Google’s Local Primary Data Suppliers Around the World

Google’s Local Search sits at the center of an ecosystem of local web sites and data providers and they use this ecosystem to assemble their business listing data. This is true in the US and the basic structure and process is replicated on a local in every other country in the world using different local resources. In each country Google identifies a one (or two maybe) primary data supplier(s) upon which to base their local business list. This primary data supplier provides a starting “ground truth” which is then added to and enhanced by data from MapMaker, the Places Dashboard, leading local sites and the web in general to create the results that we see in search.

Sometimes, like in Canada, this primary data provider is noted directly in the Maps listing but often the information is not readily available. In many countries of the world, it is not easy to ferret out who is the trusted source of business listing data to Google.

Google does however publish a Legal Notice for Google Maps/Google Earth and their APIs that includes some of this detail. In this document Google identifies their primary sources of underlying map data and business listing data as required by their contracts.

While not comprehensive the list does have some interesting tidbits. Two notices that stood out were the one for the US and the one for France, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark and Israel.

 

5 Business Listings Data.

5.1 Google Local Business Listings in France, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark and Israel

When you search for local listings in France, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark and Israel, your search results may include content (including business listings and related information) which has been supplied by Kapitol S.A. (trading as Infobel) (the “Infobel Content”). The intellectual property rights in the Infobel Content are owned by Kapitol S.A. or its licensors. The Infobel Content may only be used in accordance with these Terms of Service and the applicable terms and conditions of Kapitol S.A. If you know that your business listing is supplied by Kapitol S.A., and you have any questions about it you should contact them directly.

5.2 Google Local Business Listings in the United States

When you search for local listings, Google displays business listings which may be supplied by Acxiom Corporation and/or infoUSA Inc. (“Axciom” and/or “infoUSA”). This information is proprietary to those corporations and is protected under U.S. copyright law and international treaty provisions. This information is licensed for your personal or professional use and may not be resold or provided to others. Except as permitted through the Products, you may not distribute, sell, rent, sublicense, or lease such information, in whole or in part to any third party; and you will not make such information available in whole or in part to any other user in any networked or time-sharing environment, or transfer the information in whole or in part to any computer other than the PC used to access this information.

France and the related European countries were of interest because this information, despite the public web page, was not widely known.The note in reference to the US stood out because it has been widely thought that their primary suppliers were InfoUSA and Localeze. From the above it is clear that it is InfoUSA and Acxiom. Localeze might still have a data relationship with Google, we don’t really know but it points out why, in the US, it is necessary to be sure that your data is accurate at all three of the primary data suppliers.

In addition to those countries mentioned above Google also notes their business listings sources are Brazil, Turkey, Kenya, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Bulgaria. If you have identified Google’s primary list suppliers in your country and it is not on this list, I would love to hear from you.

Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
Google's Local Primary Data Suppliers Around the World by

20 thoughts on “Google’s Local Primary Data Suppliers Around the World”

  1. Mike, as always, thanks for doing the research for the rest of us. While I don’t mean to diminish the importance of establishing a “ground truth” with these data providers, it seems to me that local and hyper-local data signals (citations, links, mentions, etc) carry the lion’s share of weight. Which seems to stand to reason since in most competitive local verticals, the businesses that appear prominently have properly established “ground truth.”

  2. What I find particularly interesting in this document is the “advice” Google gives: “If you know that your business listing is supplied by [name of data provider] and you have any questions about it, you should contact them directly.”

    However, I agree with what Gyi said – big part of the “SEO” power is coming from other places. Additionally, I am not entirely convinced this is the full list of data providers neither for all countries in the world, nor for the countries that are specifically mentioned there. One very notable example might be Germany, where GelbeSeiten.de, owned by T-Online (Deutsche Telekom), is the most important data provider for Google, and I’ve had a couple of cases where listings have popped up on maps.google.de with the only source of the info being Gelbeseiten.

  3. Tried to delete a client listing from Google because it is old and the address has changed 10 years ago. Was told (on the Google forums) that I need to contact Yellow Pages. When contacted Yellow pages was told to contact telcom provider since the phone number was related to a land line which has the old address assigned to it.
    Buttom line: Some of the information comes from local telecom companies.

  4. “This information is licensed for your personal or professional use and may not be resold or provided to others”

    Maybe I misread that, but it sounds as if the biz information cannot be provided to others, but can be provided on Google for the world to see?

    @Mike
    Why was UBL excluded as a Primary Data Provider if it’s an active feed directly into both infogroup and Acxiom?

  5. @Guy
    A primary data supplier would not be a source of ranking as EVERY (or nearly every) listing is there and thus the ranking value applied roughly equally to all. It is however a trust factor that makes claiming and approval of a listing go faster as Google has external verification of NAP etc.

    That being said a primary list supplier might also provide their data to other significant local directories and can be the basis of a citation campaign.

    A primary list supplier is however a trusted source of bad data leading to dupes and loss rankings.

    Making sure that your data is singularly accurate at the primary data suppliers thus is key to any ranking efforts.

  6. @Nyagoslav
    This is most certainly NOT the whole list. It is only the list that Google is required to show by virtue of their contract. It is in no way a guarantee that a company listed there is the only source for Google’s data. Canada is another country not listed that clearly lists the primary data supplier in Maps but not in the legal agreement.

    That being said it is very much like Google to want multiple points of data to use to triangulate the right answer. I would assume that, like the US, many countries have multiple data suppliers.

  7. @Justin
    UBL is more of a list broker than a primary list developer. Acxiom, Localeze and InfoUSA have the goal of listing every business in their list regardless of whether they have paid or not. They also VERIFY the data in one way or another to make sure that it is accurate.

    That doesn’t mean that their lists are totally accurate at any given point, which is why Google continues to look for additional sources, but it does mean that the data is more trusted than an unverified source like UBL.

    That doesn’t mean that UBL doesn’t have a role to play in a local campaign, just that they are not a primary list provider like the big 3.

  8. @Justin
    “This information is licensed for your personal or professional use and may not be resold or provided to others”

    The companies on this list have imposed additional burdens on both Google AND the user of Google’s local data. They don’t want companies scraping the lists and making money from them and this is the legal basis to enforce their claim to the data if they find someone breaking “the rules”.

    An example of this. Have you ever noticed that there is no zip code showing at the top levels of the local displays at Google? The list data is not very useful without out and it is likely that one of their data suppliers is requiring that Google not show it.

  9. Michelle
    That is absolutely true. The ecosystem that generates the data that Google uses is often byzantine in its nature and phone companies are critical in feeding new data upstream.

  10. Oh the tangled web we weave. I hope David takes some time out of his busy Moz schedule to provide us with some more insight on the core data providers for the US and their shifting value and distribution partners.

  11. Hey mike, great find and thanks for the post.
    Why would google not be required to list the data providers for all countries, not just those highlighted in the article you linked to?

  12. @Dan
    I shared this data with David so he could update his chart. I am not sure that things are shifting that much it’s just that our knowledge is improving. I looked at this page at the Internet Archives and it has barely changed over the past three years.

  13. @darren

    Great question and I don’t have a real answer but I do have a speculative one. Each data deal that Google signs at a national level is unique.

    Some providers of data want to keep their role secret, some (like in Canada and Germany) want the public benefit of getting mentioned and linked in the context of google’s public display in Maps and I assume some just don’t care or have no specific legal limitation that needs to be public.

  14. Hey gang,
    I will indeed be coming out with more ecosystems in the next couple of weeks on the SEOmoz blog! Nyagoslav has been helping with some of the European countries. Looking forward to getting some time to publish!

  15. There was a time when I would have agreed with those of you who think the local citations are more important. Through several experiences, Mike was kind enough to point me to the importance of verified and accurate listings on the primary data suppliers. Do your clients a favor. Start with those.
    Oh, and don’t let them use a DEX tracking number.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Comments links could be nofollow free.