An aggregator is a company who collects business information to resell for a profit. These are also known as data aggregators or data providers.
They will use a variety of sources to harvest and corroborate the information including: public records, phone directories, high-profile business directories, newspapers and even phone calls to businesses. Keeping the data clean and up to date is an expensive and almost impossible task. It is common for aggregators to have duplicate or completely incorrect information about a given business.
The data they collect gets resold to online business directories, online review sites, corporations navigation services, search engines, etc.
As part of your citation audit, you’ll want to search these aggregators for your business. Look by name and by location – it’s not uncommon to find your business in a completely different place!
Why do aggregators matter?
Aggregators are an important part of managing your business citations, and are one of the top priorities.
As search engines “research” information about a business, one of the sources of validation they use is from aggregators. If that information is consistent, the business gets a higher level of trust from the search engines. The higher and more consistent the information about your business, typically the better the placing in the local search results.
They’re also used heavily by navigation services, so your customers are ultimately using their info. If someone is using Apple Maps to navigate via their phone for example, they rely in part on data from these aggregators. See Apple’s impressive list of 120 data providers: http://gspe21.ls.apple.com/html/attribution-52.html
Key USA aggregators:
According to a series of studies by David Mihm there are four main aggregators for the US market:
There are a handful of other 2nd-tier players in this space as well. Moz has an excellent writeup on this subject if you want to know more details.
Key Canadian aggregators:
- Yellow Pages
- Industry Canada
Key Australia aggregator:
A secondary aggregator that seems to play a little bit of a role in the Australian market is Factual. Of the large US ones, this is the only one who attempts to manage some international listings.
If you’ve ever done yellowpages advertising, there is a high likelihood Sensis will have incorrect or multiple versions of info about your business. They will only deal with business owners, not agents, so this is one service you won’t be able to outsource.
First thing to do is hop online and search for your business in the YP. Make note of the number of listings, which ones are correct and which ones are not.
If part of your ad package includes “listings” for areas where your business is not based, those entries can be dismissed. Should you find duplicates or incorrect information about your business, call Sensis and request the information be corrected.
If there is no information, Sensis does allow you to add your business for free.
Key New Zealand aggregator:
It’s a similar story to Sensis for Australia. And you can add your business for free as well.