Back in February, Yext announced an integration with Google local listings that allowed you to control your GMB listing directly from your Yext dashboard. Though the use of Google API, the data associated with your Yext profile will automatically sync and update your Google My Business listing.
This sounds great as many national restaurants and businesses, with multiple locations, are looking for ways to scale the management of their Google My Business listing and enhance their presence in Google local search / Google Maps listings.
The problem with syncing Yext and your Google local listing
I’m just going to share an experience we had with the Yext / Google local listing sync.
This, of course, is isolated to our experience and should not be construed as pertaining to every unique situation.
We use Yext for just about all of our local SEO clients, and one of those clients is an air condition repair company in the metro Dallas area.
Local SEO Rankings Before Adding Yext Google Local Sync
Prior to implementing Yext, our client was ranking #2 and #3 consistently. Occasionally they would rank #1 in Google Maps, but then a competitor would bump them back down to #2 or #3.
So we figured that by adding Yext to help with citation distribution and consistency, this would help enhance our client’s location authority and bring more stability to their rankings.
But as soon as we added our client to Yext, their rankings in Google Maps dropped dramatically. Within days of adding our client to Yext, they went from #2 all the way down to #12 in Google Maps rankings.
Of course our client was not happy with the fact that he dropped off the top 3 rankings in Google Maps since Google shows the top 3 maps listings on page 1.
My thought was, since Yext syncs citations very quickly with their partners, Google was experiencing a short term distribution with our client’s rankings. And I told our client that we just needed to be patient while Google attributes and accounts for the sudden increase in citations.
After about 4 weeks of our client’s rankings staying around the #12 position in Google Maps, I had to admit to our client that “I honestly cannot figure out why, after adding Yext, their local rankings dropped so dramatically…”.
Of course our client appreciated our proactive approach to their local SEO campaign, but they were stressing nonetheless because the huge drop in local rankings was having a tremendous impact on their business. To top it off, this was happening just as the weather was starting to heat up in the metro Dallas area.
Local SEO Rankings After Disabling Yext Google Local Sync
One of our amazing team members here at Bipper Media made a discovery last week that the primary category on one of our client’s GMB listings had been updated. And the category showing in Google Maps was not even a category offered by Google My Business.
And as you may or may not know, the category you see for a GMB listing in Google Maps is the primary category being used for that local listing.
He speculated that perhaps the Yext Google local sync had somehow updated the Google My Business category and suggested we do a quality control check on all of our local SEO clients.
When he said that, a lightbulb went off and I instantly thought of our air condition repair client’s dilemma.
So I went in to our ac repair client’s GMB listing and sure enough… his primary category had been updated to something that wasn’t even a category offered by Google My Business.
I proceeded to update our client’s primary GMB category to “Air Conditioning Repair Service”.
And within 5 minutes, our client had shot straight up to the #1 Google Maps ranking for his targeted keyword phrase.
Here’s our AC Repair company that’s now ranking #1 in Google Maps.
It was a magical moment to see this happen… and I honestly have never seen a Google Maps ranking shoot up so quickly to #1.
And to clarify… this client already had a substantial amount of location authority before adding Yext. So do not expect the same results for your business.
We are continuing to use Yext for citation distribution as it’s a great tool for cleaning up and syncing your local business data on a large scale.
And Yext is a great compliment to the other citation distribution workflows we have here at Bipper Media for our local SEO clients.
However, we IMMEDIATELY went into Yext and turned off the Google local listing sync as it somehow has the ability to update your primary category in Google Maps… which in turn could have a serious, and dramatic, negative impact on your rankings in Google local search.