Why Aren’t Small Businesses Taking Advantage of Local Listings?

May 7, 2013

BIA/Kelsy predicts that by 2015 more local searches will come from smartphones than PCs.

BIA/Kelsy predicts that by 2015 more local searches will come from smartphones than PCs.

As the use of smartphones and mobile search has increased rapidly over recent years, local search has grown by leaps and bounds as well.  With the increasing prevalence of local search, the value of accurate, up-to-date listings on sites like Yelp, Foursquare, Tripadvisor, and Yellow Pages has never been higher.  These listings often typically rank well for relevant search queries, which can drive substantial traffic — and ultimately sales — to a businesses that take the time to ensure that they are listed properly.

However, despite the clear value of local search many small businesses never take the time to update their listings online.  A recent study by ConstantContact’s SinglePlatform division found that almost half (49%) of small businesses have never updated their online listings, even though 50% of businesses surveyed said that they had seen inaccurate listings for their business.  Given the value of local search and the number of inaccurate listings, why are nearly half of all small businesses ignoring local listings?

Reason #1 — Time

70% of small businesses surveyed reported that they didn’t  have time to manage listings on all of the sites that consumers frequent.

Reason #2 — Lack of Familiarity

Only 23% of small businesses said that they have a good sense of the ways in which  listings drive traffic to their business.  Although this statistic is very low, it is not that surprising.  Understanding the true value of online listings requires a degree of familiarity with what factors influence a website’s visibility and how search itself works to drive traffic to websites.

Reason #3 — Unaware of Local Search Growth

Local search has grown rapidly over the past couple years and  many small businesses may simply not be aware of what they are missing out on as more and more consumers turn to their smartphones to search for local queries.  However, the  data is clear:  Google has stated  that roughly 20% of PC-based search is related to location and local information, while  between 40% and 50% of mobile search is about local information or location.

What is a Small Business to do?

While keeping up with online listings can seem daunting, this is not necessarily the case.  A structured approach to periodically reviewing and updating online listings ensures that your business will have accurate listings without sinking undue amounts of time into the process.  Regular use of the platforms that provide online listings also breeds familiarity and an understanding of how they work.

Keeping up on search trends is another important part of of this process.  This approach does not necessarily revolve around reading the latest articles about search trends (although it is helpful), it can involve simple things like when a customer says they found you online, ask them how.  When a business understands how customers tend to look for it, optimizing for these searches much easier and rewarding.

Collaboration 133 has years of experience with helping small businesses manage their online presence and maximize search traffic.  If you would like further information about ensuring that your small business has accurate online listings or would like help managing your business’ online presence, please contact us for further information.

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