Google your business and you may be surprised at what you find. Are you pinpointed on a search engine’s map? Do you know how many directories your business information is located in? Did you ask to be listed in any of these places? If you didn’t add these listings yourself, how do you know the details are accurate and consistent?

Inaccuracies discredit you to users

When you are lucky enough to pop up in a potential customer’s search, it’s imperative that the information they find, whether it’s a location, phone number or other detail about your business, is accurate. Imagine the frustration of showing up to a restaurant you’re excited to try only to find that the hours posted on the door are different from those listed online or making the effort to call a business for more details only to reach a disconnected line. Obviously, incorrect information in an online listing could be detrimental to your business.

Inconsistencies discredit you to Google

A little less obvious is the way inconsistent listing information can affect your business. Inconsistencies can confuse Google, just as they confuse users. If your NAP (name, address, phone) is not listed consistently across the web, including your website, Google and Bing Places, major directories like Yelp and Yellow Pages, lesser known directories, social media and basically anywhere your business is mentioned, your business can suffer in page rank or be blocked altogether.

For example, let’s say your business name is The Taxman, Inc. If your business is listed accurately in half of your online directory listings, but listed as The Tax Man in the other half of the directories, Google considers your business name to be only 50% reliable. That is a major rankings hit when you’re competing against a business that has taken the initiative to seek out and correct their online listings. There are additional factors you may not have considered that can negatively affect your business credibility with Google, such as adding descriptors to your name, a unit number being included or left out of an address, listing a location when your business doesn’t technically have one. This list of guidelines provided by Google details many more.

Local Listing Management

Gaining control of existing listings can be tricky, especially if someone else has claimed the listing in the past. And, once you’ve claimed and corrected the major directories, it doesn’t end there. Local listing maintenance is an ongoing process. It’s important to stay on top of reviews that may be associated with directories, to update all listings if there is a change in any business details and to remove duplicate and/or inaccurate listings added by unknown sources.

The first step is to find out exactly how your business is being listed. Use our free scanning tool to easily search over 50 directory listings. If you could use a hand straightening out or maintaining your local listings, we can help. Learn more about our local listing management services.