85 percent of small business owners know the value of visibility on search engines, directory listings, and mobile apps. In fact, 78 percent of these businesses believed it would help them attract new customers. These were according to a 2013 poll conducted by ConstantContact.
At first glance, these numbers seem promising. Unfortunately, a good understanding of local SEO doesn’t always translate to proper implementation, let alone a successful campaign.
Nearly half of those surveyed by ConstantContact knew their directory listings were inaccurate. And yet they didn’t even update them. In 2014, Placeable published a report that shows how inaccurate listings affected customers. They found that majority of them (73%) lost trust in a brand or business due to incorrect details.
It’s a common problem for many small business owners – something which local data aggregators can help you with.
What is a local data aggregator?
A local data aggregator is a company that specializes in gathering business and consumer data. In the United States, there are only four of them:
- Acxiom (free)
- Factual (free)
- Infogroup (free)
- Localeze (paid)
What does a local data aggregator do?
Local data aggregators are responsible for gathering business data and making sure they are “clean” or accurate. These companies collect individual business information otherwise known as NAP, which include…
- Phone Number
Local data aggregators distribute business information to marketers, publishers, and most importantly, location-based service providers – such as search engines, review sites, and social media platforms, just to name a few. NAP is extremely important for businesses that want to rank in local organic search results. It makes businesses easier to find for customers both online and offline.
The role of local data aggregators in local SEO
Search engines, local directory listings, and mobile apps source business information from local data aggregators. This explains why they are sometimes referred to as local search data providers.
As a local business, you have two options. You can either get high-quality citations by working with local data aggregators such as those mentioned above. Or, you can employ the services of a third-party citation building service.
What is a citation building service?
Most data aggregators in the U.S. are free and you can always work with them directly. Citation building services have to be paid for, although there are advantages to it.
Benefits of a citation building service
- Single access to local data aggregators. You no longer have to get in touch with each of them individually. You just have to provide your business information once to the citation building service and they’ll take care of the rest. This includes validating, reformatting, and distributing your business information according to standards.
- Guarantees the distribution of accurate business information. The problem with local data aggregators is they retrieve business information from various sources. While they try to be accurate, that usually isn’t the case. This is why businesses often find discrepancies online. A citation building service can help correct these inconsistencies.
- They can provide added insight into your business. Besides the usual NAP data, a citation building service can provide local data aggregators with more business information, including:
- Business description and tagline
- Website address
- Operating hours
- Accepted payment
- Social media links
Not only will this help you stand out; they too can help bring traffic to your website and social media.