An online business listing is a digital profile that includes vital information about your business, such as its name, address, phone number, and more. These listings facilitate the process of interested customers finding your business through online searches. Consider online business listings as virtual directories that enhance your business's discoverability.
The core components of online business listings
"It's not rocket science, but it's critical to your online presence."
Irrespective of the platform, local listings consist of core data known as NAP, which represents the business's name, address, and phone number. In addition to NAP, your business listings may include the following information:
Hours of operation
Business category (This category should succinctly define your business. For example, if you own a local coffee shop, your category would be "coffee shop." If you operate an automobile repair garage, your category would be "auto repair shop.")
Visual media showcasing your business, such as pictures or videos
A brief description of your business
Accepted payment methods
These essential components enable customers to easily connect with your business once they find it through an online search.
Why are online business listings important?
Online business listings play a vital role in ensuring your business's online visibility. When customers search for new businesses, they often turn to Google as their initial resource. Maintaining consistent and accurate listings across various platforms helps Google recognize the reliability of your business information. If your business cannot be found through a simple Google search, chances are it won't be discovered at all. Regularly updating your online business listings is the key to solving this problem.
“Search Engines love listings too!”
Search engines value popularity and accurate information just as much as your customers do. Search engines reward these things with greater visibility and higher search ranking, which means more traffic to your website.
Challenges faced by local businesses
Achieving a high ranking on Google has become increasingly challenging. Over the past fifteen years, there has been a significant shift from desktop to mobile searches. The smaller screen size of mobile devices displays fewer results per page compared to traditional computer searches. While desktop users typically see ten results on the first page, mobile users often don't go beyond the first three. With the rising prominence of mobile searches, it has become more crucial than ever to secure that top spot.
In the near future, 50% of Google searches will be done through voice searches. While mobile search provides three results, voice search yields only one.
To gain an edge in this evolving search landscape, businesses must ensure they employ every possible method to be found by customers. The more consistent your listings are, the higher the chances of customers discovering your business through mobile, desktop, and voice searches (including smart speakers, phones, and cars equipped with Apple's Siri, Amazon's Alexa, Microsoft's Cortana, or Google's AI assistant).
Benefits of online business listings
Online business listings are a reliable source of information for your customers. They serve as an online business directory, helping consumers find the business that will fit their needs. But local business listings have other benefits as well.
Enhanced customer experience: When your business is listed across the web, it becomes easier for customers to access your information, ensuring a positive customer experience from the outset.
Improved reputation: Many business listing sites feature customer reviews. Accumulating online reviews builds trust with customers and provides invaluable insights into their experience with your business.
Boosted SEO: Consistency in NAP data across various platforms enhances your business's search engine ranking. The more accurate and detailed your listings are, the higher you will appear in relevant search results. For more detailed information, refer to the section "The Local Search Ecosystem."
How do I know how many online listings my business has?
Praqtical Marketing Works’ Online Performance Review is a comprehensive free tool to conduct an audit of your online presence. In addition to your online business listings, the Online Performance Review will highlight opportunities in SEO, online reputation management, website performance, and paid advertising – all the necessary activities to help your business be found and chosen by customers.