Search Engine Optimization Consultant

Automated vs. Manual Local SEO

Local SEO improves your business’s visibility in search engine results. Increased visibility can mean higher traffic and conversion rates. But the debate is ongoing. Which works better: automated or manual local SEO? Both have pros and cons, so choosing the right local SEO service provider depends on your needs and preferences. Keep reading to see their differences and determine which is more suitable for your business.

Local SEO Basic Facts

A branch of SEO, local search engine optimization seeks to focus on optimizing your site so it will be more visible in local search results. Local SEO efforts include content and on-page optimizations as well as creation of Google My Business profiles and local citations.

Citations refer to online mentions of your business, including name, address, and phone number. These citations may appear on websites, apps, local business directories, and different social platforms. If done successfully, local SEO allows users to discover your business easily, helping you gain customers.

Automated Local SEO

While local SEO is essential to your business, people still ask whether to use automated local SEO or manual local SEO. Automated local SEO services come from companies like Yext, Moz Local, and Semrush. Below, we present the pros and cons of using this type of service.


Quick and Simple

From the name itself, automated local SEO services offer fast and simple local citations. They will do all the work for you—from submissions to audit reports.

Faster Results

Automated local SEO services also let you see results in a week or less. Apart from saving time, you also get a good number of online directories in one go.

Larger Network of Citations

Taking advantage of an automated local SEO service allows you to have a bigger network of citations. They ensure that you have enough quality citations from reliable directories—both in terms of local search ranking and overall visibility of your business.

Quick Multiple Updates

With automated local SEO services, your copy, menus, images, business addresses, and other relevant information become updated in just one click.


Requires Yearly Payment

While automated local SEO services have several advantages, they also have some disadvantages, like requiring a yearly payment. What’s risky about this is that a default on your payment can make all your listings disappear, so you may have to start from scratch. 


While each local SEO service company offers different pricing, they all belong to expensive tiers. For example, you need to pay $999 for a premium package every year. Not everyone is willing or able to pay that amount to get an automated tool and service.

Manual Local SEO

Manual local SEO includes manual citation, wherein you create, edit, and manage citations manually. This includes developing a database listing all current citations, their accuracy, and their status.

You need to manually correct inaccurate data and duplicate listings, audit all citations to find new inaccuracies, and update the citations whenever you do a rebrand or make a change in business hours and contact details. Below are the pros and cons of manual local SEO.


Suitable for Long-Term Strategy

Manual local SEO is perfect for long-term strategies. The citations you create are yours, and you have direct control over them. You can seek help from local SEO companies, like FATJOE and Loganix, to manage the manual citations for you.

Addresses Duplicates

With manual citation building, you won’t have to worry much about duplicates. You can find and fix them manually. Manual local SEO companies can also check the existing listings in local directories to prevent duplicates and replace incorrect listings with new ones.

No Yearly Payment

With manual local SEO companies, you’re not obliged to have yearly payments. You can also pick the number of citations suitable for your business—whether 20 or 100. A practical option like this can mean more ROI.



Unless you get a service for this, manual citation takes a lot of time. Assuming that you’re creating citations for 30 directories and you spend 10 minutes for each, you need 5 hours to complete the work. If you have 10 locations, that’s already 50 hours, which can be a pretty daunting task. 

Takes Longer to Rank

Compared to automated local SEO, manual citation takes more time to rank. However, since we’re talking about search engines, there’s never a 100% guarantee that you can land the top rankings.

Final Thoughts

As we have shown above, both automated and manual local SEO have their pros and cons. To determine which local SEO service is right for you, consider the price, speed, quality, number of relevant citations you need, and ability to solve duplicates. Check out our page for more local SEO–related articles.

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