Ah, the internet. The digital phonebook of the 21st Century. If you're trying to find a business, product, or service in your area, all you have to do is hit up your favorite search engine and type your query.

For consumers, it's easy to find exactly what you're looking for, both where and when you're looking for it.

For local businesses, it's another matter entirely. A matter of getting their business found by those searching consumers, so they can make sales and grow their business.

For agencies, it's an opportunity. You can help manage your business client's online listings so they can be found, visited, and paid by the people looking for them online.

online business listings examples

Whether a consumer is hungry, or needs a new do, accurate business listings make sure they find what they need


Table of Contents

What's an online business listing?

Who needs listings?

Listings for local SEO

What's in an online business listing?

NAP Data

Hours of Operation

Websites

Other listing information to include

How to manage your client's business listings


What's an online business listing?

A business listing is a public profile that contains a business' vital information such as name, address, number, website, hours of operation, and more. They act as a “virtual doorway” to local businesses, and can (and should) be found across hundreds of online listings and directory sites across the web. Some directories are vertical-specific, though many (like Google+, Yelp, Yellow Pages, and so on) are generic catch-alls for all businesses.

Related reading: The Top 100 Online Business Directories

Who needs listings?

Everyone! Local businesses need listings in order to be found, and consumers need listings to find products and services they’re looking for! Any local business that wants to be found online needs business listings. They may even already have them, whether they realize it or not.

How local is local?

The term “local business” does not necessarily refer only to small and medium sized businesses, but can also include multi-location or national companies that have a presence in local markets. When the word local is used, we're talking about businesses being searched for or found in their area by nearby consumers.

When consumers hit the keyboard to find a business or product/service, they're more likely to spend their dollars in the local area. Why take a road trip just to get a haircut, or pay online shipping fees when a local boutique has what you need?

Listings for local SEO

If your client wants to rank well in local search, they need consistent NAP data, website, hours, and more across all major listing directories. This is essential for search engines to validate them as a credible local business.

The more accurate and consistent data there is about the business across the web, the more search engines will trust the validity of the business. And the more the search engines trust the business, the higher they will rank in local SERPs (Search Engine Results Page).

According to Moz in their 2017 Local Search Ranking Factors survey, 13% of professionals list citation signals as the most important element in Local Pack Ranking factor.

local seo ranking factors

Moz, 2017


What's in an online business listing?

The information contained in business listings can vary across verticals and directories—but some key pieces of information hold true across them all.

online business listings graphic

NAP Data

The most crucial data held in a business listing is the NAP dataname, address, and phone number information. NAP data is critical for the online visibility of any business, and every listing source contains this information for the businesses listed. Having correct NAP data ensures that not only will consumers find your client's business online, but they will also have accurate, up-to-date information on how to contact them.

NAP data is also important for search engines like Google to display your client's business in geo-targeted searches. If someone is searching “good seafood” in the Boston area, the local Boston seafood places with correct NAP data will appear. Of course Google gives search ranking priority to business with correct NAP data—how else are they supposed to tell where you are, what you do, and if you’re even a legitimate business at all?

The stats

Consumers are looking for your client's business! What exactly are they looking for?

  • 53% of mobile searchers are looking for directions
  • 50% are looking for business addresses

Think with Google

Despite the importance of accurate NAP data, our data shows that many businesses are failing even at this basic step into the world of listings.

  • 86% of businesses have either missing or incorrect company name information listed across all listings sources
  • 72% of businesses have either missing or incorrect address information listed across all listings sources
  • 71% of businesses have either missing or incorrect phone number information listed across all listings sources

online business listings inaccuracy infographic

Data taken from the 140,000+ local businesses in the Vendasta system

[clickToTweet tweet="Are businesses napping on accurate NAP data? 86% of #localbusinesses have an incorrectly listed name!" quote="Are businesses napping on accurate NAP data? 86% of #localbusinesses have an incorrectly listed name!"]Are businesses napping on the importance of accurate NAP data? 86% of local businesses have either missing or incorrect company name information!

Hours of Operation

One of the most important details about your client's business to include besides NAP data is the hours of operation. When a consumer is searching for their business (or their goods/services), they have a high purchase intent, and are likely searching for an immediate need.

The consumer will likely a visit a business after the business is shown as “open” on their Google search.

business listing hours

If your client’s business has no hours listed, the consumer would have to go out of their way to find out whether they're open or closed from their website, or a phone call. Or, worse yet, they drive to visit the business and find that they’re closed. Now they're not only inconvenienced by not knowing your client's business hours, but they’re also upset for wasting their time. Let the negative reviews commence!

If your client's competitor has their business hours listed, they'll likely capture that consumer. People just want their needs fulfilled—they'd be happy to spend their money at a business that has their hours correctly listed if they were coming in-store to make the purchase.

The stats

  • 73% of purchases that result from mobile searches happen within the same day, and most (63%) within a few hours
  • 76% of consumers report that they expected hours of operation information when conducting a search
  • Over 60% of consumers find that knowing the business hours helps them make their purchase decision

Localeze, 2015

Consumers are often looking to make purchases the same day that they're searching, so make sure they know your client's store is open when they go looking!

Websites

Do your clients business have a central “hub” of information to direct users to online? Throw that website link into their business listings. Consumers will often travel from Google search into a business website to get a feel for the business, and learn more about what they're offering. So obviously, including a link to your client's website is important for their online presence.

The stats

  • 93% of businesses have either missing or incorrect website information listed across all listings sources (Vendasta)
  • Only 7% of businesses have their website information correct across all listing sources (Vendasta)
  • Nearly half of small businesses don't have a website (Clutch)

business listing website accuracy

Website accuracy by industry

[clickToTweet tweet="93% of #localbusiness listings have inaccurate website information across all major sources. " quote="93% of #localbusiness listings have inaccurate website information across all major sources. "]

If a user can find your client's website, they'll get a better impression of their business, and likely have a more positive experience. With nearly half of small businesses not having a website, you can make your clients stand out on the SERP by including their website data in the listing information.

Other listing information to include

Depending on your client's business vertical, there may be other pieces of information important for you to include in their online business listings.

  • Payment methods
  • Services
  • Brands
  • Holiday hours
  • Photos
  • Social profiles
  • And more!

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


How to manage your client's business listings

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

  1. Ensure they're listed on all the top listing sites, both general sites and vertical-specific
  2. Ensure the information is accurate across all online listings sites

Rather than checking each critical listing site one by one for your clients, it's best to make use of a robust platform that you can both upload client profiles to, and have sync instantly across the major listing sources.

There are many listings management tools you can take advantage of to easily manage your business client’s online presence from one place. By using a tool like Vendasta's Listing Sync Pro, you can easily upload and sync hundreds of clients business information across the most vital listing sources to ensure they’re accurate and up-to-date.

Instantly sync your business client's NAP data, hours of operation, holiday hours, payment types, services, and more from one platform. Get a demo to see how it works!

listing sync pro

Online listings management is the first step in managing your clients' online presence. Get your local business clients found online, and in front of the right consumers at the right time.