Today I received an unsolicited email from Yext.com telling me that one of my businesses didn’t have all it’s local business listings optimized. They were referring to sites like Citysearch, Google Places, Yahoo! Local, etc. And it was true — that particular business just opened and we were setting up accounts one by one with a plan to have all active in a few weeks (I’ll tell you why we do it that way in a minute).
After I read their email I clicked on a link to their site. Less than 5 minutes after that I got a call from a Yext salesperson telling me he knew I clicked on the link and wanted to know if I was interested in learning more about their product. My response? “Sure”… I always like to learn about new products and services, especially if they may be able to help my clients.
The Yext salesperson started telling me about how they can create all my listings at once and all will look exactly the same and I won’t have to do anything. I told him that I preferred to drip them out over a few weeks (there have been rumors in the past that using automated systems to create listings can raise a red-flag with Google. More on that in a minute).
After denying my comment about auto-creating accounts hurting your ranking with Google the salesperson’s response was a bit unprofessional: “Seriously? You’re going to do it by hand?” (said with an exasperated sigh). I told him yeah, I’m happy doing it that way. He said “Really?!” Me: “Yes.” Him: CLICK.
The salesperson for Yext actually hung up on me because I wanted to set up my listings one at a time! Had he actually tried to sell me the product I may have been interested. He never bothered. He just hung up.
So let’s get the Yext rundown on how they treated me:
- subscribed me to their email list without permission
- cold-called me after monitoring my click on their site
- got exasperated when I said I would set up my listings one at a time
- hung up on me when I told him I was serious
Wow… way to build a business guys.
Here’s the thing: I was polite and courteous the whole time. I WANTED to be sold… I like being sold. This guy was maybe having a bad day or whatever, but it was totally uncalled for. He could have at least said “okay, thanks for your time. Let me know if you change your mind” or something like that.
As far as the product they offer, it isn’t a bad idea. They do have competition (I actually have access to another company that does the same thing). I prefer to set up accounts over time and here’s why: a while back it was found that Google saw new businesses using the local listings services as a way to get links into their website, so they were flooding the local listings all at once. Google doesn’t like when machines set up things online (that’s one reason they cracked down on article sites in the Panda update — people were blasting one article out to 100 websites simultaneously). I don’t know if it matters anymore (Google changes things all the time), but I’m not willing to take a chance with it. My advice? Set up all the main listings right away (Google Places, Yahoo! Local, Bing Local, Yelp, Facebook, Twitter, etc.). Then, each week have an employee add another 5-10 listings. The information can be copied and pasted to every site so they all look consistent and to speed up the process. It really isn’t rocket science and you don’t need to pay to have it done.
Oh, the other reason the Yext salesperson told me it was good to set it up all at once was because every listings will be identical. That’s all well and good, but had he stuck around a little longer I would have asked him how Yext treats sites that allow for different types of content. What about sites that allow video? Do they upload the videos or just ignore that category? What about a site that allows ten photos instead of 5? Do they only upload five photos? That’s another reason I do it manually: every site is different and I want to be sure that I optimize my listing on every site. Another example: categories. For a dental office, some listings sites only allow the category of “Dentist”. Some allow specialties. Some allow multiple categories. Some allow you to create your own. So if you tell Yext you are a dentist, are they going to add the category for “Ceramic Dental Implants” if it’s available? Maybe they do… I don’t know. Would have been nice to find out. Too bad I was hung up on.