By Bill Connard / VP of Local Search Solutions
The evolution of the local search ecosystem has picked up speed. This comes thanks to major data aggregators. For years they have been collecting millions of local listings and providing enhanced data to the likes of Google, Yahoo, and Bing.
Local search continues to evolve to a real-time contextual experience. Likewise, new business data companies like Factual help marketers get ahead of the increased need for accurate, in-depth and location-specific local business data. Through the syndication of enhanced local business listings, developers, publishers and advertisers are able to offer more relevant mobile experiences with the context of location.
Local Search Business Data
Optimized local listing information is crucial to local SEO. This helps businesses control their business listings. These appear on search engines, mobile apps, directories, maps, and Yellow Pages sites. Search engines are looking to verify and validate local business data, so consistency is key. Listings syndication also helps business owners build valuable links back to their website.
Why would a search and social giant like Google look to these local data aggregators for information? Quite simply, even with Google Maps and Google+ Local, the world’s largest search engine isn’t getting local quite right. Just recently, Google updated the Google Places for Business dashboard, removing custom business categories in favor of a fixed list of choices. Limitations like these are hindering businesses from optimizing for their geographically diverse audiences.
New Avenues for Data Distribution
Our recent decision at Rio SEO to integrate with Factual via direct API for local business listing management brings new avenues for data distribution. This comes through a network of partners, which includes many of the largest search brands. Factual’s real-time data stack contains billions of inputs on more than 65 million global places. It includes businesses and points of interest in over 50 countries.
Factual’s data stack processes data from millions of sources, extracting both structured and unstructured data. It cleans, standardizes, and canonicalizes data. Then the stack merges and de-duplicates before mapping across multiple sources.
But what does all of this mean for a multi-location business owner?
If that’s you, it means this; regardless of the physical size, you’re able to put forward a unified, accurate business listing. These appear across thousands of locations. It all aids potential customers in finding your local business location quickly from any device.
In sum, inaccurate local listings are just bad business. Moreover, manual search and cleanup take time you can’t afford. Google, Bing, Nokia, and even Foursquare have all tried building location layers into their mapping capabilities with varying degrees of success. Local data aggregators like Infogroup expressupdate, Neustar Localeze, Acxiom, Yext, and Factual are providing a solution to the need for local search optimization to be more robust. They’re addressing not only organic SEO, but local map optimization, local listing submissions and data aggregation, to mobile apps and GPS devices as well.