Your business data is being compiled and distributed by people and machines that do not know you!

Incorrect listing information confuses search engines and customers and can affect your local search performance.

There are hundreds of local listing sites in the UK ranging from general listings such as Yell.com and Thomsonlocal.co.uk to sector specific listings such as wahanda.com, and location specific listings such as allinlondon.co.uk. There are also Local Social sites such as Yelp.com and Foursquare.com. Local listing sites can be B2C, B2B or both.

If you have a local presence, the chances are that you are already listed on many of these sites, but not in a controlled way.

Local listing sites work in mysterious ways. There is no one authority listing site to which all listings defer. Instead, sites get Name, Address and Phone Number (NAP), Category data and even brand content such as business descriptions, opening times and logos from different sources.

Some listing companies compile and distribute NAP details to other listing sites, whilst others aggregate (or scrape) NAP details from various sources. Some sites are more diligent than others in verifying the quality of their data, for example by calling the business to check that their information is up-to-date, or conducting an ‘activation’ call when claiming or activating a listing. Most sites however expect the business to ‘claim’ and update their listing themselves. There are even ‘wiki’ sites that encourage the public to update listing information.

Some small directories buy NAP data on an ad-hoc basis. As a result, it is not uncommon to find them listing data that is several years out of date! Coupled with this, listings can be ‘hijacked’ accidentally or deliberately, meaning that listing data can be corrupted. The consequence of this listing ‘ecosystem’ is that outdated and incorrect information can continue to be listed in multiple places unless you take control of it yourself.

Inconsistent NAP data and incorrect branch information confuse search engines and customers and can compromises your brand.

Ultimately your business data is being compiled and distributed by people and machines that do not know you. Only by taking control of your local listings and keeping them up to date can you ensure that your NAP details and brand are represented correctly.