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What are listings and why do they matter?

Off the top of your head, how much thought have you put into your business listing? Are you already hesitant to answer and now wondering what a listing is? No problem. We’ll explain. Listings are an online summary of essential information for your business that help customers find you online and in a physical space.

Here’s what you need to know about setting up listings for your online business:

What Is NAP+W?

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

Name
Address
Phone number
+
Website

These four pieces provide basic information that potential customers need to have in order to research, contact and locate your business. If you have specific hours of operation for live chats and phone customer service, this would also come in handy for your e-commerce business.

Consistent, accurate listings and an ample sum of reviews will directly benefit a business’s visibility by boosting its ranking in local search engine results. Increased visibility means more customers, and what business owner doesn’t want that?

Will My Listings Work?

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, social media, and online review sites. Availability on as many sources as possible will create multiple avenues for consumers to find your business. But presence only pays off if the listings are accurate.

Keep in mind that users not only search for business listings to see if they’re still active; they also check to see how close the business is to their own homes. In fact, according to Search Engine Land:

  • 71 percent of online users are most likely to be at home when they research and confirm a business location before visiting the business for the first time
  • 22 percent use a phone
  • 7 percent drive directly to the business

If a business’s listing is incorrect or missing, the majority of consumers will feel less confident about the brand. Not staying on top of this could lead to potential consumers choosing a competitor’s product or service because their listing is accurate. No consumer should have to play “Where’s Waldo?” when trying to find your company online. While that game is a hit on paper, in the business-to-consumer world, it can lead to money loss.

How Inaccurate Business Listings Hurt Word-of-Mouth Profits

An ample review pipeline is an essential tool for developing a business’s online reputation and fostering brand loyalty. Reviews allow customers to communicate their experience with a business to potential buyers. Even if potential customers have no family or friends who have done business with you, other customers’ opinions can hold some weight, too.

Additionally, while some online businesses opt to make social media platforms like Facebook or LinkedIn their go-to, keep in mind that not all potential customers are active social media users on each platform. If a customer has to “Like” or “Follow” a business’s social media page or wait for a confirmed Connection in order to see what other online users are saying, it can become too much of a clubhouse. Unless your business only wants exclusive dollars, don’t make your business’s contact information exclusive, too. Put the same amount of energy into your official and public website as you would to social media marketing.

So What Should My Business Do Now?

Now that you know all the perks of accurate, public listings, and how they help potential customers find you, here’s your chance to act as a customer. Complete a search audit to see which sites have your business listed, double-check all NAP+W information to make sure it’s correct and then check your own site.

Then, hyperlink “Contact Us” email addresses to make it easier for them to respond and/or make sure the hidden email address to your “Contact Us” page still links to an accurate email address.

Finally, confirm your social media accounts link to active sites that showcase your NAP+W. Prioritize making sure that your customers can easily contact you, so you can more easily make new and continuous connections.

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