The only time I have seen Yext provide value is for enterprise multi-location listing management. In other words, if you are managing 100's or 1000's of locations for a business. Of course, this is going to be very expensive but if you need a LOT of data updated across 100's of listings Yext is a solution.
Outside of that scenario I see no reason to spend the money on Yext for local businesses. Go with Whitespark or Bright Local for citation building an clean-up.
To add to what Colan mentioned, I've used Yext for enterprise level clients and spent $100,000+ per year with them. Prior to that, I was the sole person managing 1,000+ listings for the client on GMB.
Not only that, but I had roughly 15 other clients I was doing SEO work for. The business was already paying $70,000 a year to have me manage their GMB listings (this was paid to the agency I worked for, not me personally).
So it was likely worth it for the business to pay roughly double for a dedicated solution that went beyond GMB. Additionally, this was a large health system (Yext offers healthcare specific directory listings) so it made sense.
I've heard and seen nothing but bad things about Yext for small business owners and I wouldn't suggest it as a solution for any non-enterprise level company.
We use Yext with each of our monthly SEO Clients as it's a simple one-stop location for the directories. We do have manual listings at other places too, but the advantage that we use in Yext is a simple update at 1 location for Images, Menus, Product/Services, Coupon Specials, and Events. Updating in the one location pushes out to everyone else.
We use Brightlocal for some other directory listings and also the aggregators, but the Menu & Coupon push is worth the money in Yext (at least for our clients).
It really depends on budget, we use it for small local businesses, it helps us scale that part of our offerings in a super reliable way and we build the cost of it into our retainer.
We use Yext in conjunction with BrightLocal and have found that this approach covers the largest most important sites and the smaller directories. It's costly - so it's not right for every business owner or agency but man I would be lying if I didn't say how much time it saves us.
We use Yext for our monthly clients in our top tier 'partner' program, particularly like the 'knowledge tags' feature that gives us one short script to add schema to our clients websites. We use Bright Local as the perfect compliment to Yext. Not for everyone, but works for us.
We get this question all the time and no, it's not worth it for a small business or an SEO working for a small business to use Yext. The cost over the long run compounds vs manual building and if you cancel, you lose your listings.
Over 5 years you'll have paid Yext ~$2,500. In 5 years you'll still have only paid the fee initially if you build manually. With us that's a savings of close to $2,000. It just doesn't add up.
The only situation I can think of is maybe with a client that updates their hours constantly and just doesn't listen to you when you say that updating your listings on a monthly basis is unnecessary. You know, the client that wants to update their pictures once a month and has bought the incorrect assumption that "fresh" information on your listings will help you rank higher. Get Yext just to make the client feel better in that case.
I'll also echo what others have said about enterprise. It is a solution if you're managing hundreds or thousands of listings.
Beyond those two use cases, and for 99% of small businesses, go with manual over Yext.
P.S. In the interest of full disclosure, I am the President of a company that runs a manual citation service. So while I think my opinion is unbiased, I'll let you decide
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