Using Data Aggregators to Improve Your Local Search Rankings

Local, SEO
  • Brian Hult

If you are a business owner, you are likely familiar with how difficult it is to get your business noticed online.

With so many businesses vying for attention, it can be a real challenge to stand out from the crowd. However, data aggregators can help level the playing field for small businesses by supplying information to major search engines like Google, which can help improve a business’s visibility online. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at data aggregators, what they do, and how they can help improve local search rankings.

What are Data Aggregators?

Data aggregators are companies that collect, organize, and distribute data about businesses. They compile information from various sources, such as yellow page directories, phone directories, utility records, and various online information providers. Once the data is collected, they create a massive database of business information that search engines use to find local listings for businesses.

The Major Data Aggregators

There are four major data providers that dominate the market: Foursquare, Acxiom, Data Axle, and Localeze. These companies have built extensive business databases that contain information about businesses across the United States. They provide the information that search engines use to display business listings for consumers. This information is also the basis of where many online citations come from. The more citations a business has, the more likely their business is to appear higher in search rankings.

Online Resources Receive Data from Data Aggregators

Data aggregators provide information that help businesses get found correctly on online resources such as:

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

These online resources are only a few of the sources that receive data from the data aggregators. Obviously sites like Google Maps, Facebook and Yellow Pages are crucial places to be listed for businesses that want to be found online. Businesses need to ensure that their information is correct with these data providers, or they risk not being found by potential consumers.

What is a Citation?

A citation is simply anytime a business is mentioned somewhere online. Many people believe that citations are links to websites, but this isn’t necessarily true. Although a citation can be linked, they don’t have to contain a link to be considered a citation. A citation can be any of the following:

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

Although any of these combinations is considered a citation, a citation is not considered to be complete unless it contains the company name, address and phone number (NAP). Businesses who have their NAP data correct with the major data providers have a better chance of seeing their correct information appearing all across the web.

Structured vs. Unstructured Citations

Citations can appear in a structured or unstructured manner. A structured citation is the most common type of citation, and usually the most detailed when consumers are looking for business information. People see structured business citations on business listing sites like Yellowpages, Yelp or TripAdvisor. In most cases, these citations contain the NAP for a business, something consumers are looking for in local search.

An unstructured citation can be found on random websites, blogs, event listings, job posting sites, government records or social media mentions. These are unstructured because they could be as simple as a company mention. Usually these citations don’t include a business’s NAP data.

No matter how a citation appears, it has influence on the local search ranking in some way for a particular business. Data aggregators play an important role in getting a business listed or found.

So What Do Data Aggregators Do?

Data aggregators play a crucial role in local search rankings, affecting a business’s chance of appearing on top of local search results. However, citation building is just one of the many factors that impact local search. Google’s ranking algorithm considers various aspects like online reviews, mobile compatibility, domain authority, and keyword density. Despite this, citation-related factors hold significant importance in local search ranking, accounting for 25% of the top 20 factors affecting local search.

Data aggregators serve as the backbone of the local search ecosystem, which supplies search engines with data. The four major data aggregators are Data-Axle, Acxiom, Localeze, and Foursquare. These aggregators provide data to directories and listing sites, forming structured citations on major sites. Incorrect data on these aggregators could lead to inconsistent and incorrect business information on multiple listings sites and directories, which negatively impacts SEO and consumers’ trust in the brand.

Get Your Local Search Listing Right

To avoid such discrepancies, businesses should ensure that their data is correctly listed with major data aggregators. Doing so can prevent manual data entry into various business-relevant sites and improve online visibility, especially for small businesses. Consumers use search engines to find products, services, and experiences predominantly nearby. Therefore, local search drives consumers to a business’s front door and ultimately drives top-line revenue for local businesses.

Your business should prioritize getting their data right with data aggregators to build accurate online citations and master local SEO. Need help? Just ask!