For most small businesses, getting local customers to notice your company is imperative. Creating multiple business listings on online directories is very helpful for this goal. Google and other search engines use these multiple business listings within their ranking algorithms to determine search engine results. While these listings often do not include backlinks, the information they provide must be consistent. If it is consistent, search engines confer a certain amount of legitimacy or trust on that website.
Lost Opportunities and Trust
Unfortunately, business owners often overlook or fail to properly maintain such listings. An online business address that is no longer valid or a phone number that has changed is not only bad for attracting customers, it’s detrimental to online marketing efforts. When search engines find inconsistent company information, they rank these companies lower in local search results.
Local businesses without an updated website or online presence are less likely to rank well in local search results than those that do.
Company information that must be compiled from a variety of disparate sources is also unlikely to help local search results. Essentially, search engines themselves want to be viewed as trustworthy in terms of the information they provide. Consequently, they’re much more willing to promote local businesses that are rated on review sites and/or listed on reputable directories/association pages.
Search Engine Criteria
Search engine indexing for inclusion in a local business listing requires several basic criteria. Along with a business name (or DBA), a business must also include a local phone number and a physical street address. It must also serve as a face-to-face business. By definition, this excludes all virtual businesses. Search engines also disregard any company information that includes an 800 number or post office box.
In local online marketing parlance, NAP stands for name, address, and phone number. Search engines review whether a company’s NAP is consistent as listed online. Listings with typos or punctuation errors diminish the trust required by search engines for online promotion.
To help customers understand what a company is or does better, search engines typically provide several categories for identifying industry information. Search engines rely on this information to determine where to place listings. As a result, marketers who neglect these categories may actually put their listings at risk.
Local businesses should include as much information as possible in their business listings. Aside from store hours, a business description, and a business website URL, a business listing should also include produce/service images, social media accounts, and a local map location where applicable.
As customers assume online business information is current, maintaining a business listing remains critically important. While it’s tempting to update only the largest online directories, the penalty of inconsistency can be detrimental to search engine rankings. One way to ensure that ALL listings remain up to date is to automate their maintenance. Doing so not only ensures greater consistency but is obviously much faster and more convenient as well.
Corporate Conversions has worked with many companies who have inconsistent or nonexistent local listings. We have a proven track record with local listing improvement. We can run a local directory listing audit for your website information. If your website does not score above average, we can give you recommendations or help you find the best solution for your local listing needs. Call us today for help improving the trust customers and search engines give your business.