October 22nd, 2018

Partner Connections: Neustar and Moz Tackle the Chaos of the Local Data Ecosystem

Local business data is used every day to power search engines, navigation systems, online directories and mobile apps. With more and more consumers searching online at some point in their customer journey, this information plays a key role in their decisions about which local products and services to buy.

Recently I had an opportunity to chat with Jamie Kanter, Managing Director of Strategic Accounts at Moz, one of our Localeze partners, and Neustar’s David Turner, Senior Director of Product Management, who shared their behind-the-scenes insights on the local data ecosystem.

Q. Why is there chaos in the local data ecosystem?

David: The underlying challenge is that local data, a business’ location and contact information, changes constantly – so much that 60% is out of date in two years. Chaos happens because this ever-changing information is brought into the ecosystem from a wide range of sources, including communication providers, agencies, listing aggregators, publications, government agencies and even crowd-sourced. As the data is processed, often there is duplicate, bad or outdated information that is shared and recycled.

Jamie: With well-intended practices such as “suggest an edit”, allowing updates from unauthoritative sources, more bad data enters the ecosystem and persists.
 

Q. How do sites source and use local data to display your listings?

Jamie: Search engines and directories have broad discretion on what they publish. Many get their data from multi-sources and use a Frankenstein approach where they pull bits of data from different sources to include in a listing. But often, these different pieces don’t match up.

David: With the potential for conflicting sources of data, many platforms, such as Google My Business, try and get the data directly from the business. Businesses are well-meaning in their intentions to manage their data, but many set it up and move on. And while they may have added new, up-to-date information, old data is still out there that they have not maintained, such as in phones books and 411 directories. Both ‘good’ and ‘bad’ data is used and displayed in search results, directories, mapping and mobile applications.

Q. What are the steps to successful local search management?

David: The key is to take control of your online search presence by actively managing listing data to ensure it is current and consistent. Leverage listing syndication partners to improve the adoption of your listing across every platform – think omnichannel and consider all the ways local data is displayed to customers.

Jamie: While publishing good data is important, on the flip side, eliminating the bad data is just as important. If you don’t eradicate it, the outdated information will just hang out and come back to haunt your listings at some point.

Q. How does inaccurate local data impact the customer experience?

David: I’m sure everyone can recall a negative experience they’ve had from bad business information they found online or in an app they use. Whether it’s calling a wrong number, showing up way before a business opens or just after they closed, or going to a wrong location, all of these cause frustration and loss of trust. And consumers are almost twice as likely to blame the local business for the bad information versus the search engine or directory they found it in.

Jamie: Accurate local data matters and does influence business results. One of our customers, Bridgestone, shared that they had a 48% increase in their conversion rate after they eliminated over 6,000 duplicate listings.

 

On Sept. 27, we hosted a webinar with the Local Search Association: How to Stop Worrying about Local Listings & Focus on the Customer Journey. View this on-demand recording of the webinar to learn more from Jamie and David.

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