The importance of the business listing has changed in recent years, moving from being considered a key link source to a waning ranking factor in local searches. However, a recent Moz survey has shown that NAP (Name, Address and Phone Number) details in online directories and business listings are still considered to be the fourth most important detail for ranking in local searches and fifth in localized organic rankings. However, rankings are not everything, and accurate citations are still a foundation for any business, increasing online visibility for potential customers looking in listings and directories. So, what happens if they are not accurate and could it be affecting your business?
The Local Citations Trust Report
In the 2018 BrightLocal Local Citations Trust Report 1000 US consumers were polled on how they feel and react when they see inaccurate business information online. The survey showed that consumers lose trust in any business with inconsistent or incorrect NAP information.
Most business owners appreciate that trust in US businesses and institutions is at an all-time low. This creates a responsibility for business owners to make differences where they can, even something as seemingly minor as ensuring business NAP details are consistent and reliable online.
According to the research, 80 percent of the respondents reported that incorrect or inconsistent contact information made them lose trust in that business. Since consumer trust is a vital component of the purchase journey, this should be a great concern.
Is Inaccurate NAP Really a Problem?
While you may find yourself thinking that inaccurate NAP is not really a problem, the BrightLocal research showed 30 percent of respondents reporting inaccurate business information online.
Not only have 30 percent of consumers found inaccuracies online in the last 12 months, but 36 percent called an incorrect phone number as a result of this inaccuracy. If this was not shocking enough, 22 percent of the survey respondents had actually taken the trouble to visit a business only to find the business was not located where the online details stated it should be.
Unfortunately, these experiences are not confined to incorrect contact details. Almost 25 percent of consumers had visited businesses too early or too late due to the display of wrong opening times. This means that businesses with incorrect online data are missing out on precious custom.
The Implications of Inaccurate NAP
So, what happens when a consumer has gone to a business location and found it is not located where the online details say it should be? A massive 41 percent would not try to use a business if it couldn’t be located straight away.
Although this does mean 59 percent would continue their search, either by calling or doing more online research, 29 percent would try to find another nearby business, and 12 percent would give up their search.
This means that with 22 percent of consumers visiting an incorrect address and only 29 percent seeking out another business, it is easy to see the extent of how much business is being lost due to inaccurate location details.
It should also be pointed out that men who participated in the survey were far more likely to give up looking for a business. 18 percent of males in the survey said they would immediately abandon their search. So, if you have a primarily male target audience, your business can be at even more risk from incorrect citations.
Causing Consumer Frustration
Frustration is a highly unpredictable emotion, and the research documented 93 percent of respondents felt frustrated to find incorrect online directory information. These consumers have already searched for a business in your niche and selected yours for a number of reasons, so they have a strong intent to buy. Even if they continue researching to find your business, their first experience with you involves frustration. So, if you provide inaccurate or incorrect online information, you may need to hope that all your products and services are fantastic to avoid your customer having an overall negative experience.
If your business has incorrect business listings, there is a high risk of missing out on valuable custom. This puts all of your marketing, brand awareness and visibility to waste as your potential customers struggle to find your business. First impressions count, and if you’re creating a situation where you’ve frustrated your potential customer, you may find your competition more than happy to take the business.
Bearcat Media, a leading digital marketing agency, specializes in website design & development, search engine optimization, and graphic design. They help local businesses increase their online presence through local SEO strategies.