Listings are an online summary of essential information that serve as a powerful tool to help customers find you online and in real life. Here’s a quick guide to tell you what you need to know:

There are four key pieces of information in what you could describe as a “business listings starter-pack”. They provide the basic information potential customers need to have in order to research, contact and locate your business.

NAP+W is the acronym that explains all the information that should be included in business listings.

Phone number

Four reasons your local business listings need to be accurate

You’ve probably already experienced the rule of reciprocity in your daily life. Basically, if someone gives you something, you’ll feel obligated to give something back. Many businesses use this to their advantage by offering coupons, “exclusive” deals or even candy to make customers feel as though they’ve been done a favor. This then makes them more likely to spend or tip.

1. Missing hours of operation information can be harmful

There are many things that people look for in listings, whether they are looking at that search engine on a PC or on a mobile device. The top piece of information that most people look for is not the address, but the hours of operation, since their search is likely for a business that they frequent quite often.

76% of respondent reporting that they expect this information when searching and 61% believe that it is a feature that helps them to select a business.

2.You can’t help a customer if they can’t find you   

The whole point of being in business is to make money doing what you love or selling what you love. And that happens by attracting foot traffic and increasing customer base.

If a business address is incorrect on listing sites such as Google or Bing, then customers will not be coming into your store.

3. Local searchers are mobile creatures

According to Localeze, a leading data aggregator, mobile-phone-based searches drive in-store purchases with more than 75% of searches ending in a purchase—if a business has their listing details correct.

For a good customer experience, your key listing details need to be as readily available as possible in a mobile-friendly manner. This can be accomplished with a responsive website that supports cellphone and tablet-specific versions.

The most important part of those mobile searches is still accuracy. If someone cannot find your business in a local search or find inaccurate results whilst out and about, then your business has lost the chance for that browser to become a customer. So having those listings correct in all of the device formats is a must as we, and our technology, continue to evolve in the way we interact with local businesses.

4. Local search results are trusted sources of information

Local search results are considered the most trustworthy. In a study by Neustar, it was determined that these searches, such as “used games Raleigh”, are what people do the most since they put that trust in local business more than big box, big website stores.

If a business’s listing is incorrect or missing, the majority of consumers will feel less confident about the brand, likely leading them to choose a competitor’s product or service.

Accurate listings also create the opportunity for transparency between businesses and consumers in the form of reviews, and the availability of this information will help increase a business’s visibility. An ample review pipeline is an essential tool for developing a business’ online reputation and fostering brand loyalty. Reviews allow customers to communicate their experience with a business to potential buyers, but if consumers can’t find a business listed online, their opinion of it won’t be well-informed.

Consistent, accurate listings and the generation of reviews will directly benefit a business’s visibility by boosting its ranking in local search engine results. Search engine optimization is a complex tool, so take advantage by ensuring your business is listed accurately.

Final thoughts   

The effectiveness of a business listing depends on the information’s presence and accuracy. Listings are available through a variety of sources, including search engines, online directories and maps, or social sites. When it comes to listings presence, more is definitely better. Availability on as many sources as possible will create multiple avenues for consumers to find your business. But (and this is a big but), presence only pays off if the listings are accurate. Listings are accurate if the information is correct and consistent across all potential sources.