Factual is one of the top 10 most important citation sources for Local SEO.
Unlike most “tier 1” citation sources, they aren’t actually a business data aggregator or directory.
Instead, they create products based on “point of interest” data.
- Whitespark puts them number six on their list of citation sources for the US.
- They are one of Moz Local’s Direct Network partners.
- We put them at number four on our list of best local citations sources.
If you want to perform well in Google Maps and other local search results, you need correct info on Factual.
Problem is, it might not be all that easy.
NEW: Factual Announces Merger with Foursquare
Earlier this month, Factual announced a merger with Foursquare.
Via their blog post on April 6th:
The new Foursquare will offer unparalleled reach and scale, with datasets spanning:
- More than 500 million devices worldwide
- A panel of 25 million opted-in, always on users and over 14 billion user confirmed check-ins
- More than 105 million points of interest across 190 countries and 50 territories
Foursquare and Factual together offer the most robust and readily available location data and technology, trusted by the world’s most important companies and distributed throughout the ecosystem:
- Thousands of brands—including more than 50% of the Fortune 100— have chosen Foursquare or Factual as a location services partner, including all 50 of the top U.S. national advertisers per AdAge
- 550+ media platforms and publishers use Foursquare to measure campaign performance and provide effective optimizations, including 49 of the 50 largest properties on the internet per Comscore
- Combined, our location data is integrated or accessible within platforms representing more than 80% of all programmatic ad spend
- A community of 200,000+ leveraging Foursquare’s geo-contextual developer tools
This is a pretty big move.
Both platforms are amongst the Web’s most important directories for SEO.
Together, they’ll likely move above the other aggregators to #4 on our list pretty fast. It seems like only Google My Business, Facebook, and Apple Maps will have more importance for local SEO citations in the immediate future.
For now, they’ll need to work out the kinks.
We ran into trouble with Factual on all citations accounts earlier this month. We expect both platforms to go through a bit of flux over the next few months. In fact, Factual’s Global Places product may go the way of Acxiom My Business Listing Manager.
The blog post goes on to say that executives from Factual will be joining the Foursquare team. It looks like they want to double down on Foursquare’s directory. It’s seems unlikely that they’d maintain separate data sets over the long term.
It will be interesting to see what happens.
Regardless, this represents a major shake up in the local search ecosystem.
In the meantime, it is still possible to add your business to Factual through one of their Trusted Data Contributors. By the time you read this, that may no longer be true.
If it is though, continue reading for our recommendations.
Submitting Manual Corrections to Factual No Longer Possible
As of August 2018, Factual only allows their partners to submit changes to their database.
Despite the obvious limitations, this may not be a bad thing.
It has always been difficult to correct business listings on Factual. Their approval process took a stated 6-8 weeks. They provided no confirmation of listing acceptance or any feedback whatsoever. We routinely had to submit changes 2-3 times before they were accepted.
As such, we were never surprised if it took 6 months to get rid of all duplicates on Factual.
Apparently, they’ve never really been built for it.
From their listing updates FAQ:
Why did Factual stop accepting updates directly?
Factual is not a database aggregator or a listings management company, and does not provide services or support for SMBs, that Trusted Data Contributors (TDCs) can provide. Factual aggregates POI location data to build a global POI dataset, which is used to create products for Products, Analytics and Marketers. For more information on Factual’s business, please visit www.factual.com
Despite building databases on point of interest data, they don’t have a business directory model.
They provide “big data” solutions for marketers, analysts, and software partners.
Perhaps it was charitable for them to accept manual submissions in the first place.
Whatever the case, the new model is better.
Factual Trusted Data Contributors
Now, Factual only accepts updates from a small group of partners.
Several are digital marketing agencies. Others are citations automation services. Yet others play elsewhere in the locations data space.
As mentioned above, this is quite different from years past.
Again, from the FAQs:
Factual used to let me write in to request an add or update of my business listing directly. Is this no longer an option? Why?
As of August 2018, Factual is not accepting direct additions or edits to business listings in our database. In order to protect all parties from fraud and also from honest mistakes, any submission that Factual receives from a business owner or manager would require verification. Factual is unable to validate any forms of verification, and for this reason, we cannot make direct additions/edits to business listings.
As an alternative, we encourage business owners to work with our Trusted Data Contributors, who are able to verify business information. As trusted partners, TDCs will submit all business listing information to Factual and any other location data providers, and help ensure that all information is accurate.
Factual’s current list of TDCs:
- Advice Local
- DAC Group
- Local Market Launch
- Michaels Wilder
- Milestone Internet Marketing
- Rio SEO
- SIM Partners
- Soon: Greensboro SEO Pro
Everytime we check this list, it’s a little longer. Looks like Factual made a smart business decision.
Still though, you may be wondering…
Do You Need to Edit Your Factual Listing?
Incorrect data on Factual is bad for local SEO.
You need to correct duplicates on Factual, if you have any. Truly, you should correct any incorrect business data on one of our top 60 citations sources—especially NAP data.
However, we find that Factual has one of the most accurate databases of any tier one provider.
Therefore, Factual may already have the correct information on file for you.
So the first step is still the same:
Find any and all Factual listings for your business.
Search for your business here.
Factual has one of the best on-site search functions of any citation source. Least common name denominator may be enough. But we advise taking full advantage of their filtering options to find all potential variations. Do everything in your power to find any duplicate or incorrect information on Factual.
Hopefully, you’re listed and error-free.
But if you do find errors, get them fixed!
We are currently exploring strategies to correct Factual data without paying a TDC. We believe it is possible. And we’ll be sure to update this post with our findings.
However, Factual is too important for you to wait. Until we find a consistent solution or become a Factual partner, we recommend a Moz Local subscription to correct Factual errors. Pricing is extremely reasonable and it is designed so that you only need to pay for one year if you use it properly.
Errors and duplicates on Factual may be less common, but aren’t necessarily uncommon.
And of course, may not yet be listed on Factual.
In this case, you have two real options.
You can either use a TDC or ignore Factual. We choose Moz Local for now. You need the Plus plan. And if you do it right, you can cancel after the first year.
We recommend against ignoring Factual but some startups may be able to get away with it.
If your business is new or has never had any alternate NAP information, you’re unlikely to have any errors on Factual. If you’ve confirmed this truth for your business, you may be able to get away with ignoring Factual for now. Over time, your business is likely to get listed anyway.
Keep in mind though, that SEO is often a battle of “thoroughness.”
By ignoring Factual, you leave openings for your competition. Fully-optimized Factual profiles provide a power citation, “dofollow” backlink, and social platform sync. If you want to get to the top of Google in your industry, optimize your Factual listing!
Need more help claiming and optimizing your Factual listing? Leave your questions or comments below. We’ll answer ’em all. Plus, we have more in store for this and our other local SEO citations posts down the road. In the meantime, you might also be able to pick up some hints by taking a look at our marketing company on Factual. Or, learn more about our Local Citations Services via our Free SEO Audit.