Incorrect local listings can have a terrible trickle down effect on your businesses’ health. Like with traditional SEO rules, the same apply for your local SEO: make sure the information about yourself is always correct to ensure customers know exactly how to find or contact you. Whereas most marketers have a solid understanding of how to attract people organically to their website, attracting store visitors through local map searches is still misunderstood. The thing we hear the most is that people assume that their business is accurately represented by default. In this blog post, we will tackle this assumption and show how incorrect local listings can mean loss of serious money. We also show you ways to fix this and explain why location data management is making your life easier.
What are local listings, and where do my local listings appear?
Essentially, local listings are online references of your business. They can appear in numerous of sites, directories, apps or navigation systems. They basically replaced the yellow pages from the past where your latest business information was presented to people who search for your business’ information like Name, Address, Phone number.
This information is consumed by search engines which crawl these local listings to display correct business information to searchers when they type in your business name in Google, Bing, Yahoo; any of the digital maps applications where your business can appear, such as: Google Maps, Apple Maps, Foursquare, Waze, Bing Maps, Navmii, HERE, TomTom; or directory sites such as Tripadvisor, Facebook, Angie’s List, YP and more, check this website for of these: https://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/10322/the-ultimate-list-50-local-business-directories.aspx#sm.0000d9wybicpldgbw2920ob75a4yi
Having your NAP information published somewhere is not a 100% guarantee that it will appear correct when a searcher searches for your business as search engines use multiple unverified sources to present your data.
Do you need be on top of every website your business name is mentioned?
No. According to Moz, local listings play an important role in influencing the ranking factor of your website’s rank. However, there is wide availability of local listings websites and they do very in their level of authority – small directory sites have a lower authority then larger local listings pages like Google and Apple.
Why does my data need to be 100% consistent?
Google said that almost half of their total search volume have search queries with a local intent, which gives a good overall picture of the importance of have your brand visibility for local and maps searches.
When people are searching for Hotel in Amsterdam on for example a local listing service like Foursquare, they will get a big list of hotels in Amsterdam. Probably sorted by range and ratings. It goes without saying that your business information needs to correct in order for your customers to know where to find you. Often this is not the case by default, as Foursquare pulls data from other sources where your business information listings might have included incorrect information as well. As a business owner you can claim each of your hotel’s location manually and correct the data.
What happens if my local listings are not verified?
Let’s say someone uses Google and types in: “Hotel Amsterdam”, which is more probable as more people use search engines directly to find businesses then using apps like Foursquare for example. Google is designed to detect consistency and places a ranking value according to that consistency. If, for example your Amsterdam-Centre based location was written as Prinsengracht 101-a and on other local listings as Prinsengracht 101, then Google detects an inconsistency which influences your local SEO ranking.
On another note, in terms of branding it is important that your business information is correct everywhere your customer searches for your business. In “Winning with Micro-Moments” Google indicated that 1/3 of customers that were searching for a brand, went to another brand when the business information shown was incorrect. Another statistic tells us that, in terms of brand loyalty, 67% of responders said that they would mistrust a business when business information was incorrect.
What’s the most important information that should be correct everywhere?
What’s vital for your customers and search engines alike are your locations’ NAP or Name, Address and Phone number. Additionally, think about what your customer might be interested in get more engaged with your business like URL to your website, brand images, videos and off course opening times! Many people trust search engines to provide them with correct opening times prior to visiting a business.
How to fix your local listings with location management
So let’s say you own 100 locations in your country, with each managed individually by your regional manager. You could
ask every manager to check their own business listings on all the different existing local listings and correct if needed. This way, hopefully all your brand’s listings will be verified and probably the business information. That is, if the process was done correct. Best places to start checking your listings are probably Google, Foursquare and Apple. These are popular map applications that are commonly used for hotel destination search.
To be sure that your location information is up-to-date and correct, its best practice to owner verify your listings. A big problem within the location marketing industry is that still a great part of location data is incorrect. Companies overtime have been carless with the information they provide and this is potentially driving new customers away, to the competitor. This is costing your business footfall and eventually profit.
According to the Local Search Association(LSA) in the US, 37 percent of businesses have at least one incorrect or missing name on their listings. 43 percent have at least one incorrect or missing address. And 18 percent are missing their phone numbers. The estimated cost of wrong local data? A staggering $10.3 billion in potential annual sales.
That’s a gigantic number that could have been prevented using when your listings information would have been correct.
What’s even more horrific, a number as a high as 37% of consumers has indicated not to consider a business with inconsistent information. Additionally, 32 percent will not consider buying from a business with wrong contact information listed online.
Some common issues that we encounter which should be avoided:
- Having multiple or varying phone numbers for a specific business location.
- Not updating your information when a business location has closed or moved.
- Accidentally creating duplicate local listings caused by business name changes and acquisitions.
- Having NAP variations that can eventually cause issues.
Location Management to the rescue
The best way to go about this, is to do a discovery search on your brand on Google and check where your business name pops up. Then go to each website, subscribe yourself to receive a login and correct information where needed.
You will be able to do this for most directories, however with most digital maps this works differently. To correct your listings in car navigation or phone applications by leading map publishers such as Apple, TomTom and HERE however, requires a different approach. In some instances, business owners are not able to update their business information their selves or they have to undergo a tiring customer support program after which they have to wait until the update cycles takes place again. Therefore, Navads assist businesses by offering a full-service program to automatically send updates to all the mapmakers; to ensure whenever people search for your business they are presented with the most accurate information about you.