Have you ever wondered where search engines all pulling your business’ information from? The answer is complex, as local SEO data sharing is in constant motion within the local ecosystem. Nonetheless, the new US 2017 Local Search Ecosystem gives insight into specific relationships across the local space of digital.
What is the Local Search Ecosystem (LSE)?
The Local Search Ecosystem (LSE) is a visual explanation of the complexity of local data relationships*, and why incorrect data so often finds its way to the front page of Google or Bing. It was introduced in 2009 by David Mihm and has updated every two years.
Why is it important?
Understanding how the local search ecosystem works is important for successful UNAP consistency, which will result in better rankings and user experience. A business listing that appears to be correct on the surface might become incorrect later due to inaccurate incoming third-party data, or inaccurate data that already exists within another listings database, but has not surfaced yet.
The 2017 US Local Ecosystem
Whitespark and Tidings teamed up to create a new local search ecosystem, bringing attention to specific site relationships by hovering over and clicking the site segments on the chart. The circle shaped chart is set up with three relationships classifications:
- Confirmed Relationships- Relationships that were confirmed either by the data aggregators’ distribution lists or by the business directories (or by both)
- Likely Relationship- Relationships that were reported by the business directories
- Unconfirmed Relationships– Relationships that were reported by the data aggregators in their distribution lists, but were not confirmed by their study
WhiteSpark and Tidings also noted the following categories in the circle:
- Primary Data Aggregators –Businesses whose model consists of collecting and regularly updating and enriching business data, and then selling it to other companies, including business directories. They have the most influence in the ecosystem. IE. Infogroup
- Core Search Engines – Most important display platforms that receive information from a number of different sources. IE. Google and Apple Maps
- Key Sites – Sites that serve either as actual data providers of lesser significance, IE. Foursquare, or as important display platforms, IE. Facebook or as both. IE. Yelp
- Other Sites – All other important business directories in the ecosystem that either receive, or on rare occasion provide data from/to other sites
(Image Source: Whitespark)
What Your Hotel Should Know
The chart helps us understand where to focus on in order in ensure our hotel’s URL, name, address and phone number (UNAP) are consistent throughout local search. But there are also some other findings and areas our hotels should note:
- Proprietary Data –Some sites, such as the major data aggregator TripAdvisor, are not displayed because they generate listings based on business data they collect on their own. They use different methods of collecting such data, such as directly calling the business or using information found on their websites. Be sure that your associates are aligned with the correct data to give these sources and your hotel website accurately represents the hotel. Digital Services claims our hotels’ TripAdvisor pages so we can input correct data into the platform.
- Less Significant Sources – There are hundreds of other data sources sites use. For instance, Factual has a feature called Crosswalk, through which they collaborate with business directories and display links on to third-party pages for the same business on their listing. Even if they are less significant, they are still appearing to users, and therefore should be entirely correct for your hotel’s credibility. Digital Services conducts a citation audit for hotels enrolled in our program to ensure UNAP consistency across sites like Factual, CitySearch, etc.
- International Hotels– If your hotel is outside of the US, you may be wondering about your country’s local ecosystem. In their release, they stated that they will be releasing local search ecosystems for Canada, the UK, Australia, Germany and Brazil in the coming months. There are local ecosystems in every country and you should be keeping your hotel’s UNAP consistent no matter where your hotel is located. International hotels enrolled with Digital Services are set up with a Yext account to ensure the correct UNAP is being pushed to the countries’ specific local ecosystem.
- The Dirty Four– Overall, Yelp, Yellowpages, Foursquare and CityGrid could be viewed as the “Dirty Four” – a secondary group of 4 semi-data-aggregators that seem to be as important as the primary data aggregators. For instance, Yelp can feed review and business data to Bing, Apple Maps, Yellowpages, Yahoo! Local and MapQuest. Yellowpages can feed to these sites as well. Therefore, it’s important to not neglect these sites and making sure they are optimized with your hotel’s correct information. Hotels in Yelp supported countries that are enrolled in Digital Services are provided with a paid Yelp listings as well as optimizations to ensure the profile accurately represents the hotel.
* Local search ecosystem relationships change frequently, so it is possible that such changes occurred from the time the first audit had been performed to the time the last audit was completed. As a result, the audit analysis data might be contradictory or incomplete.Read More