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Improving Your Local Search Ranking with Data Aggregators
Search Engine Optimization

Improving Your Local Search Ranking with Data Aggregators

March 22, 2024

Data aggregators run the world. The world of local search, anyway. Data aggregators provide information to big search engines like Google, which means that having good business listing information on data aggregators can help it get right on Google. These aggregators have created massive business databases from valuable listing sources like yellow page directories, phone directories, utility records, and various online information providers. They've got an unbelievable amount of business data that search engines look at when finding local listing info for businesses.

There are four main data providers: Factual, Acxiom, Infogroup and Localeze. Their databases contain business information that search engines seek out to display for users. This info is the basis of where a lot of online citations come from. Just what is a citation, you ask? Citations are when a business is mentioned somewhere online, and the more citations a business has generated, the more likely their business is to show higher in search rankings.

The main data aggregators offer information that help businesses get discovered correctly on online sources such as:

  • Google Maps
  • Bing Local
  • Yahoo Local
  • Apple/Siri
  • Facebook
  • Yellow Pages

These online resources are just a few of the sources that receive data from the data aggregators. Obviously sites like Google Maps, Facebook and Yellow Pages are important places to be listed for companies that want to be found online. Companies need to get their info accurate with these data providers, or they run the risk of not being discovered by potential customers.

Every business wants online visibility! Do you wish to master SEO with all of the major data aggregators, and generate as many business citations as possible? I thought so.

What is a citation?

As mentioned above, a citation is just anytime a company is mentioned somewhere online. A lot of people think that citations are links to sites, but this isn't necessarily true. Although a citation can be linked, they do not have to contain a link to be considered a citation. To simplify it further, let's look at how citations can appear online:

  • Company name (alone)
  • Phone number (alone)
  • Business name and phone number
  • Company name, phone number and address
  • Company name, phone number, address and link

Though any one of these combinations is considered a citation, a citation is not considered to be complete unless it includes the business name, address and phone number (NAP). Companies that have their NAP data correct with the main data providers have a better chance of seeing their accurate information appear all across the internet.

Citations can appear in a structured or unstructured manner, here's how you can identify the difference between the two:

A structured citation is the most common kind of citation, and usually the most detailed when customers are looking for business info. People see structured business citations on business listing websites like Yellowpages, Yelp or TripAdvisor. In most cases, these citations include the NAP for a business, something customers are looking for in local search.

An unstructured citation can be found on random websites, blogs, event listings, job posting websites, government records or social media mentions. These are unstructured because they could be as basic as a company mention. Usually these citations do not contain a company's NAP information.

No matter how a citation appears, it has influence on the local search ranking in some way for a particular business. Data aggregators play a significant part in getting a business listed or found on many major sites.

The importance of building citations

Citations have a major impact on local search rankings. Basically, the more times a business is mentioned online, the greater chance their business needs to rank near the top of local search.

Google's search ranking algorithm has many moving parts, which means that citation building isn't the only thing a business has to do in order to rank on search engines. Online reviews, mobile compatibility, domain authority and keyword density are just a few other things that influence local search.

This does not mean that citations don't play an important part in local search ranking, however. In fact, David Mihm's local search study suggests that citation related factors are very important: they make up 25% of the top twenty factors that influence local search.

So what do data aggregators do?

Data aggregators provide a lot of the information to search engines when conducting a local search. The aggregators own the space referred to as the local search ecosystem, a place where local searches get all of their information.

There you see the four main data aggregators: Infogroup, Acxiom, Localeze, and Factual. As you can see, many major directories and listings websites depend on these data providers for their information. Like we mentioned before, the data aggregators are the foundation of what builds structured citations on major websites.

Although the picture may seem like a lot to understand, the underlying message that you should take away from this is really simple: get business data right with the main data aggregators.

Inaccurate data on any of these aggregators can mean that a company's info online is very inconsistent or down right wrong on many major listings websites and directories. Inconsistent information hurts SEO, so be sure to have your business correctly listed with all the big players.

Not only does inconsistency hurt search engine ranking, but it harms a company. Consumers don't trust businesses with inconsistent information online-- 73% of consumers lose trust in brands because of incorrect local business listings.

Business citations rely on the power of data aggregators! We see that data aggregators have a major influence on the amount of credible sources that a business is cited on because they automatically input business info into different sources for a business. This means not needing to manually plug in information into every business-relevant site on the worldwide web.

Get it right!

There is no secret that we are keeping from you, or a fancy trick to increasing online citations. It's as simple as getting it right with the main data aggregators. Local search is a major deal for companies, especially for small businesses. A company could potentially force themselves into bankruptcy if their online visibility is non-existent.

Consumers depend on the internet and search engines to engage with local businesses. According to Google, "four in five customers use search engines to find products, services or experiences close by." These are searches for anything, from the best pizza in town to the fastest salon. Local search is what drives customers to a business's front door, and ultimately drives top-line revenue for local business.

Be sure that your business gets it right, and isn't missing from important local search results. Start utilizing a data aggregator: it's the first step in building accurate online citations and mastering local SEO.

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