3 Reasons Business Listing Accuracy is SO Important

BY: ON THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 01, 2018

Most brick-and-mortar businesses with any marketing savvy at all already know this one fact:

If you’re local, people might be actively looking for what you offer in your area via the internet. If you’re not listed online, you’ll be missing out on all of those potential walk-in sales.

These days, online listings are required for any type of business.

Of course, along with having listings in all the top spots, one major factor that will determine the success and ranking of your listings on the biggest search engine, Google, is accuracy.

What Is Business Listing Accuracy All About?

If you have heard of business listing accuracy, understand its importance, but still don’t really know what it means, you’re not alone.

To help clarify things, think about an average local search listing on Google. It contains all the information that used to be in phone book listings:

  • The business’s name
  • Their physical address
  • Their phone number

This trifecta is known as NAP (name, address, phone number). These are the primary details for any type of business.

Recently, these listings have expanded to include stuff like:

  • The business’s website address
  • Their hours of operation
  • Photos of the exterior and interior
  • Customer reviews
  • Whether or not they’re open at the moment

Here’s the important part: Google doesn’t look at just one source of information to populate your listing with information (not even the details you manually enter into Google My Business). Instead, they cross-reference multiple sources to determine they have the most accurate, up-to-date data on your company.

To start, Google looks at information sources from big-data providers:

  • Localeze
  • Infogroup
  • Acxiom
  • Factual

In turn, these sources gather data from additional, secondary sources. You’ve probably heard of most of these:

  • Bing
  • Yelp
  • Apple/Siri
  • ChamberofCommerce.com
  • Yellowpages.com
  • Yellowbook.com
  • Ask
  • Google Maps
  • Whitepages.com
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • FourSquare
  • Amazon
  • Groupon
  • And more!

To put it simply, your business listing accuracy is all about whether your information (the primary NAP, plus additional details) matches up across all of these varied sources or not.

So, why is this so important? Why do you need matching listings everywhere?

Why Is Business Listing Accuracy Important? 3 Huge Reasons

The major reasons your business listing must be accurate everywhere it appears fall under three categories: Trust, local search rankings, and Google’s reputation.

1. The Trust Factor

You need your information to be the same across as many sources as possible to give Google the confidence to create the most trustworthy, accurate, reliable listing possible for its users.

If your information varies across different sources, Google won’t know which is the most accurate. That means the search engine will lose confidence in the information they can provide in your listing. And, if Google can’t be sure that the information they display to users is the right information, Google won’t want to display it at all.

After all, the alternative is listing the wrong information and leading one of their users astray. That’s the worst possible scenario.

Bottom line: If Google can’t trust your information, they won’t pass that uncertainty on to their users. That means less visibility for you online.

2. The Local Search Ranking Factor

Let’s put it in these terms:

Imagine you’re out and about in an unfamiliar city. You want to find a coffee shop where you can grab your morning brew, but since you don’t know the area, you need some help.

You whip out your phone and do a quick Google search for “best coffee shops near me.” You choose a result that looks promising, that’s marked as “open,” and head over.

But, lo and behold, when you reach the promised land, you find that Google was wrong – the shop is closed.

This is exactly what Google wants to avoid. If the information they provide is continually incorrect, people will stop using and trusting Google listings.

That means, if your information as a business listing is inaccurate or inconsistent across multiple sources, the search engine will demote you in local search rankings to avoid giving users the wrong information.

3. The Consistency Factor

Sometimes, even giving Google the right details on Google My Business about, say, your store hours isn’t enough. If what you provide doesn’t match up with what other sources are telling Google, the search engine still may not fall back on your input.

For example, if you say your hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., but every other listing source says you’re open until 5 p.m., Google may display that information, instead.

That means people looking for your business will get incorrect information, and you may lose a lot of foot traffic and sales as a result.

To make sure Google gets the correct information, you need all the available sources on your business information to match up. Without that consistency, your listing is doomed.

How to Fix Your Business Listing Accuracy

So, now that you know about business listing accuracy and why it’s important, you also should know that if you have inconsistent listings and information out there, you need to fix them.

But how?

Turns out, it’s relatively straightforward:

  • Think of all the trusted directories you know of that might contain your business listing and NAP.
  • Go directly to the source and update the information.
  • Make sure each listing matches exactly. For instance, if some of your listings say your business name is “The Best Coffee Shop Ever” and some say it’s “Best Coffee Shop Ever,” you need to choose one version and stick to it. Even small inconsistencies will hurt you, so pay attention to the details.

Luckily, there’s a silver lining to this whole scenario. With every step you take to make your business information match across sources, that’s another step up in Google’s eyes.

This is one way to improve your visibility in local search, so stay on top of it for boosted traffic, sales, and success.

Sign up for a ChamberofCommerce.com business listing and get a free online visibility report. This report shows you where you’re listed online, how complete and accurate your business information is and what reviews people are leaving about your business across the web.

About the Author

Austin Andrukaitis

Austin Andrukaitis is the CEO of ChamberofCommerce.com. He's an experienced digital marketing strategist with more than 15 years of experience in creating successful online campaigns. Austin’s approach to developing, optimizing, and delivering web based technologies has help businesses achieve higher profit, enhance productivity, and position organizations for accelerated sustained growth.

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