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No. 1468
May 21st, 2012

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The Local Search Ecosystem in Canada

We (the faculty) recently completed our first Local University north of the border, May 1st in Edmonton, thanks to the awesome efforts of Darren Shaw to get a room full of 150 business owners to the event.  As part of the preparation for that event, it was necessary to create a Canadian version of my Local Search Ecosystem graphic that seems to be so popular here in the U.S.

Without *much* further ado, here that is.  But I particularly want to thank Darren aka Edmonton SEO (his Twitter handle) again for his help in putting this together and also Ontario SEO Jim Rudnick, for this excellent starting point on Canadian citations (Twitter).

The Canadian Local Search Ecosystem

A few comments about some of the differences between the U.S. and Canada:

YellowPages Group

As with my U.S. graphic, I’ve done my best to represent the importance of various sources via the size of their logos.  You’ll surely note the prominence of the YPG logo in the Canadian version.

Unlike the U.S., which has two titans of aggregation, Infogroup and Localeze, there is really only one commercial aggregator of primary business information, and that is YellowPages Group.  Infogroup does have a presence in Canada but it’s much less robust than their excellent ExpressUpdateUSA product and I was not able to find many examples of sites which featured Infogroup data (or at least sites that admitted that publicly).

YPG, meanwhile, owns several of the most prominent citation sources including Canpages and 411, and even Google Maps still references them as a provider of business listings for business owners who have not yet claimed their Place Page.

Industry Canada

I was fascinated to discover that the Canadian government puts out an extremely crawlable list of registered businesses which I suspect Google relies on pretty heavily, if not as a primary source then at least as a means of validating information it aggregates from other sources.  And it wouldn’t be too hard for developers of other IYPs up north to scrape that index and create their own baseline database.

And, as with my U.S. graphic:

Please respect my intellectual property and do not reproduce this graphic without my permission.  The Canadian graphic alone represents several dozen hours of research, design, and layout.  You are more than welcome to link to the original on, but please, don’t rip it off and republish it elsewhere on the web.  So far, I’ve not turned anyone down who’s asked permission to use it in a presentation to small business owners or other search professionals.

  • @David….much thanks for the shoutout on this….but the real work was begun months and months before I got to my own list…by crawling and learning at your feet, at Matt McGees and Mike Blumenthals too!

    Us Canucks work hard too…but as we always “follow” here on our own by sometimes weeks if not months….we get to learn on “your dime” and then apply the sum of your knowledge to our own client lists.

    Just thought it needed saying….and acknowledgement of who leads here on the continent….



  • Jim,
    Thanks for the kind words. Flattery will get you everywhere 🙂

    Great job putting your list together, it was super-helpful in getting a baseline for this graphic.

  • David, Jim and Darren, Your extremely helpful research is long awaited and much appreciated by SEO’s promoting businesses north of the border. Thanks for making the effort!

  • Dan Lorren

    Does Canada have local search similar to

  • This is an amazing resource David and crew. Thanks again for all your hard work!

  • rebecca

    Can you give me an update about when the gelisted Canada site will be up and running? Thanks so much

  • Connor

    Hi David, big fan of your local search passion as its helped educate me quite a bit in the complex networking of local SEO. I am wondering if I can use your local search ecosystem diagrams for my own use in presentations to potential clients and the curious 🙂 Also would it be possible to post these diagrams with reference/links back to your site?


  • Just wanted to provide a data point. I can now provide specific evidence that Google does indeed use Industry Canada as a primary source. A client’s map marker had been moving back to a wrong address for months until we finally tracked it down to an old, incorrect, duplicate Industry Canada listing. It was overriding anything else we did, including updates in Map Maker.

  • David, this graphic is amazing! I am with Profile Canada (a division of Owen Media) proudly displayed on the left side of your graphic. I would love to use this graphic in a presentation to our sales people in a few weeks. I couldn’t think of a better way to illustrate the complexity of the market we are working in.
    Hope that is ok with you.

  • …almost a year later, with many changes in Local, however this map is just as powerful as it was when initially posted —> thanks David 🙂

  • Hi David,

    Great Infographic!

    I am having trouble trying to contact Industry Canada. What is your recommendation to ensure that their data is up to date?



  • Hi David,

    This infographic is very helpful and will be very valuable in a presentation with some local dealerships. I’m wondering if I have your permission to use it in a best practices guide document that we’ll be presenting in a few weeks. Hope that is okay with you.

    Thanks for the time and research your team has poured into this! Great and comprehensive insight pertaining to the Canadian market that not many has published on.


  • Thanks for this great resource. Is there any news on Local U visiting Western Canada?

  • Amber

    The Canadian infographic no longer appears to be accessible via this post. Can you please repost it or send it to me?

  • Yellow pages is the antichrist of SEO –