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Why Local Search Needs Real-Time Data

Detours around a dead end are common. So go ahead. Optimize your mobile search strategy, but forgetting to update information in Bing and Google engines or Citysearch directories, navigation apps and maps, review sites, daily deals and GPS-enabled marketing solutions only frustrates consumers. It turns out the quality of information in local business listings isn't keeping up with consumer demand and expectations.

An Infogroup report released Wednesday reveals that companies don't keep information up to date. It's not just a change of address or service. Some 52% of the 1,000 U.S. survey participants have visited a closed business after looking up information on search engines, navigation systems and online directories.

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Don't skimp on the data -- invest in technology to help update online information, and claim the business's online listing. It may take a change in culture, but consumers who use online directories and search engines to find business information just want accurate information. The Infogroup report emphasizes the importance of real-time business data. While 69% of consumers blame the service or app when business information is outdated, 26% blame the business itself, and 5% blame the device.

Consumers frequently visit businesses that have moved, about 44% of the time; changed their posted operating hours, 55%; or updated their listed prices, 36 percent. Some 77% of consumers expect business listing information such as contact information, products and offers to be updated at least weekly. For 60% of the survey respondents, search engines are the go-to source. Review sites come in second at 13%. Less than 1% use print directories as their primary source of information.

Some 77% of consumers are unlikely to give a location-based service a second chance after encountering incorrect or outdated information about a business. Nine out of 10 consumers may use an online map to plot out directions, but sometimes those aren't accurate either.

About 44% have had social outings ruined by outdated business listing information. About 44% of the time, survey participants said search engines are most likely to give them correct information about a business, while 22% said online directories are the most likely to give them outdated data. Some 17% said they want information updated in real-time.

Findings in the Infogroup report point to a MDG Advertising survey where 60% of participants said they use Google at least once monthly to find a local business and 57% conduct mobile searches at least once weekly. By 2015, 30% of all search volume will have local intent.

"Dead End Sign" photo from Shutterstock.

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