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September 5, 2019

Accurizing Your Online Business Listing

By Klint Rudolph

Every day we encounter the possibility of experiencing a domino effect in our lives. Something new was released, something broke that needs to be fixed or a question we have needs an answer. As a result, we often turn to one of the many devices at our disposal and search for a solution. What if, though, in that moment we search for a local business to solve our problem, we discover the information it provides is incorrect? We either lose faith in where we are searching, the company we were searching for or both.

According to a recent survey, over 75 percent of people lose trust in a business when they discover incorrect information and 71 percent lose trust in the brand if they get lost calling, driving or walking to that business. Regardless of whether it is the brand’s fault or the directory that posted it, the importance of listing accuracy should be obvious.

What is an Online Business Listing?

Whether a consumer is hungry, needs a new ‘do,’ or is looking for local handgun training courses, an accurate business listing is the best way to ensure that they’ll find what they need.

That online business listing is a public profile for your business that contains vital information such as your company name, address, phone number, website, hours of operation, reviews, images and more. It acts as the virtual doorway to your business, which can and should be found across hundreds of web directory sites. Some directories are industry or vertical-specific, but many, like Google My Business, Yelp, Internet Yellow Pages and others are generic for all types of businesses.

What Is A “Local Business?”

When the word “local” is used, we’re talking about consumers searching for businesses in their area. However, the term “local business” does not refer solely to small and medium-sized businesses but can include multi-location or national companies that have a presence in area markets.

What Should Be Included in Your Online Business Listing?

The information included in an online business listing can vary across industries and directories, but there is a critical component that holds true across them all: NAP data.

NAP — name, address, phone number — data is considered to be the most crucial data of all your business listings. Having correct NAP data ensures that not only will consumers find your business online, they will also have accurate, up-to-date information on how to contact you. But NAP data is also important for search engines like Google in displaying your business in geo-targeted searches. If someone is searching for “best shooting ranges” in the Boston area, the local Boston shooting ranges with correct NAP data may appear over those that have inconsistencies.

Expand Your Listing Strategy to NAPWCHD

It’s becoming more and more apparent that a complete and accurate listing needs more than just NAP presence. That brings us to NAPWCHD — name, address, phone number, website, category, hours of operation and description. Depending on your business vertical, there may also be other information important for you to include in your online business listings, such as:

  • Payment methods
  • Services
  • Brands
  • Holiday hours
  • Photos and videos
  • Reviews
  • Social profiles
  • Virtual tours of your facility

The more information you include across all listing sources and directories, the easier it will be for consumers to find your business and purchase your products and/or services.

How To Manage Your Business Listings

When it comes to managing your online business listings, it’s important to do two things:

Ensure you’re listed on all the top listing sites, both general sites and vertical-specific, and ensure the information is accurate across all online listings sites. The top listings sites are places like Google, Bing, Yelp, Yahoo, Facebook and online Yellow Pages directories. You can download this PDF for the top directory sites. Some examples that are specific to the firearms industry that you should be listed in are:

This can be managed manually, but you may find it necessary to use an automated solution when you manage many listings.  Rather than checking each listing site one by one, it’s best to make use of a robust platform to which you can both upload your company profile and have it sync instantly across the major listing sources.

There are many listings management tools you can take advantage of to easily manage your business’s online presence from one place — some options are Yext, BrightLocal or MozLocal — but how do you decide which solution to use? Because you’re entrusting your data and online reputation to a third party, it’s essential to vet your options carefully. It’s important to note that many of these software solutions are helping you, but there’s still a lot of manual labor involved. At The Xcite Group, we have created software that automates many of these manual tasks and our local listings management team takes care of the rest for you.

Listings for Local SEO

Consistent NAPWCHD data greatly impacts local searching, as its data points are essential for search engines to validate a listing as a credible local business. The more accurate and consistent data there is for your business across the web, the more search engines will trust the validity of your business. And the more the search engines trust your business, the higher you will rank in local SERPs (search engine results page).

According to Moz in its 2018 Local Search Ranking Factors survey, 50 percent of the most important elements in local pack ranking factors are controlled by your listings; Google My Business is 25 percent, citations are 10 percent and reviews are 15 percent. This is why managing your business listings is so important to any business, but particularly when you are talking about those in the firearms retail and range business, where we are already limited to where and how we can advertise online.

About the Author
Klint Rudolph is a founding partner of The Xcite Group, a Google-certified, full-service digital marketing agency based in Denver. A digital marketing strategist who speaks nationally on radio shows and conferences, Rudolph has presented at Google Headquarters and educated companies around the world on agency best practices. He has an advertising background that started in the Yellow Pages industry, and today he has a prospering Google Partner Agency that ranks in the top 10 percent nationally and has won multiple awards, including Top Digital Marketing Agencies 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 and Top Web Design Firms in 2016 and 2017. 

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