These days, about 87% of shoppers start their purchasing journey online.
This represents a huge opportunity for you, as a retailer, to guide curious shoppers toward your brick and mortar store by listing your business online on directories like Google My Business, Internet Yellow Pages, and Yelp.
When done right, these listings can be a great source of brand awareness and foot traffic. On the other hand, inaccurate information can result in reduced trust on Google’s search engine, as well as frustration for the shoppers who use it.
2 Reasons Your Online Listings Need to be Accurate
1. You Need to Establish Trust on Google
Google takes inaccurate information very seriously. Why? If the search engine’s users are repeatedly sent to businesses that don’t exist, or if they use NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number) information they find on Google to call up a business and the contact information is incorrect, there’s a good chance that user is going to stop using Google.
“Listing accuracy is Google’s method for determining whether or not it can trust a local business search result,” says Moz. If you’ve set up your Google My Business with your business name, store hours, interior and exterior images, and it’s still not showing up where you thought it would in the search results, it’s probably because your listing accuracy is off somewhere.
For example, Moz points out that in one variation on a business directory, your address might be slightly different, mentioning a suite number. Or maybe in another directory, an old cell phone number somehow got indexed. These variations might exist in a place that you don’t even know about, or on an obscure website that you don’t ever see.
Here’s why you should worry about it…
Each time one of these directories mentions your business information—assuming they’re correct—it increases the confidence that Google has in the information that you provided. The more times they mention you, the greater the confidence Google has in your information. But if there are other variations floating around the Internet, Google’s now got some other sources conflicting with your business information.
In fact, if there are enough sources saying something contradictory to what you’re saying in your own Google My Business page, these inaccurate listings can actually override the correct information causing Google to consider them as more trustworthy than the information you’ve directly provided them.
The fix? You’ll need to do a little research to find these variations, using Google search, quoted searches, and/or using tools like NAP Hunter Chrome Extension to correct the variations and start reestablishing trust (for more information, check out this Moz post).
Remember, too, that listing maintenance is not a one-time thing. Over time your NAP information can become corrupted because directories not only get their information from a primary data provider, but they also get their information from each other. That means you’ll need to check for variations from time to time to ensure that your business information is being presented accurately.
2. You need to Establish Trust With Your Customers
BrightLocal recently polled over 1,000 US consumers on their perception of inaccurate business listings. Some of the results might surprise you. Check them out:
- 93% of consumers are frustrated by incorrect information in online directories.
- 68% of consumers indicate that they would stop using a local business if they found incorrect information in online directories.
- 80% of consumers lose trust in local businesses when they see incorrect or inconsistent contact details or business names online.
- 71% of consumers in the last 12 months have had a negative experience because of incorrect local business information found online.
- 30% of consumers say they would go to a competitor if they couldn’t locate a business because of incorrect information found online.
- 22% of consumers in the last year, visited the wrong location for a business because the address was incorrect online.
- 40% of consumers would give up looking for a local business that they couldn’t find because the address was wrong online.
- 24% of consumers who’ve seen a local business listing online will call the business before going to visit it.
- Consumers are more likely to blame the local business than the directory for an inaccurate listing they find online.
According to Search Engine Land, “Brands that fail to ensure the accuracy of search engine location data run the risk of not only missing out on new customers, but jeopardizing their relationships with existing customers as well.”
“The more misinformation you give when a shopper is trying to find your products, the less likely you are to develop a relationship with that customer.”
As you can see from the information above, it’s absolutely vital that your business preserves customer trust by ensuring absolute accuracy in your online location information. “Anything less makes the business vulnerable to a constant, ongoing erosion of its brand,” says Search Engine Land.
Your online business listings must be reliable in order to establish trust with Google, but also with potential and existing customers. When accurate, these listings function as a vehicle for driving foot traffic to your retail store.
In fact, Search Engine Land points out that nearly 75% of customers are researching business locations prior to visiting a business for the first time.
That means you’ve got to prioritize and leverage your online business listings in order to convert prospects into customers. To do that, you’ll need to invest the time to verify that your information is being presented accurately.
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Also published on Medium.