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Are Your Business's Local Listings Accurate and Up-to-Date? Here Are the Consequences You Could Face If Not. Why accurate local listings are crucial for business success — and how to avoid the pitfalls of outdated information.

By Alex Quin Edited by Chelsea Brown

Key Takeaways

  • Inaccurate local listings can lead to loss of customers, revenue and trust. Accurate, up-to-date listings enhance visibility and credibility.
  • Ensure that your business details, such as hours and contact information, are consistent and accurate on all online platforms to avoid confusion and maintain customer trust.
  • Strategies to ensure your listings stay up-to-date and optimized include utilizing local listing management tools, conducting regular audits and appointing a team member to manage your listings.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Accurate local listings are more important than ever for businesses. But what are local listings anyway? Local listings are virtual storefronts that give customers a general overview of the business, such as when it is open and how they can reach the business.

And these listings are very vital for business success. According to Semrush, a whopping 87% of consumers research local businesses online. So almost everyone in your target audience will look your business up on search platforms like Google before visiting.

This article explores why it's crucial to keep these listings current, reveals the problems associated with having old information and explains how to keep your listing accurate so you can leave a good impression and attract customers.

Related: Boost Your Business's Visibility in Local Search Results by Combining These 2 Key Strategies

The consequences of inaccurate listings

Incorrect information on local listings can lead to significant drawbacks for businesses. Some of these include:

  • Loss of customers and revenue: According to Brightlocal, nearly seven out of ten consumers (68%) would stop using a local business if they discovered incorrect information in online directories. When consumers encounter irrelevant or incorrect details on your website, such as wrong operating hours or old addresses, they may likely check on other alternatives. This results in missed sales opportunities and diminishes customer retention.

  • Reputational damage: Inaccurate listings can destroy a customer's faith in your particular business. To illustrate better, someone might come to a shop that is supposed to be open only to find that it has been closed based on old data. This can lead to unfavorable reviews and damage the business's reputation.

  • Decreased online visibility: Search engines put a premium on the accuracy and relevancy of the businesses when listing them in search results. Incorrect listings will be a sign to search engines that the business is not reliable, in turn leading to lower search rankings and reduced online visibility.

Leveraging accurate listings for business growth

Ensuring your business's online listings are accurate and up-to-date is crucial for growth. You might be asking, "Why?" Well, an accurate listing of your business details on Google My Business, Yelp, Bing Places and other platforms increases the chances of people finding your business online. The end result is that your website will likely be in the top search results, which makes it easier for potential customers to find you.

Statistics show that 80% of consumers lose trust in local businesses when they encounter incorrect or inconsistent contact details or business names online. This just goes to show that precise listings lead to customers trusting your business. When they know they can rely on the info they find online, like your address and hours of operation, they will be more likely to choose you over your competitors.

And it's not just about trust —it's about bringing in more customers, too. When people can easily find the right info about your business online, they're more likely to visit your store or make a purchase. This means more foot traffic and sales, leading to real growth for your business.

Related: 5 Tips to Improve Your Local SEO in 5 Hours

Common pitfalls to avoid

Searching local listings can be a little complicated, especially because most businesses make avoidable mistakes. Here are some common slip-ups businesses make and why they're important to avoid:

  • Forgetting to update special hours: Holidays and events can result in different operating hours. Not informing customers about these special hours via online platforms can cause them to show up when you're closed or miss out on business during extended hours. You should always keep your special hours updated to avoid customer frustration and ensure that you are getting the most benefits during peak times.

  • Ignoring reviews: Reviews can have a big effect on your business's reputation and even determine a customer's decisions. Not responding to reviews — whether they're positive or negative — will make you seem disengaged or indifferent to customer feedback. Interacting with reviews shows customers that you appreciate their input and are dedicated to providing quality service, which in turn helps build trust and loyalty.

  • Inconsistencies across platforms: When your information is different from one platform to the next — different hours on Google and Yelp, for example — it can confuse customers and harm your credibility. Being consistent with your information across all platforms is the basis of building customer trust and ensuring they can get the correct details about your business.

Related: 4 Strategies to Help You Attract More Local Customers to Your Small Business

Best practices for maintaining accurate listings

Maintaining accurate local listings requires proactive management. Here are some effective strategies to ensure your listings stay up-to-date and optimized:

Utilize local listing management tools:

Think about the possibility of employing specialized platforms or services intended to simplify the process of managing local listings on various platforms. These tools can enable you to maintain consistency, keep an eye on performance and modify your data instantly.

Conduct regular audits:

Carry out routine audits of your listings on all platforms to find inconsistencies or obsolete information. This could be done monthly, quarterly or as needed, depending on the frequency of changes to your business information.

Designate responsibility:

You can appoint a team member to manage local listings. Having a dedicated individual or team responsible for this ensures accountability and allows for prompt updates and responses to customer inquiries or reviews.

Ensure NAP consistency

Verify and update vital business information such as the business name, address and phone number (NAP) on all the listings to avoid confusion among customers and maintain consistency.

Add fresh visual content

Engage your audience by updating your listings with new photos of your business, products or services. A combination of visuals not only makes your listings appealing but also offers viewers an idea of what they will get from your business.

Keeping your local listings accurate is super important for your business. It helps you attract new customers and build trust with existing ones. So, don't wait around — take a look at your listings now and make sure everything's up-to-date. By doing this, you'll avoid problems and make the most of the opportunities that accurate listings offer.

Alex Quin

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® Contributor

CMO and Founder

Alex Quin is a full stack marketing expert and global keynote speaker. He is the founder and Chief Marketing Officer of UADV MARKETING - with ties in the entertainment, fashion, and e-commerce industries.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

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