Picture this – you make a flyer to promote your business. Then you deliver it to 100 different establishments only to get home and realize there was an error in the phone number or a typo in the headline. Now you’ve done more harm than good. Not only are people confused about how to contact you but you’ve made a bad impression on everyone who’s seen the flyer. Sharing business information on the Internet works in a similar way. Although it is extremely important to broadcast your business information all over the Internet and be found in many different destinations on the Web, it’s even more important to make sure that information is accurate.

Core Data Providers (CDPs) provide an online service much like the Yellow Pages have done for traditional print. This service collects information about physical businesses and files it away in a database. Then information providers and directories like Google, Yahoo!, Local.com, Yelp, SuperPages.com, MerchantCircle and others license the business information in bulk from CDPs in order to list it in their Website. This all seems well and good, however there are a limitations with this information flow.

1. CDPs are full of inaccurate records and outdated information. There are approximately between 14 to 18 million businesses listed in CDP databases and its a sizable task to keep all of the information updated. For this reason there are plenty of companies listed that have gone out of business. There are also old addresses, phone numbers, business names, websites, e-mail addresses, products and service offerings, wrong ownership information and more. Not to mention the fact that CDPs make more money by having more records. This provides a natural conflict to aggressively removing duplicate or old information. Destinations such as Google and Yahoo! unfortunately absorb this misinformation along with the correct information. For this reason, directories (like Google Places) ask for business owners to “claim” their business and update the information to ensure it’s correct. Read more here for information and statistics about local data providers quality.

[callout title= CDP’s Cause Outdated Information]An inside at Yelp told us that Yelp never plans to use CDPs again to update information.[/callout]

2. The duplicate business listings and inaccurate data cause confusion, not only for potential customers but also for search engines. Let’s just say you’re the owner of a plumbing company and you recently changed locations from Huntington Beach, CA to Irvine, CA. Two things might happen: 1) Core Data Providers will likely provide top directories with two business listings for you, one with the old address and one with the new. This inconsistent data will be broadcasted all over the Internet which make your business appear less stable and essentially tarnishes your business’s reputation in the eyes of the search engines. The search engines will then punish your listing with lower rankings. Lower rankings mean that less consumers will be able to find your business. 2) You might update your information with the CDP but that does not mean the online directories will be updated. Each individual directory chooses when to update their information, not you. In many cases, directories will license data once but never process updates from the CDP. An inside at Yelp told us that Yelp never plans to use CDPs again to update information.

3. CDPs only provide the bare minimum when it comes to information about your business. For instance extended data fields that Google Places provides such as the business URL, hours of operation, key names and positions, etc. are not found using CDPs. This information is important for driving traffic to your Website and business. The online directories that get their information from CDPs want to provide accurate and confident listings to their users. For this reason, they will provide results from listings that have more complete, unique and rich information. Incomplete directory listings will hurt your rankings, especially when dealing with Google. In a competitive market, complete business information is essential if you want first page placement in the search results.

How Local Splash Can Help:

1. Local Splash submits your accurate business information to a variety of different directories to increase your online presence. Having consistent business information sent to many online destinations helps your reputation in the eyes of your potential customers as well as the search engines. To search engines, your business will appear more credible and your listing will be rewarded with higher rankings and better search engine optimization (SEO). Local Splash also provides “permalinks” or proof that your business has been submitted to directories. Using Local Splash’s Back Office platform, you can log in and see all of your placements in a central location online. This is something that CDPs do not provide.

2. Local Splash updates your business information on a regular basis. Online directories do not update automatically very often. In fact, Yelp revealed that it has only updated twice in its entire existence. This means that online directories are full of old, inaccurate information. Local Splash will “claim” your business listings for you and update your information. CDPs are also infamous for having typos and grammatical errors in their listings. This is a huge con to using their services. Local Splash will “clean up” old business listings to make sure they have no typos or grammar issues. This will ensure that your listings no longer interfere with your online credibility and SEO. Waiting for automatic updates could take months or even years, which is why Local Splash’s manual updates are so useful. We make sure your listing is always 100% accurate.

3. Local Splash provides an optimized listing for better SEO. The business information that CDPs give other directories are not search engine-friendly because it is so basic. In order for potential customers to easily find your company in search results, the listing must contain keywords and keyword phrases that people would normally type in when searching for your type of business. Let’s return to the plumbing company example. An example of a keyword phrase to include in your business listing would be “plumber Irvine”. Including this keyword in your listing will help lead locals searching for a plumber in Irvine straight to your business. Having an SEO-friendly business listing in a variety of directories will greatly boost your local SEO which will reflect in high search rankings. Higher search rankings mean more people will see your business listing and in turn decide to do business with you.

Although CDPs do spread your business information all over the Web (which is a good start), it is like a shotgun blast from a far distance that fails to acquire any target adequately. They do not control if your business listing will actually be created by the individual directory – you have to wait until that specific directory chooses to update their info with that of the CDP provider. Core Data Providers and many other local directories are notorious for “setting and forgetting” listings, meaning they never process a listing to update it. Having misinformation on the Web can seriously damage your image.

Local seo provider, Local Splash provides businesses with an optimized, complete business listing and submits unique information across the Internet to highly respected and popular business directories. Local Splash also updates your business listing regularly to ensure there is never outdated information. These services along with the many others that Local Splash provides ensures that your business will climb the search engine page rankings. Rest assured that once a high position is achieved, Local Splash will make sure your listing stays at the top.