What are local business listings?
Local business listings are an online profile of your business that includes information like name, address, and phone number (NAP) information. Some also contain other pertinent details like website address, logo, hours of operation and so on. The companies that display the NAP information are collectively known as directories, with some examples being Manta, Yelp, Google My Business, and Foursquare. There are dozens of these directories in the United States. Google and other search engines cross-reference NAP information across a variety of websites as a validation that you are a legitimate business, greatly impacting search engine optimization (SEO).
How important are my local business listings?
In the Internet marketing scheme of things, your website is the most important tool you have. It matters little if your search ranking is high only to have an inferior website drive off the visitor. Your business listings are right behind your website in importance. Google reports that 20% of searches are with local intent. When considering mobile searches, that number doubles to 40%. Your business listing should make it as simple as possible for the person to get the information they need to do business with you. That means always having the right NAP info, choosing the right categories for your business, and taking advantage of all available functionality in the business listing. If your business listing information is incorrect, you are losing customers that should be yours.
How does my business information get out on the Internet?
There are a handful of companies, called aggregators, which provide NAP information to the local search ecosystem. The top providers are Infogroup, Acxiom, Localeze, and Factual. Aggregators get this data from a variety of sources such as phone records, utility records, business registration websites, and printed directories. The found data is entered into the proprietary database of the aggregator, then provided to the directories on a regular basis. If aggregators have incorrect NAP information for your small business, it is likely wrong across the web.
How reliable is the information about my business?
That, in a nutshell, is the problem. Employees at the aggregators search for and enter the information, so there is a chance of human error. Millions of pieces of data are contained in each of the databases that get reported on a routine basis, which is just another opportunity for a technical hiccup and more mistakes. Computer code tries the best it can to reconcile the massive amount of records with sometimes conflicting information, but it can only do so much. The fact is, it is very likely that your business has missing, duplicated, or inconsistent information in your business listings unless you are actively managing your profile.
Thank you for the information, now what?
You have a decision to make. Small Biz Media has to assume you are not comfortable having inconsistent, missing, or unreliable data out there about your business with so much on the line.
If you want to do something about it, and you want professional, ongoing support for this critical marketing function, contact Small Biz Media right away. We will make sure that your complete business listings are visible to customers no matter where they are or what device they are using.