Local Search Citations in Continental Europe
MIHMORANDUM NO. 153 | January 3rd, 2009
Editor’s Note: This post is the first in a series on non-U.S. sources for Local search engine citations. It is written by Martijn Beijk, a Dutch Local SEO / Mobile enthusiast, currently living in the Netherlands. He focuses on research and optimization at Onetomarket, a leading online marketing agency covering most of European markets.
You’ll have noticed the increasing conversation surrounding web references and citations on this blog and in the Local blogosphere in general. But most of these discussions only apply to the Local Search market on the opposite side of “the pond.”
What’s the situation in Europe?
Imagine a market where there is one big player. Google, with a whopping 95% market share in some of countries, and an 80% overall market share reported by ComScore, is that player. ‘To Google’ is probably even more a verb on The Continent than it is in the United States.
There are over a 730 million people in the European market area (~1.5 times the population of North America) and even though the Google Evolution has proceeded more slowly in Europe, smaller players haven’t stood a chance of fighting the giant.
This giant dominates more than regular search. Local Search, although still small, is also dominated by Google and a few local directories. Yahoo Local only exists in the UK and Germany. And MSN Local? Sorry…? You said what? Even the more reason to get your business listed in the Local Business Center right away before it is hijacked.
For those of you not familiar with this topic: a “citation” or “web reference” is a reference to your business on some other website. It is not necessarily a link and always contains your business address and/or phone number. Geographically relevant websites talking about your business increase your Local search engine rankings.
So apart from registering yourself at the Local Business center, what resources can you use to gain higher rankings using citations?
To start, look at the current ‘Web Pages’ tab of your own Local Business Listing, and those of your competitors. Are certain citations showing for their businesses and not for yours? You may want to look into some of the same sites they are and use this knowledge for your benefit.
Citation Sources for All Major European Markets
These sites frequently appear as citations across all major European markets:
- Infobel.com – Business Directory in French, English, Spanish, Italian, Dutch and German (no sign up evident)
- Kompass.com – Business Directory in multiple languages (sign up)
- Leonardo.com – Database of businesses, Business 2 Business (no sign up evidenttr)
- Hotfrog.com – Business Directory (sign up)
- Tupalo.com – Businesses in your neighborhood service; also a hub for reviews (find your location and click “add a spot”)
These citation sources show up frequently for travel-related searches and they benefit both US and European client bases.
- Paginas Amarillas – Provides primary business information (Spanish equivalent of yellow pages)
- PaginasAmarillas.com – Interestingly enough this is not the same company, and seems like a competitor to the above.
- Axesor.es – financial information about businesses
- Salir.com – ‘going out;’ provides citations in travel / clubbing, etc
- Myhotelvideo.com – big note: I see more of these video sites appearing in the travel business and they always seem to result in citations!
- Atrapalo.com – travel sector , hotels/restaurants get a listing
- 11870.com – nice project, user generated content. Gives you citations almost instantly, ranking very high.
In the Netherlands there is no agreement yet on yellow pages (Gouden Gids) supplying business information, this might also be one of the reasons why business representation in the Netherlands still is somewhat behind. Currently Google relies on different providers, scraping, and of course the LBC. There might be a reason for them to ‘test’ if a good data repository can be built without the use of yellow pages.
- iLocal.nl - Probably the biggest and best local information provider in the Netherlands, easily surpassing Dutch yellow pages.
- Detelefoongids.nl – National phonebook, has a business search option. Google might be using this one as its source although it doesn’t state it anywhere
- Europages.nl – Business directory with featured listings, 1 million listings, coverage Europe
- Zoover.nl – Review site about hotels/camping sites, one of the biggest in the Netherlands, but not showing lots of citations in the Netherlands.
- Weekendjeweg.nl – Site dedicated to short trips, citations for hotels.
- Gelbeseiten.de – German yellow pages
- Qype.com – Business Directory
- De.local.yahoo.com – Germany is one of the few countries that has Yahoo Local available. Seems to be using data from ‘das Ortliche’
- Dasortliche.de – A German phonebook and business directory, high profile. Their listings correspond with official German Deutsche Telekom standards – but there seem to be no to little citations?
- Dastelefonbuch.de – Official German phonebook from Deutsche Telekom (the subsidiary of T-mobile) – seems to provide very few citations?
- Klicktel.de – Phonebook and business directory,
- Goyellow.de – One search in maps.google.de resulted in 250K results.
- Pointoo.de – Local bookmark service
- Firma-adresse.com – Addresses of businesses
- Suchnase.de – Directory/search engine
- Belocal.de – Review website
- Paginegialle.it – Most default information seems to be taken from Italian yellow pages
- Paginebianche.it - Italian white pages
- Prontoimprese.it – business directory
- Catalogo-pmi.com - business directory
The European Local Search market is still very immature. Not all European Google Maps engines currently seem to use Yellow Pages as their primary data provider–pay attention to any consolidation of data or announcements by data providers or search engines in the coming months. What will happen when StreetView and Google Base are properly introduced in Europe? Maps usage, and local presence will only become more important.