill the remaining gaps on certain sites while giving us the opportunity to claim other directory listings and get listed on local/industry specific sites.

      Price: 15 submissions @ $3 = $45.

      Total: $100

      Option B (Manual Submissions only)

      Order 25 manual submissions 2 weeks after cancelling Yext.

      Price $3 x 25 = $75

      Please let me know if this helps!

  2. I am a realtor and getting calls about “my Listing” and how inconsistent it is. I feel like I know more after reading this article – but am still a little confused and have a couple questions.
    1. What does the $2/$3 a listing mean?
    2. Since I am an agent that is part of an office – a bunch of us have the same address – how does that work?
    3. One of the people calling talked about setting up my keywords – does that come with all Citation Services?
    I think that is it…
    – Cindy

    1. Hi, Cindy…

      It’s not surprising that you’re getting a lot of calls. The price of $2-$3/listing is what it costs for our team to setup/fix one of your online directory listings. You can specifically select which online directories/citation sites you’d like to get listed on, and our team will attempt to manually claim them. With regard to sharing an office location, that CAN be a little tricky. We’d more than likely want to claim your PERSONAL name as the business name and use your office’s address (we do that for similar type industries like physicians and attorneys.) When someone says they’d like to “setup your keywords,” my guess is they want to help you select which keywords you should target for your location as well as do the SEO work to help you rank higher in the search engines. WARNING: If someone GUARANTEES any type of ranking — run away! No one can guarantee anything when it comes to the search engines and they’re likely to be a scam. Additionally, SEO work IS expensive. You can’t hire a professional, reputable SEO for less than $500/mo. If you pay less than that then they’re really not doing SEO work for you.

      Here are some articles that might help:

      https://www.rankpay.com/seo-cost/
      https://www.websitemagazine.com/blog/the-average-costs-for-seo-services
      http://www.seoblog.com/2017/01/cost-hire-seo-company/

      Hope this helps!

      Sherry

  3. I’m an agency currently with AdviceLocal, in negotiations with Yext. On that point I wanted to mention that another point of differentiation with Yext is that they offer a reviews module to agencies to elicit customer reviews via email and text. They have also recently released advanced analytics, and provide training and certification to partners to display a “yext certified” badge.

    Based on reviews I feel yext’s reseller support is probably very good.

    With Advice they have made some changes, but the system I was on felt cludgy for creating landing pages and widgets. They provide a visibility report that looks good, but implementing their widget was clunky. I’m on the 2015 system still and will ask about upgrades. I know that yext focuses on providing the scan tool for resellers. I would add these types of things to a comparison chart.

  4. Gents, when I stumbled upon this post I was hoping that would finally received a straight forward answer.At this point I am in to believe that BrightLocal offers the best citation services but finding myself on brightlocal.com I simply can’t accept that yet.

    I would really appreciate some external opinions from some colleagues,especially that this post was published a while ago.

    Please reply with genuine feedback ! Thanks.

  5. Do you cleanup for business takeover situations with name/phone no changes.

    e.g.
    Old Owners
    Old Business Name
    address
    OLD Phone no

    New Owners
    New Business Name
    same address as above
    new phone no

  6. Awesome review. Really well organized and extremely helpful. I noticed it was posted on November 2nd 2016, but comments go back to 2014. I am assuming you updated it a bunch between then and now.

    Do you guys have any good proposal documents on using your service to clean up duplicates and add new citations?

  7. Thank you so much for writing this article. It took me weeks to really gather all the information myself & doing all the citations myself. Then I simply googled BrightLocal vs yext vs mozlocal and you have done all the comparison for me. Needless to say, I subscribed to BrightLocal and using the searches to find what my competitors are doing. Thanks so much.

  8. Manual citation clean-up / set-up is time consuming but I have resisted trying the automated Citation blast with Bright Local due to the low success rate with the citation finder in Australia. BL is the only citation tool that I use and I’m mostly happy with it, but so many times it has a problem even finding listings in the Australian directories even though listings exist.

    We have between 40-60 claimable listings here, but also quite a few old screen scraper ones that are un-editable – it would be better to just remove them from the results.

    1. Hi, Alan…

      Thanks for your feedback about Australia citations. I will forward your input to our team that’s responsible for that area. Thanks for being a BrightLocal customer!

      Sherry Bonelli

  9. Hello,

    We claim about a dozen sites manually for our clients and use Localeze and Infogroup/Express Update to build citations. We have been wondering if using MozLocal or Bright Local to cover all 4 aggregators would be a more effective tool. My question is: is having a listing on Moz or BL equally effective to have them claimed specifically within one ore more data aggregators?

    1. Hi, Melissa…

      Yes, going through Moz Local or BrightLocal is just as effective as going through the aggregators. We’ve partnered with the aggregators so the results should be the same. Please reach out to our support team through chat if you have any additional questions. Thanks for your feedback!

      – Sherry

    1. Hi, Cathy…

      Yes, Yext has expanded to quite a few countries, but the number of Citation Sites/Online Business Directories it helps you manage depends on what’s available in each country.

      Thanks for your feedback!

      Sherry Bonelli
      BrightLocal

    1. Hi Ralph,

      Great to hear you’ve taken out a trial on the tools, let us know how you get on!

      Really sorry but we don’t offer a free trial of our CitationBurst services, this is because all of our submissions are manual (require human work) and we need to make sure we pay our submission team!

      If you’re unsure about how CitationBurst works or just want some more info here’s a great overview post https://www.brightlocal.com/take-contol-of-your-citations/ or you can sign up to a free 30 minute demo where we can walk you through here https://www.brightlocal.com/free-online-demo/.

      Thanks Ralph

      Ross

  10. What if you don’t have a physical location for your business. I operate a Videography service that travels to clients and I don’t have an office location? I find the physical address part a problem as I don’t want to list my home address.

    Appreciate any responses!

  11. Am I crazy?
    I’m wondering if anyone believes that claiming, creating and managing these listings by hand gives you an advantage? I’m somewhat new to this, but I’m not seeing that any solution here is all encompassing and I wonder if this is a case of taking the time to manually add the major, I don’t know 5-15 key listings makes sense for a small company with 1 location.
    Thanks

  12. I have been using yext.com for over 5 years. When I started, the top package was $399/year and I was told that it will not go up if I keep my listing current. So, here we are 5 years later and I am still paying $399/year. I found yext because one of my competitors had reviews in topix and it was there I found yext. It sounded too good to be true and I gave it a shot. Just like that, I had all my info & pictures immediately posted to 50+ platforms and I update my info quarterly. I do not know if I would pay $1000/year, but for $399 it’s a no brainer. My specials, announcements, and anything else I deem newsworthy immediately gets blasted on line. And for what it’s worth, I show up on page 1 of google in the 5 categories that are important for my business. And, I just found out recently that yext is sending me the xone Bluetooth device at no additional cost. For me, yext is great.
    A word about yelp: I had advertised on yelp for many years back when you were only paying for impressions. And we have been in business over 10 years. I finally had enough with yelp and as soon as I did not renew my contract, immediately over night, my 100 reviews were cut down to 50 and it was the 5-star reviews that were removed and all the less favorable reviews, some of them over 5 years old, came right to the top of my listing. Can yelp get away with these bully tactics? obviously they can. But what I also noticed was that 3 very new salons that do advertise with yelp had over 100 reviews each in less than a year – this is not possible if you play by the rules – that is what is wrong with yelp: there is no control… anybody (employees, family, friends neighbors, competitors) can go on yelp and boost/bash a business whether they have ever set foot in that establishment or not. It is NOT a levelplaying field on yelp – businesses abuse the system and yelp itself decides on who to make their ‘darlings’ because they can.
    This leads me to my final point: Certified Reviews. I use mindbodyonline for my front end software and because of that I was contacted by demandforce.com (an Intuit company). Demandforce does many things: follow-up, confirming appointments, campaigns and allows clients to post reviews. The reason they are called “Certified Reviews” is because ONLY when a client is checked out at the front desk, when I hit the key to print a receipt, that is when demandforce is notified of that visit. Then, demandforce sends the survey to the client and included in the survey is the opportunity to leave a review pertaining to that day’s visit… ONLY clients who have been to shop and actually had a service are eligible to write a review… none of this crap that goes on on yelp. Demandforce’s certified reviews are written ONLY by actual clients who received a service within the past 90 days. And, demandforce then channels these certified reviews to google where (for us) they appear on page 1 of the relevant search categories. Demandforce is not for everyone – it costs $300/month – but for me, to have OVER 1000 5-star reviews on the first page of google is worth that price. ANd, these are certified reviews.
    Wrapping up, when I started with yext, I was not aware of any other comparable services and after reading the comments here, I gather that yext is not the only game in town. I can say that for me, yext is awesome. It works, it’s fast, efficient and well worth the annual $399. One other thing yext does is instantly notify my when a new review appears about my business on any of its 60+ platforms… it would be horrible if a bad review was written and I was unaware of that review for months. I guess I am a lifer with yext and the annual $399 is just another business related expense (as is the monthly $299 for demandforce, $85 for mindbody, $150 monthly for SEO…). It is now 2016 and one big reason that we are still in business and thriving (despite yelp’s attempts to drown us) is because we keep up with the emerging technology. Sure, getting a new client as a referral is the best, but we get many, many new clients daily who tell me “I went online and did my research and decided to come to Guys & Dolls.

  13. I will just offer the diamond of the article everyone is wondering,

    “I believe that they cater more to business owners rather than search consultants/agencies. They charge more per submission than other services (e.g. 25-40% more than BrightLocal) and only don’t offer any guarantee that submissions will go live – suggest that 30% of their submissions will turn into live listings.”

    I would venture 80% of the traffic here is from fellow SEO’ers, and any local expert will know the race comes down to two horses (well, after this article imo one horse) Bright Local and Whitespark.

    Now that we dispensed with the diamond, let’s get to the gold, what happens to the citations after buyers separate service. I wasn’t even aware of them all so I was very happy with the piece of info gleaned from this article.

    My two cents, I would like to see an article about the citation search capabilities of Bright vs Whitespark and any bonus services offered with each platform.

    Great article, nice length and very informative.

    1. Thanks for the comment Justin. We plan to update this article very soon, so appreciate the additional idea too.

  14. Hi Myles, terrific article! I found it via a google search and after much research and reading this, I decided to use BrightLocal for my client here in Orlando. We’re very pleased with our choice.

    Question: Do you currently send data to additional aggregators besides InfoUSA & Axciom? I saw that in your FAQ but wanted to see if there was an update. Also, does that data stay in the aggregators year-after-year or does it revert should a client decide to move on from BrightLocal?

  15. Excellent article and advise – running a “smallish” business where I service residential and business customers in and around a large metropolitan area, I struggle with the rankings in my local area and will definitely check out the advice given here.

    Thanks again!

  16. Just came across this article as I’m looking into achieving better local ranking for my business site – thanks for the great info and deep dive into the technical details!!

  17. This is just what I was looking for – ironically, I read it after purchasing your service to test it out. I notice that in spite of the fact that one of these is your service – the article does seem to be very unbiased and gives a really good outline of them all. I’ll be really interested to see how it goes for the test service we’ve just purchased.

  18. I have been told that it is not only important to claim a listing but keep it refreshed over time. The question is if nothing has changed how do I keep it fresh and at what time intervals ? Is there a service which will do this for me ?

  19. This is a fantastic article. I really appreciate gentlemen like Myles for doing his best to be unbiased and Ross for chiming in as well. I’m beginning a citation campaign for a local transmission shop. Ross can you recommend a citation building playbook- maybe a blog post written by BrightLocal or any source you recommend?

    Any recommendation of a must getting listed on these TOP “X” number of directories would be greatly appreciated.

    I’m very interested in using BrightLocal in tandem with WhiteSpark or MozLocal. Once again, thanks Ross for the post!

  20. What’s the word on Connectivity? Didn’t know much about them until a recent call. Doesn’t seem top-of-mind like BrightLocal, Moz, and Whitespark but a recent Q&A was intriguing. I think they were Solfo and a Yellowbot connection.

  21. Having recently participated in the “Effective Optimization for Multi-Location Businesses” webinar hosted by Miles, I was wondering if things have changed significantly since this post was first drafted? I ask because one thing I noticed is MozLocal is now $84 per location instead of $49 which in terms of percentage is a huge increase. Perhaps there are some new features that are now a part of it that weren’t at the $49 price point?

    Overall, great post Miles. And I really appreciate your sharing your expertise and mentioning your competitors. Well done and high class.

    1. Hi Joe, thanks for your comment. We will take a look and ensure everything is up to date. Thanks for the reminder!

  22. I love Brightlocal for it’s sources and for the extra functions that they give. Especially the google maps rank checker. So far I haven’t found any better ones for the price. Also the ability to checkout citations that where already build.

  23. Long-time Brightlocal customer here, I always recommend it to my clients when I see they need it. Seems like Moz Local really gimped out Getlisted when they bought it, I remember it used to be a lot more sites than 8 (I remember it being 25+ because I scraped their list and spun off a service from it).

    Would like to throw Marketer’s Center into the ring in your list, citations are the most popular service we offer and has been for at least the last year or so.

  24. Hi Darren,
    I can vouch for white spark being outstanding they really do a great job. Very professional really know their stuff. Moz Local is great too however if you need to clean up citations and you want it done correctly I recommend white spark there also able to build niche citations which is important.
    Whitespark, MozLocal then BrightLocal
    My opinion is they’ll do something slightly differently so if you have a lot of local stuff to do talk to Darren at white spark not to say anything negative about bright local I love their enterprise software and you really can’t go wrong with any of these guys. I will see you all in a few days at localU
    Tom

    1. Thank for commenting Tom. We’ve heard good things about Whitespark too. It’s great that there are a number of companies offering a citation building / clean up service, which keeps the market fluid & competitive. So thanks for adding to the discussion!

      As an aside, I saw you’ve taken out a trial with BrightLocal but haven’t yet tried our CitationBurst service. We’d love to hear your feedback – so please find 10 free CitationBurst credits added to your newly verified account. Let us know what you think.

      Thanks,

      Ross

  25. I am a local business. My moz local score is 52%. Is it worth spending the $84/year to get my moz local score to 87%? Thanks.

  26. This article has been exactly what we’ve been looking for as we’re wrestling with which service to start using for our clients. Personally the cost for yext doesn’t seem to be supported given the other offerings in the marketplace, but again that’s based on our research rather than having used the service.

    As an agency, one big interest for us is the reporting capability as we would like easily generated reports, ideally not just excel, preferably a graphical PDF, that can be presented to clients to clearly present the work undertaken and the status.

    We reached out to Moz Local today asking about what reporting they included and this was their response.

    David Lee (Moz Help)
    Jan 30, 2:19 PM

    Hi Rob

    Thanks for reaching out! Our reporting features are currently being finalized and we are hoping to deploy them within the next couple of weeks. If you would like I can keep you posted once they have officially been released. I don’t know what they will look like yet but I will try to get some examples for you next week.

    Hope this helps and let me know if you have any questions!

    David Lee
    Moz Help Team

  27. Great article and great resource Myles!

    I noticed that every service listed limits citations to general categories and placements only in cities where advertisers have a physical office. Do you think there is a market for local citations that can offer highly customized key-terms and listing placements in every city across targeted counties and/or states rather than all in one or limited cities?

  28. Hello Everyone,
    I like the overview of the 5 corps so far and the ongoing conversation. But why no one mentioned what those companies can do specifically besides submission and creating the citations? For example, as a business owner, do I get enhanced content on all the sites and directories? What I mean is a full page profile page on online directories including:
    60 characters title tag – “tagline” ( very important for SEO efforts )
    Up to 2000 characters business message ( overview of a business )
    Link to business website ( connecting people to reservations page right away )
    Link to Services/Prices ( menu link )
    Aggregation of any Special Offers ( online coupons )
    Ability to post reviews on directories
    Unlimited number of photos
    List of categories
    Map of the location
    Hours of operations
    Logo
    Methods of Payments accepted by the business
    Video ( which site supports a youtube video for example )
    As an SEO people you all know that basic listing is not enough anymore. Search engines like lots of content, fresh content and unique content. So just having basic listing on those directories will not help much in boosting the online rankings. Content is the king these days. So does any of the 5 companies described above will assure my business an enhanced, fully build profile page on those directories and mobile apps? I know Yext does guarantee that but they are too expansive. Any ideas?
    Thanks,

  29. In researching whether or not to have another service provider handle out local listings for us and clients and being a Moz fan, I’m glad I found this post. I’d never heard of BrightLocal and WhiteSpark, so to read up on you both is pretty interesting. For WhiteSpark, I’m really liking the fact they do localized research for some authority (and real) citation sites which can add a lot of value to a local search campaign. On the other hand, BrightLocal seems very reasonably priced, all things considered. I’ve used UBL before and was not happy at all with their support or how their listings actually went through. Cumbersome and did I mention their support was pretty terrible.

    I know it’s a challenge to remain unbiased when comparing your products to a handful like you’ve done, Myles. But, I do think you handled it well and provided the facts, which ultimately will be the deciding factor for many of us in the field looking to better our clients online visibility.

    I’m going to continue to look into BrightLocal and WhiteSpark and see what we can do! Thanks for letting me post my thoughts and again thanks for sharing yours! – Patrick

    1. Hi Patrick. Thanks for the feedback and appreciating that we’ve given a fair appraisal of each service here – our intention is always to be useful and fair.

      Please let me know when you take a look at us. I’d be happy to give you some free credits to test out CitationBurst and hopefully our delivery & customer support will delight you and you can purchase more with proven confidence.

  30. I’m curious about where a service like Vendasta’s Presence Builder fits in the mix. They submit business listings to all the four major data providers: Factual, Acxiom, Infogroup, and Neustar (Localeze). Has anyone used this? It seems really similar to Moz Local.

    I’d also be interested in thoughts on duplicate listing removal/suppression tools. Myles offered a nice rundown of duplicate removal approaches of BrightLocal and Whitespark. Yext is now offering such a tool, which apparently redirects duplicate listings to the desired, controlled listing on the Yext platform. Has anyone tried this tool, and are there new alternatives out there?

    Thanks,
    Patrick

  31. Hi Myles,

    Still waiting on an answer to my comment. I’m shopping around for a citation builder that can handle 10+ locations each with a different set of services and some overlap of services. Since this is the most recent comparison post (I’ve seen some others but it seems one or more services have been revamped since some of those posts) I thought you might be able to help me wade through the options.

    Thanks,

    Navid

  32. Note from Editor – this comment has been edited due to ‘excessive over-promotional content’

    When talking about prominent platforms you are leaving out what is probably the best all around platform on the market sweetiQ.

    They currently handle all the local work for FED-EX, DOMINOS, CHEMDRY, GENERAL MOTORS to name a few.

    Having used all the platforms you discussed , I can say without a doubt that sweetiQ is head and shoulders above all the ones you have listed.

  33. Hi Myles,

    Of the services you compared, you only mention one that has the ability to maintain multiple locations with one dashboard- mozlocal. I used Yext once upon a time and seem to recall being able to put in multiple locations, but I could be mistaken.

    In any case, my new company has about 10 locations, and I would like to define the services offered at each, as well as the providers if possible, while doing as little work as possible. Is there any more insight you can provide specifically for multiple locations that offer different services?

    1. Hi Navid – apologies for slow publication of your comment – we had lots of comments around that time & it slipped past us.

      I believe that you can manage multiple locations via the Yext dashboard, but i didn’t feel it was one of their key strengths. Given your comment we’ll review & update this post to make it more useful.

      All the services provided are able to handle multi-location businesses – including BrightLocal. Some are better set-up than others but with just 10 locations i believe that all providers can handle this in an efficient way.

      If you opted to try BrightLocal for example we could –

      1. Assign an account contact to assist with campaign set-up
      2. Set-up campaigns via CSV upload
      3. Select best citations for you
      4. Scheduled & complete citations and report results back to
      5. Display all locations in single dashboard so you can click to view campaign reports for each location

      Does this give you the type of time-saving solution you’re looking for?

  34. I need a honest opinion here from you guys. If you’re a single location business, does it even make sense to work with any one of these services? Or would you recommend that a single location business do it on its own?

    I’d be surprised any business would be willing to task a local search specialist with submitting one location to five or six places and only charging $10-25 for it. You’d go broke doing that!

    1. Hi Tony. Sure there’s lots of value in giving this task over to a ‘specialist’. Doing citations requires consistency and time to get it done and many small business owners don’t understand the citation landscape or have the time to review, update & list on ket citation sites.

      Getting listed on only 5-6 sites doesn’t really achieve much for a business. If these 5-6 are the most powerful citation sites then it helps, but why stop there?

      We typically advise customers to aim to build between 50-100 citations and then pause to see the impact these have on ranking. Submitting/updating on this many covers off the most valuable sites + some decent vertical & local sites.

      In terms of pricing your services to a local business. It’s really hard to do citations in a high-quality way for any less than $2 per citation. You need to show that you can add value in other ways by understanding the citation landscape, knowing the submission rules & then tracking campaigns afterwards. This all takes time & knowledge which most local business owners don’t have so are willing to pay for.

  35. Myles,

    Thanks for the informative post, I feel that most SEOs will value this info. My personal experience with citation includes Yext for clients, Moz Local (back to the GetListed days), as well as use of the WhiteSpark tools.

    For my clients and I, the main goal of citations was to help increase rankings in the map pack as well as get referral traffic from credible sites. I found that Yext did nothing to help with this despite a nice $500 price tag. I like the resources Moz Local provides however I find there listing status tools to be inaccurate at times (ex. I manually create a listing and the tool still says inaccurate or missing listing). WhiteSpark is great for those niche citations, but I also will say that Moz Local does provide some cool resources on listings by trade or by specific city.

    In all, I have to agree with your response to Robb Bailey in that a 2-pronged approach is best. Do the important manual ones yourself (I find it is best to work with one person in the actual office for phone verifcation- the biggest pain in the butt of all) and use the aggregators to get widespread coverage. I think a combination of BrightLocal, UBL and WhiteSpark would be a winning long-term strategy that an agency could work over a few months for a client without breaking the bank. As you have eluded, there is currently no one-trick pony.

    1. Hi Daniel. Thanks for sharing your experiences of the services that you’ve tested. I have also read the Moz citations by city & by biz category. On the whole 90% of the same sites appear in top 10 for all locations & all trades so i don’t find it that useful. It would be more useful to have a list of top 10 dedicated location or category citations, that don’t include the big boys such as Yelp, YP.com & facebook because everyone is aware of those sites already. We are working on a research piece for this right now 🙂

      let me know if you’d like to give our CitationBurst service a try and we’ll put some free credits in your account. Thanks Daniel

  36. Myles & co,

    What are your recommendations for doing more than 1 of these at a time for a client? It seems like there’s a mixure of manual updates + seed data distribution in most of these options. Our agency has been manually claiming the top 20 citations for the client, then shooting for seed data cleanup on the rest. That’s been the most effective “rule” we’ve followed recently.

    Lends to the question, “Is there more firepower for getting quick results for our clients by signing up for more than 1 of these services?”

    By the way, I think this is a 100% healthy conversation to be having. I’m excited to see Myles and Darren openly sharing this information with all of us. Local needs ambassadors like you 2. Bravo.

    Robb

    1. Hi Robb. Thanks for your comment & i completely agree that this is a positive conversation to have – will benefit the local search community all round.

      I think that there are definite benefits for combining the approach taken with citations, not necessarily by using both types of service.

      My personal belief is that a 2 pronged approach works best –

      1. Use aggregators to tackle listing issues at source & use reach of aggregators to get data spread across hundreds of local sites/services/apps – takes 2-3 months

      2. Use manual, direct to site submissions to quickly claim listings on most important 50-100 sites and get quick updates. This gives you ownership of these listings and keeps data locked & in your control. This is a 1 time act, until the point that your biz details change and you need to change listing info.

      To this end you might combine using MozLocal for aggregators, with BrightLocal for speedy manual listing update on top sites you handpick.

  37. Myles,
    Nice review of the main citation builders. One of the important feature that I didn’t see in the reviews was clean up of existing citations. I know this can be a big problem in citation building. I know whitespark has a cleanup service, but its pretty expensive (although I’m sure its worth it). Does BrightLocal or any of the other services do any cleanup for duplicates?

    1. Hi Mike. We include a row in summary table on ‘Update Listings’. This covers clean up of incorrect citations and to some degree the removal of duplicates. Removing duplicates is an important task but one that often has mixed results because the process is not clear or robust on most sites. Generally it’s like this –

      1. Identify duplicate listing
      2. Make request to site for duplicate to be removed or merged if there are reviews on it
      3. Wait for site editors to review request & listings
      4. Prey that they make the change as you asked them to do!

      WhiteSpark do offer this service as do BrightLocal. But because of the relatively low success rate it’s hard to offer guarantees around this – we truly are at the mercy of the directories.

      What we have found works best is to always give directories as much info as possible so their editors can quickly make a decision about whether to remove/merge or not. Give them links to G+ Local & business website + other key citations showing the correct business info. This means they don’t have to do any research to confirm the details of your request. Then obviously make it clear which listing is the one to keep so they don’t inadvertently remove the right one 🙁

      FYI – MozLocal has a nice ‘dupe’ spotting engine on their tool.

  38. Good comparison with quite a lot of info on each service all in once place. Yext and UBL were both no good for me but I haven’t tried Brightlocal before. I recommend checking out DirectoryBug Pro Listings too. They kill it with unique descriptions, fully filled profiles and live listings in your report.

  39. Hi Myles,

    I was surprised to hear you say that BrightLocal has an in-house citation team. I had heard your citation work was completed by http://qualitysubmissions.com/. Is that not the case?

    Also, thanks for including Whitespark in your comparison. I’d like to address a few points you’ve made about our service.

    1) We say that typically 30% of the submissions will be live at the time you receive your report. These would be the sites that post submissions instantly, and within 4 weeks we expect about 70% of the citations to be live, just as with your service. I just added an additional line to our citation building FAQ to mention this: http://www.whitespark.ca/citation-building-faqs

    2) Our local/niche citation building services are one of the great pros of the service I think you missed. We have the only service I know of where we do custom research on city-specific and industry-specific citations. These kinds of citations can provide a significant relevance boost in your citation profile.

    3) To address your thinking that we cater more to business owners, I’d say about 80% of our orders are repeat orders from agencies.

    4) Our reports are delivered in Excel, not CSV. We find this to be the best way to report on citations because they’re very easy for the agency to brand and deliver to clients as their own work.

    5) Because we also submit to local specific and industry specific sites, we have over 3000 sites in our database of quality citation sources. Our full database is over 10,000, but the remaining sites don’t meet our quality standards.

    Thanks again for including us. I think you’ve done a decent job remaining balanced and factual based on the information you could find online.

    1. Hi Darren. Thanks for posting such a detailed comment. We genuinely want this article to reflect the truth about each service and we will amend based on your comments.

      To answer your question on our in-house team. We’ve operated in house team since we started on submissions (3 years back). A long the way we have tested a few outsource services to supplement our own team and 1 of the was QualitySubmissions. We stopped pretty quickly because (contrary to their name) they didn’t provide good quality. We’ve found that the only way to ensure quality is to control the process end to end from training agents > submission delivery > QA & review. It’s more expensive to do this way but the outcome is so much better for customers.

      Thanks Darren – best wishes to you & your team.

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