Local listings are the phone book of the 21st century. When today's consumers want to find a local business, they use a mobile device to browse their favorite online directory, such as Google, Yahoo, or Yelp.
Online directories have made it incredibly easy for consumers to find information about local businesses. With smartphones in hand, consumers are able to access these local listings on-the-go. Approximately half of all consumers that use their smartphones to perform a local search will visit that business within 24 hours.
While it's never been easier for consumers to find local businesses, companies are challenged with making sure their local listings are visible to their audience. It's critical that your business listings be accurate, complete, and consistent across all online directories. The more accurate search engines like Google determine your listings to be, the higher your local listings will rank in search results.
Here are the critical pieces of information that you need to be including in your local listings:
1. NAP Data
NAP refers to the name of your business, your address, and your phone number. Although this information seems straightforward to include in a business listing, research shows that 86 percent of businesses have a missing or incorrect company name in their local listings across the internet. Missing or inaccurate information will cause you to lose credibility with your audience and search engines.
2. Hours of Operation
When consumers are performing a local search, they have a high intent to make a purchase. If you don't include your hours of operation in your business listings, consumers will move down the list and find a competitor with business hours listed.
Your website is your brand's online identity and is one of your best assets. Many consumers want to get a feel for your business before making a purchase, and including your website in your online listings will give them a taste of what your business is all about. Having a website also helps to communicate to your audience that you are a credible business worth checking out.
4. Payment Methods
Give consumers the heads up about the various payment methods you accept before they visit your place of business. If you accept PayPal, Apple Pay, Android Pay, or other forms of electronic payment, displaying this in your online listings will help to differentiate you from the competition.
Including some of the brands that your business carries in your online listings will help to familiarize consumers with the type of business that you operate. Even if consumers know nothing about your business, they may be drawn to your business specifically because they see that you sell their favorite product line. Offering this information in your business listing also helps to position you as the "go to" place of business to find a particular brand.
Including photos of your business in your online listings is an effective way to captivate your audience. The human brain processes visual content 60,000 times faster than text. Pictures will give prospective customers a feel for what their experience at your place of business would be like. Not including photos may make some consumers question the credibility of your business.
In today's digital world where consumers turn to the internet to research products and services before making a purchase decision, it's critical that your online listings be accurate, complete, and consistent across the internet. Mobile devices are now the preferred way for consumers to browse the internet, making local listings crucial to the success of your business. Be sure to include the key pieces of information referenced above in your business listings to ensure that your company has a successful online presence.