In a world as specific as search marketing, a search’s value is worth nothing if the information isn’t trustworthy. But sometimes even the most basic information (business name, address, hours) can be frustratingly inaccurate. And when that happens, it can work against your best efforts to get attention and customers.
In a recent Web presentation, George Freitag at Moz Local gets into the details about why listing accuracy is an important part of search marketing. The basic issue, he notes, is trust. An inaccurate listing can severely hurt your business; surveys have shown nearly three-quarters of consumers lose trust in a business because of inaccurate local listings. They can also hurt the search engine consumers are using, which is why they take them so seriously.
“If I repeatedly get sent to businesses that don't exist, if I try to call them and the call information is incorrect, then I'm going to stop using Google,” Freitas says. But even if all the information (name, address, hours of operation, etc.) on your Google My Business page is correct, other sources may have the same information slightly different (e.g., a suite number on your address or even a misplaced apostrophe), and that can interfere with the way Google sees your information.
“In fact, if there's enough sources out here saying one thing that are contradictory to what you're saying in your own Google My Business page, these places can actually override what you're providing and Google will deem them more trustworthy than the information that you're directly providing to them,” Freitag says. In essence, Google is saying it knows your business better than you do.
Luckily, there are ways to fix these discrepancies. One is to start with some quoted Google searches of your company name, address and other information that you might think holds some discrepancies. Finding those should be simple and easy to fix. Freitag also recommends doing similar searches of your phone number in different formats to see what comes up.
There are also several tools (like the N.A.P. Hunter! Chrome Plug-In or Moz’s own Check Listing tool) available to help locate discrepancies for you to fix. For bigger companies, with multiple locations or businesses, Freitag suggests several paid options that work with the primary data sources like Localeze, Infogroup, Acxiom and Factual (some of whom might have provided the inaccurate information in the first place) to correct the listings in many more places than you can think of or track.
Once corrected, it’s important to make these searches a part of your regular search-marketing maintenance program.
“These places not only get their information from a primary data provider, but they also get their information from each other,” Freitag says, likening the transfer of information to a game of telephone. “So you do need to go back and revisit these exercises from time to time.”