Local business owners are often taken aback over the kind of information that appears upon looking up their businesses on the likes of Google, Yahoo, or Bing. Anything that comes up is often out of date, and there may not even be any source of where the information is coming from in the first place. Sometimes, even claiming a business listing through one of the major search engine providers doesn't guarantee that the proper information will be displayed upon searching. The entire matter is immensely frustrating. This happens largely in part to how the search engines gather information from a multitude of sources. Their own business databases are, curiously enough, not the authority in many cases. The data is matched as best it can be with their algorithms of course, but if the outdated information is already well indexed, it can be difficult for it to properly overwritten.
If the old info has enough differences from the current listing, the search engines might recognize it as a different business altogether. In other instances, if one business listing is coming up enough times from different sources, that will be the one that's recognized as being the best match. Search engines like Google bring in information in distinctly different manners depending on what country you're in. Each country has its own data aggregators. These sources scan for transcriptions such as business registration listings, utility records, yellow page directory entries, and phone records.
Google will also "crawl" the internet to make sure it can best match local search ecosystems
When it comes to local listings, this generally equates to the yellow pages, newspaper listings, blogs, social media profiles, and review sites. In turn, the same sources feed off of the same aggregators, so it can create a constant circle of inaccuracies. You need to be absolutely sure that you have the correct information registered across the board. If you have any sort of outdated information out there, it will continually pop up when people search for your business.
Factual is one of the best up and coming local search ecosystem data aggregators
Only a year or so ago, they weren't known, and now they're on the tips of everyone's tongue. Their home page is affiliated with a variety of services like Trip Advisor, Yelp, and Bing Search. They have truly begun making a name for themselves, even worldwide. Apps based on locations are only going to become more commonly used as the internet shifts more and more to mobile users. So services like Factual and the long-running Foursquare are poised to be major authorities for information about locations. Foursquare is very brilliantly enlisting its user base to provide the most accurate info on their behalf, and it can constantly be updated with very little resources spent. Easily adding data from users to business listings is going to be at the forefront data searches as we move forward. Outside of Foursquare, you should also keep an eye on Open Street Maps and Google Mapmaker.