Manual vs Automatic Citation Submission

Having an organized strategy is one of the ways to improve your SEO. Part of this strategy is surely citation submission, which is one of the main factors when talking about local organic growth and better rankings on Bing or Google searches. In this text, we will focus on the two various approaches of citation submission – manual and automatic. Let’s see the positive and negative aspects of each one, so you can decide which one works for you the best.

About citations

First things first, let’s defining citation submission. It’s a process of adding your business’ information to various online directories, social media profiles, etc. These online business listings are very important for local search optimization because if they are regularly updated and present in multiple directories, potential clients can find your business much faster and easier. That’s why the focus should be on correct, regularly updated information, as inaccurate info confuses the consumers and drives them away from your business.

What’s manual citation submission?

If you submit citations manually, you do it by hand, directly on a website. It’s a process that includes a couple of steps, such as:

  • checking a website for previously submitted listings
  • signing up – creating a profile on those websites
  • creating a listing of updating old information
  • going through a verification process – either by email or phone.

As you can see, even though these seem like simple and easy steps – they take away quite some time. Let’s say you need 10-20 minutes to complete a submission to one site. Having many of them hat number can really add up. Luckily, there is a solution to this problem – outsourcing to a specialist. Third-party companies get all the necessary info from you and submit it to all the websites you need.

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Submitting your listings manually gives you more freedom to edit your listings but take away more time.

Data Aggregator – automatic approach

Another way to save time is to use a local data aggregator. This is the opposite approach from manual submission and is done by LDAs – local data aggregator companies. They work in a very simple way – they collect information about your business and automatically share them with other websites, apps, third-party companies, etc.

There are four LDAs in the United States, and these include Factual, Foursquare, Localeze,  and Data Axle (formerly known as Infogroup). You should know that all of them are free, except Localeze. This aggregator charges a fee only for submitting information about your business, while other services are free.

While submitting info on these websites seems much simpler and faster, and (mostly) free, we feel that it is an incomplete step of your SEO strategy. Let’s see if the manual submission has more advantages.

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Both citation submission approaches have pros and cons – how to choose the best one?

What’s better – Manual vs. Automatic Citation Submission

Now let’s see the differences between manual vs. automatic citation submission and see what is the best choice for your business.

The approach that gives you more control

Compared to automatic submission, the manual approach gives you more control over your listings. This is very important when you need to update and change some info. It’s easier to do it if you’ve inserted that info manually. By using the access to your account, you can change any info in a matter of seconds. This way, you provide more accurate listings for your customers. On the other hand, by accessing the aggregators’ dashboard you can access only a small amount of numerous listings with your information. As accurate and regularly updated info should be the focus when providing an excellent user experience – a manual approach is a way to go.

Ability to customize your listings

As you manually add listings to various directories, you can customize them according to the style of the directories and people that visit them. This means you can adapt the description of your business by offering the solution to a problem that particular people look for at a certain website. Again, you have more control and efficiency, compared to the completely identical information all over the internet.

You can communicate with the readers by using manually submitted listings

Another advantage of manual submissions is the login details that give you the power to communicate with your readers. This can happen through written reviews. Aggregators don’t allow logins, so there is no way you can respond to positive and negative reviews. With manual citation submission, you can successfully handle negative reviews and improve the online reputation of your business.


It’s true that data aggregators require much less time to submit listings. However, if you opt for manual submission, you don’t need to worry about wasting hours in front of the screen. Trusting a time-consuming work to a professional is surely something that can help your brand and give you more free time to focus on other business challenges.

Duplicate listings – how you can deal with them better?

Logically, dealing with duplicate listings is easier when you have access to them. As you own the listing, you can edit and upload a listing much easier and faster. Therefore, removing duplicates is possible when you own and insert them manually.

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Accurate information is necessary for people to find and contact your business.

Remember: When it comes to duplicates, it can happen that data aggregators accidentally copy the info of a very similar business. This results in inaccurate information that you don’t have access to, so it’s difficult to find and edit.

Both methods have negative and positive aspects, but…

As you can see, both of the methods have negative and positive aspects. However, we would give advantage to the manual citation submission, because of the control and freedom to update your business’ information. Both of the methods are widely used, so be sure to make an SEO strategy that fits the style of your business.

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