Data is the heart and soul of online business. It informs algorithms, drives decision-making, and tells countless stories about businesses and customers alike. Every action that a user takes produces data, and every piece of data yields invaluable information.
So, with a relentless torrent of data streaming through the web, how do our systems make sense of it all? And more importantly, how can we influence these systems to connect the right customers to our business? This is a central question of local SEO strategy, and a key part of it comes down to data aggregators.
If you’ve ever wondered how business citations stretch across the web, or how local businesses pop up in directories without submitting their listings, then you have already noticed some of the powerful effects data aggregators can have.
What are data aggregators?
- Accuracy: With the margin of human error, you wouldn’t be able to format specific citation details (such as city, state, phone number, etc.) without making a mistake or two.
- Volume: Manual formulation of citations can be cumbersome and time-consuming, and even more-so when you have to do it for many sites.
Enter data aggregators.
Data aggregators are systems that mine, present, and format data in real-time. They then compile that data for major search engines, such as Google or Bing.
This makes a huge difference when it comes to building citations. Data aggregators increase the speed at which citations are created and boost their accuracy. They also cut down on the time needed to build a vast volume of citations for a business. So, with the help of data aggregators, your 5-star business listing can be found on any search platform.
Plus, data aggregators can help brands to engage customers swiftly and efficiently. They dive into consumer behaviors and profiles to create customized content for any online buyer—a big win for brands looking for insights.
The Ultimate Purpose of Data Aggregators
While there are multiple ways for modern-day marketers to manage data, many of them still fall short. As highlighted in the Harvard Business Review, “on average, less than half of a firm’s structured data is actively used in decision-making, and less than 1% of its unsorted data is used or even analyzed at all.” Shocking, right?
Data aggregators are hugely responsible for propagating much of the data that exists in the local search environment. They transmit a company’s data to a variety of publishing outlets including:
- Business directories
- Social media platforms
- Search engines
- Review sites
Data aggregators own the space known as the local search ecosystem, where local searches fish for all of their data. They are the backbone of what builds unique citations on most major websites.
Using data aggregators can help boost your local SEO in the following ways:
1. Establish a powerful local ranking.
When citations are spot-on, your business will most certainly climb the local pack ranking. This means that your citations must be authoritative, structured, high-quality, and consistent with primary data sources. Other factors contributing to high SEO rankings include:
- The volume of citations from top-notch local domains
- The popularity of unstructured citations
Data aggregators can be a timely and cost-efficient way to build up all of these factors and improve your ranking.
2. Quickly build a visible business profile.
As mentioned, manual citation building is a mind-boggling and time-consuming task. It is also likely that you might miss some valuable listing opportunities. (Think about it as a lost business opportunity every time you miss out on a correctly-built citation.) But with data aggregators, you can create all the citations you need in just a fraction of the time.
3. Protect your business’s reputation with accurate data.
Google is known for its preference for correct and consistent information. So, if there’s a mistake in your citations, your business will take a significant hit, both in terms of trust and credibility.
According to Rio SEO, about 73% of consumers cannot put up with incorrect information from directory sites. More unsettling is the fact that 80% of consumers say a website loses credibility with them if they notice inconsistency with business contacts or names.
Some of the problems that might come from bad data include:
- Inconsistent NAP (name, address, phone number)
- Duplicate listings
- Inaccurate local citations
- Disjointed local presence
Be careful, though. Although data aggregators are excellent at funneling structured data, they don’t cut it when it comes to differentiating between accurate and outdated info. So, it is absolutely critical to ensure that aggregators have accurate listing information, especially the name, address, and phone number (NAP) of your business.
Get it Right with the Major Local Data Aggregators
In the United States, three major players distribute business info online: Factual, Neustar Localeze, and Infogroup.
Factual is arguably the most extensive online data distributor, boasting interest from over 50 different countries and data maintenance for over 100 million local firms. It emphasizes offering real-time information to mobile ecosystems. Factual provides data to:
- Weather Channel
Lately, Factual has stepped up its listing mechanism. The firm upgraded to a network of reliable data contributors away from the typical local aggregator engine. If you’d like to update or add a new listing on Factual, you must connect with one of its Trusted Data Contributors (TDC). The “affiliate” will then submit your NAP details to Factual on your behalf.
2. Neustar Localeze
Neustar Localeze disseminates data to over 100 search platforms (including Nokia & Yahoo!), navigation systems, and mobile apps. For instance, this aggregator allows Nokia to provide timely, up-to-date, and trusted information for its car navigation subsystem.
Dubbed the’”aggregator for small businesses,” Neustar Localeze bases its local search solutions on True Identity. This embedded platform offers full control over your company’s listing information. Furthermore, it claims to “publish your listing data to the biggest legitimate local search network in the industry.”
To become a Localeze authorized user, you must take out a yearly subscription—currently $79 for small businesses. This covers 1-24 physical locations with continuous updates. Your data will then be subject to routine validation and verification to make sure it stays complete and accurate.
Infogroup is a leading proprietary aggregator for consumers and businesses in the US and all over the world. They claim to “provide the most accurate, continually-verified collection of real-time business data available, delivered through powerful technology.”
Their database contains data that is accessible through a variety of websites, including:
They have also partnered with:
- Car navigation systems
- Search engines
- Over 80% of the largest public library systems
Data submission to Infogroup is possible through both BulkUpdate and ExpressUpdate search engines. For business owners, the process is mostly straightforward. Simply look for your business listing on ExpressUpdate and counter-check if the info is accurate. If you stumble upon anomalies, you can promptly remove them or update the entire listing. Before making data available to all its partners, Infogroup conducts extensive phone verification.
Empower Your Local SEO
Listing accurate and complete business data is a vital part of achieving a top local SEO ranking. Whether large or small, data aggregators are a great way to maximize the impact of your online presence and make connections with customers who are local and relevant to the services you offer.
Build local citations and boost your rankings using Direction Local today.