Local search directories (such as Google My Business, Yahoo Local, and Bing Places) get their information on business from several key sources:
- The primary source is the companies themselves.
- The second source is users who submit information (such as photos) about business.
- The third source is other local search directories.
- The fourth (and often most overlooked source) is from data aggregators.
What Is a Data Aggregator?
Data aggregators are vast databases that local search directories regularly verify their listing information against. Some of the more well-known data aggregators include Infogroup, Axciom, and Localeze. Local search directories often get their information using a combination of the sources listed above. However there are some directories that get all the information from a single data aggregator and no other source. All of this results in a very complicated local search ecosystem.
Overall, data aggregators are the most trusted source for business information and essentially serve as the backbone of local search.
Who Is Factual?
Factual is one of the newest (but least known) data aggregators. It was established in 2007 and is headquartered in Los Angeles, with offices in San Francisco and Shanghai. According to their website, Factual has data for “over 65 million local businesses and points of interest in 50 countries”. Factual strives to clean up and standardize data, while preventing duplicate and erroneous listings. Even though Factual doesn’t have the same name recognition as the other 3 data aggregators, its influence is not to be underestimated. As you can see below, Factual is the primary feed to Apple Maps and Yelp, and a secondary feed to Bing and Trip Advisor. Factual also has some influence over Google My Business (formerly Google + Local).
The above map on Factual was created in 2013 so it is safe to assume that Factual’s influence on local search has grown since then.
Fixing Your Business Information on Factual
Unlike the other data aggregators (Infogroup, Axciom, and Localeze), Factual doesn’t allow users to update business information directly on their website. Instead, you must go through a “Trusted Data Contributor (TDC)”. Some well known TDCs include GoDaddy, Moz, and Yext. In order to fix your business information, you must sign up for a paid membership for one of these TDCs. Costs vary depending on the package you purchase.