Every internet user has experienced the frustration of searching for a business online, only to find inaccurate or missing information. Maybe you’ve even been unlucky enough to have driven to the wrong location. These occurrences happen every day, and to local companies, it can mean a major loss of business. Local online listings with wrong addresses, misspelled or outdated business information, or other erroneous data can lead valuable customers away from your business and, potentially, to your competitors.

But, where does this information come from? How is it distributed throughout the internet? And what can Dallas small business owners, like you, do to ensure that information is complete and accurate?

Most business information online is submitted to relevant sites (Google, Bing, or other listing sites) via local data aggregators. These aggregators are used to syndicate relevant business listing information to hundreds of sites, and some of them have been in the business of automating marketing and information for small businesses for over 40 years.

Some of the most established companies in the business include Acxiom, Localeze, InfoUSA, and Factual, and they are most important places to start when checking the accuracy of your online listings.

Where Do They Find Your Information?

Local data aggregators procure business information from a variety of locations. White pages, yellow pages, business listings, and license and registration databases are all locations where aggregators find your business information. In turn, search engines, databases, and other listing sites get their local business information from the data aggregators.

While this may sound like a dizzying circle of information, the good news is that data aggregators’ product is local business data, which means they are very willing to update their listing information to remove inaccuracies, help your business be found, and improve the quality of their product. It’s a win-win.

How Does Business Data Affect Website Visibility?

Aggregators are one of the major data sources for local business listings on map engines like Google Maps. This means that if data aggregators are missing your business information or have it listed inaccurately, the plethora of map applications available on PCs, laptops, tablets, mobile phones, and wearables will send your potential customers to the wrong location or simply won’t list your location at all.

Without even looking at how local information affects your business page’s placement on Google and Bing, you can see how the wrong information can hinder your website’s most important functionality: getting customers the information they need to walk through your door and purchase your product or service.

Time Frame for Managing Local Data Aggregators

The information you submit to local data aggregators takes time to move through the various sources that work with them. It can take as long as 3-6 months for information to be submitted and then make its way through the various web channels. Although, some sites will have faster turnaround times.

This means that managing your local data needs to be a consistent, periodical activity. Set your information and forget it for a few months. Then review it and submit any necessary changes again later.

DIY Resources

Each of the data aggregators offers businesses the ability to update their business listings themselves. Simply scroll down to the bottom of the page and look for a link that says something like “Update My Business.” Manually updating the individual links is going to be the cheapest option for small business owners. However, it may require significant and sometimes tedious work, and business owners may miss important aggregators updating listings on their own.

The next option for managing systemic information is SaaS products designed for small businesses to manage their information on their own. Sites like Moz Local and Bright Local offer DIY solutions and free products for updating your business listings. Prices start at $84 per year for Moz Local and $19.99 a month for Bright Local. Whether you manage your free listings or submit them through a monthly subscription service, these self-service marketing options provide great tools for a business owner to take the time and manage their own information.

For businesses who simply don’t want the hassle of managing, reviewing, and re-submitting information, Dialed-In Local offers tailored local search and marketing solutions and can manage your information for you. Contact us to discover what our tailored marketing solutions can do for your local business.

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