Business listing sites are consolidating their information, which may have a significant impact on search rankings in the near future.

Google, Bing and other search engines are determined to provide users with as much information as possible, even before they’ve left SERPs. But the data has to come from somewhere, and sometimes, crawlers have to look all over the web for the right information. That’s why some companies are forming strategic partnerships to create rich search results for better user experience.

For example, Brafton reported on Yelp and Yahoo’s relationship, in which the business review site will provide the search engine with company information, reviews and maps. With this data freely given, rather than scraped from unwitting sites, Yahoo may be able to avoid some of the criticisms Google recently faced. Digital marketer Dan Barker made a name for himself earlier this year when he tweeted at Matt Cutts to point out Google was siphoning information from other pages for its info cards, contrary to the advice Cutts has given.

The richer the data, the better the search

This may be one of the motivating factors behind the Yelp and partnership. According to Yahoo (another link in the chain of potential semantic search allies), the two local business aggregators will begin sharing more information and enriching each other’s profiles with a mutual listing exchange.

What does this mean for content marketing? First, any company, local or otherwise, should register on as many sites like this as possible to improve its chances at ranking. Google+ Places is clearly the most important, as indicated by Brafton’s report on search market share. However, it’s also smart to optimize Yelp and listings to make sure no searchers are falling through the cracks.

Additionally, even Google doesn’t know what data it will use to build its search algorithms in the future. A partnership between Yelp and could bear enormous informational fruit, and despite the relationship between Yelp and Yahoo, the resulting data might be something Google doesn’t need to account for going forward.

The bottom line is: It never hurts to make businesses as visible as possible to search engines – all search engines. The semantic web is being assembled with clearly defined brands and online entities in mind, so the more corroborating evidence for a company’s identity there is around the internet, the better.

Alex Butzbach is a Marketing Writer at Brafton. He studied Communications at Boston College, and after a brief stint teaching English in Japan, he entered the world of content marketing. When he isn't writing and researching, he can be found on a bike somewhere in Metro Boston.