What Is a Listing and Why Do I Need One?
What is a business listing?
Remember the Yellow Pages? Well for those of us that don’t, it was the first real business listing that was widely used. The Yellow Pages was a phone book with ads and a list of phone numbers and addresses that people used to find businesses. The ads would provide information such as hours of operation and details about the business, as well contact information and location address. Since the Yellow Pages was only published once a year, business owners would not be able to make changes to their listing until the next year. They stopped publishing the Yellow Pages years ago because people were turning to the internet to find businesses. Just try and find a Yellow Pages book now!
The number of business listings on the internet has grown to the point where there are general listings and industry specific ones. You can use a general search with google that will build a list of businesses matching your criteria. The list is often made up of information from specific listings such as Yelp, Tripadivisor and RateMD.
Searching using the criteria you provide will produce the most likely candidates for your criteria, focusing on the top matches. The matches will provide information about their business and if you’re specific enough it will find the exact business you are looking for. You can even use simple things to narrow your search, such as “near me”, city name or even neighbourhood.
If we were to a search for “chiropractors near me” we would get a list like the one shown here.
Being a member of a listing requires some work, more than the old yellow pages, but it is becoming vitally important in a competitive market.
What’s usually in a business listing?
So now that we know what a listing is and how important it is, let’s see what we need in our listing. Your listing needs to answer the questions your customers are asking when they are looking for you.
- Where is business located?
- How do I contact them?
- When are they open for business?
- What was the experience others have had with the business?
- What are their social media links?
- How do I get to their website?
To answer these questions, we need to ensure as much information is available in the listing have the proper information and that it’s accurate and up to date. So, to answer the above questions we need the listing the following:
- Physical Address
- Contact Information
- Hours of Operation
- Social Media links
The most important pieces of information are the physical address, contact information and hours of operation but having, photos, links to your website and social media are very helpful for potential customers. Reviews will be collected by the listing and they will add value to your listing.
Why are listings important?
The value of creating a listing has grown greatly over the years to the point where “90% of consumers used the internet to find a local business in the last year, with 33% looking every day” – BrightLocal.
That statistic alone shows how important accurate listings are to your business. If 90% of consumers are using the internet to find you and you aren’t there or your information is incorrect, just think how much business you may be losing!
Your listing is very important because it increases your presence on the internet and allows people to find you.
Let’s go through the importance of your listing and the key items that help your customers find you.
1. Accurate and Up-to-Date contact Information
Consider this: “It’s estimated that $10.3 billion worth of sales are lost every year because of wrong, missing, or incomplete local listing information.” – Bright Local
The importance of a listing is easy to understand especially when you think of the times you’ve looked up a business and the information is incorrect.
You look up a local business for their business hours and see you can still make the store before it closes, excellent! You head down to the store and then discover it’s closed and the hours on the site are incorrect, not so excellent.
Are you going to go there again? Will you trust their information online?
Probably not according to these survey results:
“80% of consumers lose trust in local businesses if they see incorrect or inconsistent information” – Bright Local
“68% of people even said they would stop using a local business altogether if they found incorrect information online.” – Bright Local
“41% would abandon their search for the business or turn to an alternative if they couldn’t find the location of a local business because the information was incorrect.” – BrightLocal
You don’t want your business to be included in these statistics with incorrect information.
Customers view the internet as the source that should provide them the correct information they need and rely on businesses to keep their information to date. Adding correct holiday hours to your listing is a simple thing that can bring more business in or turn people away.
In the chart above you can see how important each piece of information you have in a listing if it’s incorrect.
Updating your listing information should be the first thing you do after you make a decision that will affect your listing. Keep customers informed and your business will grow.
Difficult times can have a big effect on how important our listings can be. Today with Covid-19 affecting our businesses it more important than ever to keep customers up to date. People still need to shop but they often don’t know how, when and where they can get what they need.
Do you offer curbside pickup? Have your hours changed? Have you moved? Are you a take-out only restaurant now?
We can’t assume our customers know what’s happening just through the news or what people are saying. You are the source of information for your business so keep customers up to date.
2. Search Ranking
Your listing will directly affect your search ranking when customers are looking for a business. You want to be in the top 3 if possible and no worse that 5-10 in the search results to be considered by potential customers.
Make it easy to find you!
Consider that “Listings are responsible for 45% of how local search sites determine their local search rankings.” – BrighhtLocal.
Google and other search sites rely on the accuracy of information in listings and it has become so important to rankings that local listing data is the most important factor in their rankings.
The need for accurate information becomes more important when you consider the perception of customers and the weighting in a search. Leaving incorrect information can hurt your business in many ways without you evening knowing it.
Now that you know how important the accuracy of information is to your listing, what can you add to your listing that will make you stand out from your competitors?
You could simply put your contact information and hours of operation on the listing but will that get you noticed?
The more information you provide the customer, the better chance they will understand you’re the one they need to buy from. After all, people searching for your business may not know anything about you, and every small bit of information helps them to become more comfortable with giving you a call or visiting your location.
In fact, simply adding photos can boost the search results and attraction to your business.
“Businesses with this additional visual content receive a whopping 416% more interaction. Optimizing your listing with as much helpful information as you can possibly think of is crucial.” – BrightLocal
Remember, more is always better when it comes to search rankings. Every bit of information you can provide will give a better picture of your business as long as it’s accurate and up to date.
3. Advantage of listing management software
We’ve covered a lot of ground on listings, but we haven’t looked at how much work there is to managing listings and the best way to keep them up to date. Let’s take a look at that now.
Managing and keeping your listing information accurate and up to date can be a time intensive process and require an extreme amount of time. Even if you are just starting out, you must be prepared to put in hours of work to setup your listings and keep them current. You want to have your listing in multiple locations and every time you make a change to one, all locations need to be updated.
What happens when you make a mistake trying to update all of your listing locations? Was only one wrong? Do you need to go back and fix them all? This will become a lot of work.
What’s the alternative?
There are ways to automate your listing management that allow you to update the information once and all your listing locations are updated, sound better? Reducing the work required and getting all the benefits of accurate listing information is what you need.
We know you still have a business to run so, don’t make updating your listings a full-time job. Get listing management so you can edit once and update all your listings at the same time.
To find out how you can take advantage of the Listing Builder tool, book a FREE Discovery Call and we can discuss your needs further.