76% of people who conduct a local mobile search visit a business within 24 hours. Every day, consumers are searching for local businesses to make purchases online and in-store. Local business listings are a vital source of information that connects consumers to your business. The last thing you want is for a consumer to find inaccurate information about your business online. If you want to be found online by purchase-ready consumers, it’s imperative that your business listings are accurate, up-to-date, and optimized with the latest business information.
1 – Keep Your Information Up-To-Date
The search for a business, product, or service typically starts online. 86% of consumers reportedly have used a search engine to find local business information. This is where having a complete and up-to-date listing comes in handy since they are often the first point of contact a consumer will have with your brand. Local business listings provide consumers with important information like your product and service offerings, hours of operation, and more. Each listing should contain your business name, address, phone number, website, categories, hours, and business description. This is also known as NAPWCHD, our acronym for a complete and up to date listing.
Although core elements of your business information may stay the same (such as your location), it’s important to routinely refresh your business listings so that you can be confident consumers are always getting accurate information about your business. Due to suggested edits, reviews, photos, and other user-generated content (UGC) from consumers, the average local business listing experiences changes every 5-6 days.
Remember to include links or CTA buttons for any reservations, delivery, and appointment booking services available. This will make it easier for customers to take action by being able to book online directly through a business listing.
With the holiday season and COVID-19 in play, your business listing could be out of date. An estimated $10.3 billion worth of sales are lost every year due to wrong, missing, or inaccurate information. Keeping your listings optimized will remain vital in maintaining revenue streams, brand credibility, and consumer awareness for 2021.
2 – Remove Duplicate Listings
Duplicate listings are multiple business listings for the same location on a directory like Facebook or Google My Business. The number of duplicate listings from the average large enterprise brand ranges from 3,500 duplicate listings to over 100,000 duplicate listings. Local business listings get duplicated due to a variety of reasons. Oftentimes directories like Google or Facebook will already have a listing created by a consumer for a business that hasn’t been claimed or identified by the business owner. This can cause the business owner to create a second business listing in that same directory because they haven’t realized a listing already exists. Duplicate listings can also arise due to spam or data changes.
Regardless of the scenario, duplicate listings are costly for businesses and can lead to a loss in online traffic or revenue. Aside from creating confusion among consumers and search engines alike, they can impact your rankings too. Inaccurate data across multiple duplicate listings can decrease your ranking efforts because they’re seen as untrustworthy. If enough consumers report your duplicate listings as a violation, your business may face penalties or even worse, removal of your listings.
If you’re a client, our listings management services ensure that all of your local listings are protected from duplicates, inaccuracies, or bad data.
3 – Think Quality over Quantity when it comes to Citations
The secret to success when it comes to business listings is to focus on quality over quantity. You may be wondering “well wouldn’t I want my business to be visible in as many places possible online?” Although that’s a valid statement, it’s more important for your business to exist where you will be seen and heard by potential customers. Instead of wasting valuable time making sure your business exists on smaller websites, focus on expanding your presence on high-quality, tier 1 directories.
Consumers are regularly visiting and interacting with tier 1 directories such as Google, Facebook, Yelp, Bing, and Apple Maps. These tier 1 directories hold a lot more weight because they receive far more views than insignificant directories. As a result, the search algorithm from large search engines pay more attention to these tier 1 directories.
4 – Add High-Quality Photos
Businesses with photos receive more requests for driving directions and more click-throughs to their website. Photos are an essential must-have for an optimized presence. High-quality images that are regularly added to your business listings will help you stay ahead of the competition and stand out to consumers.
When adding images to your listings, think of what visualizations will attract consumers to your business. Images of your products, events, the inside of your building, and surrounding areas should be standard within every business listing. In addition, they’ll want to see how your business is handling COVID-19. Showcase images that highlight policies around social distancing, safety protocols, sanitary procedures, and any other important COVID-19 related information.
Another added benefit of consistently adding your own photos is that it can drown out any user-generated content submitted by customers. Customer photos can be great because it gives viewers a secondhand observation of your business, however they can sometimes be unflattering or completely unrelated to your business. Even if you can’t always delete these photos on directories like Google My Business, you can report them to be removed to avoid any negative outcomes.
5 – Utilize Google My Business Features
As previously mentioned, businesses need to focus on tier 1 directories. With that being said, Google My Business is single handedly the most important tool any business owner can have under their belt. Whitespark’s recent survey of the 2020 Local Search Ranking Factors revealed that Google My Business signals carry 33% of the weight as the most influential ranking factor on Google search.
Over the last few years and especially since the onset of COVID-19, Google has invested heavily into expanding features available in GMB. These features are largely beneficial in helping businesses engage with customers, highlight specific areas of their business, and increase brand awareness. GMB attributes is an important feature that helps listings show up in local searches for specific services and features your business offers. There are many newer GMB attributes such as “Virtual Care”, “Online Care”, “Curbside Pickup”, and more that your business can choose to share specific information.
Google Posts makes it easy to share actionable content to boost engagement with consumers. The different types of Google Posts include:
COVID-19 Update – This post type can be used to share any business changes or information related to COVID-19. This type of post is a great way to remind consumers about any special COVID-19 policies in place.
Add Offer – Share any special promotions going on and include a CTA. You can include a description of your promotion, coupon codes or rates, with start and end dates and times.
Add Update – This post type can be used to discuss business information, highlight product & service offerings, and any other company news.
Add Event – You can highlight any special events taking place at your business with GMB’s Event posts. Event posts come with descriptions, date ranges, and times of day.
Add Product – You can leverage product photos to highlight any specific products your business sells. These also include a CTA button where you can direct consumers to book, order online, buy, sign up, and more.
Are you active on Google Q&A? Google Q&A is a feature on GMB Profiles in which anyone can ask and answer questions. While Google Q&A is a great way for consumers to find answers to their questions, many times these answers can be wrong. Since Google users can answer questions on your brand’s behalf, this can become a threat to brand consistency if the answers are incorrect. Actively monitoring your Google Q&A will ensure that you have brand-verified answers, as well as provide an opportunity to ask and answer your own questions.
Listing Management Success in 2021
Managing your listings is a necessary aspect of growing your online presence and reaching consumers. Every up-to-date and optimized business listing sets an important foundation for potential customers to find accurate information about you. Once your listing management strategy is set in place, make sure to have a continuous routine of monitoring your listings, responding to reviews daily, and regularly updating and fact-checking your information. Listing management is not a one and done job, it requires consistent maintenance for a seamless online presence.
With Business Evaluation Services, you can ensure that each of your business listings are completely up-to-date and monitored. Want to get the complete picture of your local listing accuracy? Find out with an instant brand audit for free.