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You have a great business with a great product that you’re enormously proud of. You have a diligent and hard working team. You have a great track record of customer service and a loyal core clientele. Yet, as important as it is to retain and care for the repeat customers that are the lifeblood of your business, your growth (and even your survival) depend on your ability to attract more customers. For many brands, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) holds the keys to growing your target market. As you steadily climb through search engine rankings, you become better placed to service the needs of people in your area and gain an all-important advantage over your competitors.

We live in an era where no business can afford to take its customers for granted. Competition is both rife and fierce and in an era where they have more choice than ever before, consumers know that they can afford to be fickle. SEO can give you a leg up when you need one. However, what many small businesses do not realize is that…

SEO is a battle on many fronts

There are a number of different kinds of SEO. Local SEO isn’t the same as national SEO which at the same time is a different beast to international SEO. If you have your sights squarely set on the local market, it behoves you to tailor your strategy accordingly.

Here we’ll look at ways in which you can conquer the local market by using data aggregators and citations to improve local search rankings.

Data aggregators rule   

Data aggregators are both kings and traffickers in the world of internet searches. If you seek to conquer this kingdom it’s in your best interests to get to know them a little better so that you can leverage them.

Data aggregators supply information to all of the major search engines. While Google is not the only search engine to which they send data, let’s not kid ourselves, Google is the most popular and widely used search engine making it the most important nut to crack. The good news is that leveraging data aggregators can give your local SEO a boost on Google and beyond.

A huge component of local SEO is having a good NAP. This doesn’t mean settling into your office for some shuteye, it means having good business listing info in terms of your business Name Address and Phone number up to date. Having good business listing info on data aggregators can help to ensure that it is accurate on Google.

These aggregators have built enormous business databases from a host of trustworthy listing sources and directories. These include the usual suspects like phone directories, utility records, yellow page listings and various other purveyors of digital business information.

Between these sources these aggregators have, well, aggregated a colossal amount of business data that search engines refer to when finding local listing information from businesses.

So… Hopefully it’s pretty obvious how important it is to leverage data aggregators.

There are four key players to tackle. These are Localeze, Factual, Infogroup and Acxiom. Their databases contain key information on local businesses indexed by location and search engines seek this out to display for users. The same users your business is trying to attract.

This information is the backbone of providing your enterprise with online citations. You may wonder what exactly we mean when we talk about citations. In their simplest terms, citations are instances in which a business is mentioned somewhere (anywhere) online. Broadly speaking, the more citations a business has, the more likely that business is to appear higher up in local search engine rankings. Now, that’s not a hard and fast rule. Some citations are more trustworthy (and therefore of higher value to search engines) than others.

Data aggregators provide information that not only helps businesses pop up in search queries but also helps them to be found correctly on online tools like:

  • Google Maps
  • Bing Local
  • Facebook
  • Yahoo Local
  • Apple and Android devices
  • Voice searches (e.g. Siri, Cortada, Alexa)
  • Yellow Pages

As you can see, when businesses fail to get their NAP information right with data aggregators it can have a huge knock-on effect on their local listings. 

So… Let’s talk about citations!

As we have established a citation is any time a business is mentioned somewhere on the internet. You could be forgiven for assuming that a citation had to mean (or at least include) a link to the business’, but this isn’t necessarily the case. Although a citation can be linked a link does not need to be included to be a citation.

As mentioned above, 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.

Let’s take a look at how citations can appear online:

  • Business name
  • Business phone number
  • Business name and phone number
  • Business name, phone number and address
  • Business name, phone number, address and link

Now, technically, any of these combinations is considered a citation. If a blogger makes a passing reference to dining at your restaurant this is considered a citation. However, not all citations are created equal.

A citation is not considered complete unless it contains all of the business’ NAP data. When businesses ensure that their NAP data is correct with data aggregators, they stand a better chance of seeing their correct information displayed all over the internet.

There are, broadly speaking, two kinds of citations; structured and unstructured.

A structured citation is the most common and most detailed kind. These are the kinds of citations that occur on business listing sites like the Yelp or TripAdvisor. Structured citations usually contain full NAP data for a business; the information that users are looking for in local searches.

An unstructured citation can be virtually anything. It can be a user review, a mention on social media, a posting on a job site or any other occasion when your business is mentioned. These citations tend not to contain full NAP data.

Both kinds of citations hold sway over local search rankings and data aggregators play an important role in ensuring that businesses are accurately listed and easy to find online.

Building citations is extremely important

As we can see, the more times a business is mentioned online, the more favorable their search engine rankings. However, Google’s ranking algorithms are complex and ever evolving. Some less reputable businesses have attempted to game these algorithms by spamming the web with irrelevant or low quality citations and the search engine has learned to discriminate.

This is why some citations have more value than others. Citations from reliable, high authority domains like listings sites are of high value to search engines while mentions on less than reputable websites or pages that have already been red-flagged can cause rankings to plummet.

You should also consider the role that online reviews, responsiveness (mobile compatibility), domain authority and keyword density play in influencing local searches local search.

Where do data aggregators fit in?

Data aggregators own and operate a space known as the “local search ecosystem”, from which local searches get their data. 

Inconsistencies in NAP data across different aggregators can lead to further inconsistencies all over the web. This can not only damage search engine rankings, they can damage consumer trust. According to Search Engine Watch[1], a staggering 73% of consumers will lose trust in brands if local business listings prove inaccurate.

It’s so important to get it right

As you can see, businesses of all shapes and sizes rely on data aggregators to provide reliable citations which in turn boost their local SEO. The key, then, lies in ensuring that your data is accurate and up to date with the major data aggregators.

As local searches are the most important component in driving local traffic towards your business, you simply can’t afford not to leverage the power of data aggregators and citations. Google states that “four in five consumers use search engines to find products, services or experiences nearby.”[2] Whether they’re looking for a new bar to try after a hard day’s work, a great pizzeria when they’re too tired to cook or a nail salon to fix their hair for a big interview, these searches are the micro-moments in which your business has the opportunity to position itself in front of consumers at the expense of their competitors.

Make sure that your business gets it right, or risk being absent from all-important local search results.

How we can help 

As you can see, data aggregators hold the keys to accurate citations which in turn are instrumental in reaching your local target audience. We can help by taking the legwork out of keeping your all-important NAP data up-to-date with key data aggregators at all times. With a range of affordable and flexible pricing solutions we can provide you with the keys that unlock ability to conquer local SEO with data aggregators and citations.

Click here to find out more.


[1] Source https://searchenginewatch.com/sew/study/2338839/73-lose-trust-in-brands-due-to-inaccurate-local-business-listings-survey
[2] Source https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/articles/how-advertisers-can-extend-their-relevance-with-search.html

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