The U.S. Local Search Ecosystem
Get a better understanding of how data providers, search engines, and directories exchange and access business data. The Local Search Ecosystem (LSE) is your resource to identify the most important sources for correct and accurate business information online.
This resource is dynamic. Hover over each segment to see the specific relationships and how information flows. Click segments to lock them.
The Local Search Ecosystem is the brainchild of David Mihm and was first developed in 2009. The LSE shows how business information is distributed online, who the primary data providers are, how search engines use the data, and how it flows.
Whitespark and Tidings teamed up to map the Local Search Ecosystem for the USA and provide a clearer picture of how information flows in today’s search environment.
In the United States there are four Primary Data Aggregators: Infogroup, Neustar/Localeze, Factual, and Foursquare (*previously Acxiom, however, with the business directory closing at the end of 2019, we believe Foursquare is in a position to take it’s place). These companies collect local business information and have massive data-sets in which they validate and vet the information provided. Search Engines like Google, Bing, and Apple license the primary aggregators data.
Other Key Sites like Facebook, Yelp, Yellowpages, CityGrid, and Dun & Bradstreet, also play a role in sending data feeds to Search Engines.
Search Engines manage their own databases, however, they utilize the information provided to them through the above mentioned sources. If the business data on any of these primary sources is incorrect it can override the information that is already available in the Search Engine’s database, this can lead to either new listings being created or changing existing listing data. Bad NAP data can negatively impact your ability to rank in Google and Bing.
There are many Geo and Vertical Directories that are valuable citation sources that can drive traffic to your website and ultimately bring in more business. These directories also access the information from the various primary services and display the data on their sites. Which further increases the importance of having correct business information (Name, Address, and Phone Number) on all of these sites.