6 Reasons Your Local Business Listings Need to Be Accurate
As a business owner, how probable is it that potential customers will come through your door?
The entire point of an online presence is to attract new customers into your store, your leasing office, your restaurant or your showroom so you can convert them to paying customers as opposed to just browsers online.
Further, nothing is more annoying as a customer than discovering that you have been given the wrong information about where a business is located. As a customer, how likely are you to give this company your business? Not very. Actually, according to Placeable, 73% of customers said that they lose trust in a company when the online listing shows inaccurate information.
1. Missing hours of operation info can be a dealbreaker
There are many things that consumers look for in listings, whether they are looking at that search engine on a computer or on a smartphone. The top piece of information that most people look for is the hours of operation because their search is probably for a business that they visit quite often.
In fact, in a study conducted by local data aggregator Localeze, hours of operation were noted as the most useful element in picking a business during local search. 76% of participants report that they expect this information when searching and 61% believe that it is a feature that helps them to select a business.
Even if people are new to a business, it doesn't give people a good impression if business hours are not listed and they do not know that it's just open from 11 a.m-6 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. Think of that potential customer who is ready to spend their money in-store, but comes on Monday at 7 p.m. only to see it closed. That customer is likely going to do another search on a mobile phone to find a different store and spend their money there.
2. You can't spell NAP data (and score a citation) without an A( ddress)
While most people would think that the main reason consumers do a search online is for the address or location of a business, the address is actually behind hours of operation as the second most desired information. But, obviously, the entire point of being in business is to earn money doing what you enjoy or selling what you love. And that occurs by drawing in foot traffic and increasing customer base.
It bears repeating that if a business address is inaccurate on listing websites such as Google or Bing, then consumers will not be crossing the threshold. A basic thing such as the wrong number on a street address, or even the wrong town, can mean that a customer can not find you. The US Postal Service relies on a complex system of checks to confirm and standardize addresses, and many of the search engines will default to the USPS for proper mailing addresses.
What this means for the average new business owner is that unless a business is in an established spot, getting the proper address on their listing indicates that both the address from City Hall and the information on USPS must correspond. If USPS does not identify that address, then a business owner has to contact them to verify their new address and get that info updated on USPS's online database.
3. Local searchers are going mobile
According to Localeze, mobile-phone-based searches drive in-store purchases with more than 75% of searches concluding in a purchase-- if a business has their listing information correct. Now if half of individuals searching for a business listing on a local search engine, such as Google Local/Maps, can not locate the store's business listing details, then the business is going to lose 100% of their business.
For ease of use for potential customers, some of those details need to be as readily available as possible in a mobile-friendly way. This can be achieved with a responsive website that supports mobile phone and tablet-specific versions.
4. Updated, proper websites still act as a first impression
At the same time, more than 60% of searches on PC platforms such as website portals, Internet Yellow Page directories, and local websites have a similar chance of ending in a purchase. While mobile searches are becoming more of a standard in where a consumer searches, a business owner should not discount the power of a fulsome, consistent and accurate listing that is reflective of the business website.
Any listing should be linked to the business's website and feature the exact same information, but even more of it. While a site should be enough to attract a customer to check out or buy, if those inconsistencies exist, then trust concerns may arise in a business's practices before a consumer ever crosses their threshold.
5. Local searchers mix it up across multiple devices, platforms, situations and times
Consumers that look for listings are doing it in a lot more methods than when the Internet first came into existence around two decades ago. In that time, we went from working on desktops to laptops to PDAs to Blackberries to Apples to tablets-- and in each version, the methods of search have changed.
However, that has slowed over the last five years or so as web designers realize that they need to be smarter. Instead of creating three different sites for three different platforms, they have designed websites that are scalable to the search device. And that has been helped along by the proliferation of kinds of devices in use on a daily basis.
According to Pew Research Center, In 2015, smartphone ownership in America was at 68%, with tablet and computer ownership at 45%. Statista says that almost half of American adults use their smartphones the most to search for local info online, the other half being split between computers (40%) and tablets (11%). According to Localeze, like the types of devices used, what we are looking for differs by the time of day and device. Entertainment is looked for during work hours on computers, restaurants during the evening using phones, and health/fitness in the evening using phones/tablets.
The most vital part of those mobile searches is accuracy. If someone can not locate your business in a local search or find incorrect results whilst out and about, then your business has lost the chance for that browser to become a customer. So having those listings correct in all of the device layouts is a necessity as we, and our technology, continue to evolve in the way we interact with local businesses.
6. Local search results are still the trusted providers of information
Last but definitely not least is the reality that local search results are considered the most trustworthy. In a study by Neustar, it was found that these searches, like "used games Raleigh", are what consumers do the most because they place that trust in local business more than big box, big website stores.
Think about it, would you rather find a local store where you can have that latest purse in town immediately? Or you can wait a week for delivery, which is four days past the event that you want it for! Local searches lend themselves to instant gratification and that interaction between browser and salesperson will transform that browser from someone who might get just the minimum to a loyal customer who feels like a million having spent a little more, but getting what they consider to be gold!
Those interactions are what lead people to local searches and the absolute necessity of getting your online listings correct. Trust results in loyalty, which creates more business and potential customers, which creates satisfied customers and business owners.
And everything begins with that correct listing in that customer's local search.