State-level Business Registrations - Good for Rankings?


russofford

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Hi,

Would I be correct in encouraging a company to register their local business at the State level so as to help improve trust/authority and local rankings?

For example, on websites such as these:
https://www.wdfi.org/apps/CorpSearch/Search.aspx
http://nvsos.gov/sosentitysearch/

My reasoning would be that this 'NAP listing' could be another strong signal to the search engines of the company's authenticity and this data could eventually trickle into the search engines' databasesally.

Thanks,

Russ
 

JoyHawkins

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Getting your business registered with the state is always a good idea. I know that Google definitely looks at business licenses because it's what they ask locksmiths to provide when they think the listings they created are fake and are trying to verify them.
 

JoshuaMackens

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Getting your business registered with the state is always a good idea. I know that Google definitely looks at business licenses because it's what they ask locksmiths to provide when they think the listings they created are fake and are trying to verify them.
Hey Joy,

Do they actually look for them on the internet as a citation though? I know a lot of directories ask for business licenses/documents etc. to verify but I think they just use them to make sure you're legitimate.

Does Google ask for proof simply to make sure they're legitimate? Or do they factor that into the ranking from a web citation perspective?

I think it would make sense to have a citation on a .gov or state/local .org. But then, there's the issue of Google being able to crawl poorly set up websites and most local and state government websites seem to be atrocious in that respect.

I've always been curious about this and would be interested in your thoughts.
 

JoyHawkins

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I honestly have no idea. I've never seen any concrete evidence that would make me think they look at it as a citation. They definitely do use it to verify listings.
 

JoshuaMackens

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I honestly have no idea. I've never seen any concrete evidence that would make me think they look at it as a citation. They definitely do use it to verify listings.
I've heard a lot that Google does look at it but I thought people meant as a citation. It's talked about a lot (I've seen it mentioned on the forum multiple times in fact) that you need to make sure your NAP is good at the state and local levels. I've never really come across that or checked into it myself.
 

JoyHawkins

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I know for medical professionals government records matter. I always check the way it looks on NPPES which feeds to tons of sites. But I know you already know that ;)
 

CodyBaird

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Best citations in the biz. State and city registrations. Not only show legitimate businesses but also shows year of registration. Authority.

No one talks about it because the industry is full of talking heads repeating what they read on SEL today.

David Mihm or Blumenthal would agree that gov citations have strong correlation, causation, and impact. And most are public and easily accessible by bots.

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Tyson Downs

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Best citations in the biz. State and city registrations. Not only show legitimate businesses but also shows year of registration. Authority.

No one talks about it because the industry is full of talking heads repeating what they read on SEL today.

David Mihm or Blumenthal would agree that gov citations have strong correlation, causation, and impact. And most are public and easily accessible by bots.

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I don't know if that's the reason that nobody is talking about it or not, do you? But I have heard it talked about many times, just like other topics.

That said, I'm sure it's a great citation, but at least in Utah, Google doesn't crawl the state business licenses.

Here's the site: https://secure.utah.gov/bes/

Search for your company for example, Milkmen

Grab the entity number, and search. Just one thing comes up in Google.

(Oops, may want to renew your business license)

Go in there, find any company, and then do a Google search with that info and nothing come up. It may be different in other states, but in Utah, I've seen very very little coming up (sometimes a listing of business licenses for cities comes up in a PDF if you go far back enough in the search results, but that's about it).

So, if Google is valuing these citations, they certainly aren't giving us much, if any information to go on.
 

JoyHawkins

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Tyson,

You summarized why I don't know for sure what the answer is here. I don't think Google is able to crawl government sites which means if they are getting data from there algorithmicly (not manual verification), it would need to come from a direct data feed like they get from Express Update or other data providers. I'm not really sure the if state would give that to Google or not.

I referenced NPPES because that is gov't run and definitely is fed to tons of directories online (just search any doctor name + the word "NPI"). I agree though that I see lots of data on gov't sites that don't match up with any listings on Google which makes me think they don't use it the same way they use data providers. But I'm honestly not sure.
 
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These are valuable citations, because they're coming from a trusted source (government entity) with a real barrier to entry. When would a user ever need the entity number for the business license? I can't think of a single use case for that element. When it comes to NAP consistency and trustworthiness, I think this is a great source which helps solidify trust in the business.

Google is scraping data from every source they can to match up the information. Any web page linking the business entity to NAP information will be used by Google. My view on data like this is, if Google can use it, they will use it
 

Tyson Downs

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These are valuable citations, because they're coming from a trusted source (government entity) with a real barrier to entry. When would a user ever need the entity number for the business license? I can't think of a single use case for that element. When it comes to NAP consistency and trustworthiness, I think this is a great source which helps solidify trust in the business.

Google is scraping data from every source they can to match up the information. Any web page linking the business entity to NAP information will be used by Google. My view on data like this is, if Google can use it, they will use it
Nobody said that somebody would need the entity number for the business license.

I was simply explaining that if you take unique data from the business license search, and search in Google, then it typically does not show up anywhere else on the web.

Why did I not say to take the business name and search in Google? Because that obviously would show up all over the web.

I do agree, if Google can find the information, then they will use that.

The only question at hand is if Google can actually read this data.
 
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I see a lot of businesses showing up using a site: command for that domain, so I think they can read it. Whether they're actually using it in the calculation is another thing. If they can find + index, then i'll assume they use the data in some capacity. They might assign a small value or a large value to the site, but the only ones who know that are Google employees.
 

Tyson Downs

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yes, but it's all dependent on the site. I think that's what everybody is questioning, how many of these gov sites can they actually read, and because of their inability to read some, does that mean they don't factor in any of the government sites? I mean really, if they can't read Utah Business License data, is it fair that they will use the business license data and factor it into rankings for a different state?

Of course who knows what is 'fair' and quite frankly who cares?

Just a question and I don't have the answer.
 

CodyBaird

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Site:govsitehere.com. if you see lots of pages of indexed content.........then you know Google sees it as well.

Google will crawl https if robot.txt allows.

Its public data.

Even Tyson could see that my SLC office business registration is out of date. ( nice find btw) That's the point. Who's "prominent"? Business with city and state license since 1997 or business with no license but GMB page etc? State records > data aggregators.

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DanLeibson

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yes, but it's all dependent on the site. I think that's what everybody is questioning, how many of these gov sites can they actually read, and because of their inability to read some, does that mean they don't factor in any of the government sites?
I don't know why anyone would question that.

Google can't tell the difference in all cases between a natural link pattern and a spammy link pattern but Penguin is still with us.

Google can't tell the difference in all cases between thin content and robust content but Panda is still a thing.

These things happen all the time in the SEO space because Google doesn't make decisions about their search engine based on what is fair. The do what is best for the quality of their search results in most instances, and are focused on driving value for their shareholders as they are more or less obligated to do as a publicly traded company.
 
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I'm fairly confident that Google is able to use business registration data. Whether they scrape it or buy it, I'm not sure.

I know that InfoGroup gets data directly from "government sources", so it's safe to assume that Google is getting this data as well. Or, it's possible that since we know Googel buys data from Infogroup, they are just getting it second hand through infogroup.

But, back to the original question. Is it even possible to register a business at the city level? I thought that all business registrations in the US were don't through the Secretary of State's office. Either way, YES, you definitely want to have the business registered with the state. If they're a legit business, they've probably already done it anyway.
 

Linda Buquet

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FYI all,

I see that Joy has asked Google for a comment on this, so hopefully we'll have more information soon.
 

JoshuaMackens

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Site:govsitehere.com. if you see lots of pages of indexed content.........then you know Google sees it as well.

Google will crawl https if robot.txt allows.

Its public data.

Even Tyson could see that my SLC office business registration is out of date. ( nice find btw) That's the point. Who's "prominent"? Business with city and state license since 1997 or business with no license but GMB page etc? State records > data aggregators.

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While robots.txt may allow crawling, it's only half of the equation. The other half is whether Google can actually crawl the data or not.

A lot of data we see as the end user is query based and have temporary URL's that can't be replicated by Google. Google needs a permanent or "hard" URL to crawl. That's why you rarely see a URL from a Google SERP with programming syntax (might be wrong vernacular here) with "?", "&" etc. Those seem to be a dead giveaway that the URL you're looking at is query generated and therefore, "temporary" for lack of a better term.

I've run into so many sites (mostly government) that don't use permanent URL's and the information you see is based on a query you generated, which Google cannot replicated. Furthermore, the data you are seeing isn't housed on a permanent page where Google could crawl it and make sense of it. It's housed in what I can only imagine is a SQL database and therefore Google can't read that data. Even if they could, how would they make sense of it since the data only makes sense when put together through a query.

Government websites seem to be the worse culprits when it comes to site architecture. So it is very feasible that Google cannot crawl many of the SOS listings. Just because you can "site:" a website doesn't mean the website is completely crawlable. There are some sites out there with truly atrocious architecture that have thousands of pages indexed. They also have tens of thousands of pages that can't be indexed.

Here's a question for you. How many of you when doing a citation audit have actually seen your SOS listing come up? Personally, I haven't seen it come up once. And that goes for competitors too.

Maybe Google buys this data from the SOS or a 3rd party. But if they do that, I can't imagine it being used as a ranking signal. That's a pretty manual signal and Google loves automation.

Also, I haven't seen an SOS listing but I imagine it's filled with misleading information (as far as NAP consistency goes) such as DBA's, different addresses for legal purposes, etc. Why would Google even consider such misleading information? It would seriously pollute their database. This is all based on conjecture, since I haven't seen an SOS listing before but it makes sense to me.

My point is I don't think this is such a cut and dry issue here.

I'll be interested in Joy's discovery from Google.

Also, if you "site:" a site for this example, do a broad search like "city dentist" and see what comes up. If a comprehensive list of dentists come up in your location and the information looks good, it probably is good. That would be a good example to see.
 

russofford

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I believe that Google can crawl websites that are 'blocked' via robots. However, they probably just don't include that data in their public facing indexes and caches.

Also, I think that even if a gov't record is not directly accessible to Google online, it could still somehow get to them... I'm thinking print publications or such... if the State publishes the data in some other print or digital form (not directly as a traditional webpage)... it will eventually get to Google... I'm just not sure the 'how', exactly.

You can see that the Utah database is wide open... but the Wisconsin database is accessible, but not 'allowed' for indexing in Google.

Utah: https://www.google.com/search?q=site:https://secure.utah.gov/bes/details.html



Wisconsin: https://www.google.com/search?q=site:https://www.wdfi.org/apps/CorpSearch/Details.aspx&filter=0

 

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