Promoting your brand and growing the business can be done in a plethora of ways. Various strategies and solutions are on the table, but the general idea is to go with the most efficient approaches. One of the most useful ways to raise awareness of your business is via citations. If you choose this strategy, you should know that there are two options to choose from: manual citations and data aggregator submissions. I will cover both in this article, and answer one of the most important questions – do manual citation submissions perform better than data aggregator submissions?
What are the manual citations?
Citations are short pieces of text that contain important information referencing your business on other websites. They are extremely useful for brand promotion. The first type of citations to cover today is manual citations.
This requires a person to go to visit a website, search the listing to see if their company is listed, and if not, to create the account for themselves, list their business information, and verify the account.
This 5 step process is simple, but it consumes a lot of time if you wish to list your business on multiple websites, and keep the information updated.
Data aggregator submissions
As opposed to the manual citations, data aggregator submissions are done by companies called Local Data Aggregators. These LDAs collect information about local businesses and distribute or sell them to networks of search engines, mobile apps, GPS and mapping services, or third-party companies.
If you want to use the services of an LDA company, simply create your account with them, and update your information. They will take care of the distribution instead of you.
Local Data Aggregators save time
If you do the basic math, you will see that local data aggregator companies save a precious amount of time. Manual citations take between 10-20 minutes to submit, and that’s per site. If you want to post your data on 500-1000 websites, that can be translated into 10-20 hours of repetitive work.
Submitting to one LDA website takes approximately 20 minutes. If you take into consideration that the USA has 4 major LDA companies, all of the work will be done in 80 minutes. From that point on, they do the rest.
What is the difference in cost between manual citations and LDAs?
When we talk about the manual citations, the price varies based on the type of payment. Some offer a fee per site, that can be between $3 and $5. Others offer a monthly fee, where the average is $20-$40. Finally, you can pay for a whole year, which can cost you anywhere from $400 dollars and up.
When it comes to LDA companies, Foursquare charges $15, Neustar Localeze $297, and InfoGroup and Factual are free of charge.
Do manual citation submissions perform better than data aggregator submissions?
The main question still remains – do manual citation submissions perform better than data aggregator submissions? It is not only important to find the best way to post citations but to also identify quality citation sources. There are a couple of factors that affect the final outcome.
Controlling where you see your citations
With manual citations, even though they consume a lot more time, you can pick where you want to display your information. When it comes to LDAs, you cannot choose websites to post. They have their own database and customers they work with.
From that perspective, you will have a closely-targeted group of locations for your business information if you go with manual citations.
The issue with duplicate citations
Creating duplicate citations is not good. If the information is not equally updated, readers might accidentally look at the citation that contains old data.
A good thing is that LDAs have an algorithm that will remove duplicate citations from their websites. However, if multiple LDAs have the same customers, both can create a separate account on the same website.
If you want to remove manual duplicate citations, you first have to contact the administrator of the website.
Which option allows for a wider spread of citations?
When it comes to manual citations, there is no limit to how many websites you can post, as long as you have enough time. However, a good practice is to post on the top 40 to 50 websites to get the best results.
However, one benefit of data aggregator submissions is that they can reach where manual citations cannot. Some websites do not allow manual citations and only work with LDAs.
The control of business listings between manual citations and LDAs
When you submit a manual citation, you have full control over it. Furthermore, you claim the ownership of that listing.
However, listings on the LDA websites are “unclaimed”, since there is no actual account created. A downside of this is that a completely random person can claim your business on that listing, and use it for malicious intent.
What happens after one year of using LDA services?
This is an important question to ask. After your yearly subscription ends, the listing loses its trusted status with an LDA company. What they do next is, they look for listings on other websites in order to keep the information up to date, and that can lead to many problems. With that in mind, it is smart to renew your subscription every year, so you can update information on your own.
Is outsourcing to manual citation submission companies a good idea?
Besides talking about manual citations and LDAs, it is important to cover the outsourcing manual citation companies as well. This can be a good idea for a few reasons:
- it saves you a lot of time
- professionals write your citations
- you get the quality and control of manual citation services, with the added help
If you have additional questions regarding this outsourcing process, it is recommended to contact a professional citation service company and find out everything you need.
As you can see, both options have their advantages and disadvantages. Whether manual citation submissions perform better than data aggregator submissions depends on your requirements. My suggestion is to use a hybrid variation of both – LDAs for a wider spread, and manual citations for more control on the top 50 websites. Also, it pays off to use Google Adwords as well. Furthermore, if you outsource a part of work as well, you can create a perfect combination that will propel your business forward with speed and precision!