The Internet is a vast, infinite space filled with seemingly limitless information. It’s the home of blogs, photos, websites, tweets, posts and even information about your business. And while a lot of this data is beneficial, some of it would be better served in your recycling bin.
And no, I’m not talking about those regrettable college spring break pictures. (Whoops). Those are your own problem. I’m talking about something even worse. I’m talking about out of date business information.
If your business has ever moved, changed names or even purchased commercial space from a previous business, you need to read closely. Moving is stressful whether it's your home or business. First, you have to find a place and then you need to take care of all the logistics. Not to mention the packing, lifting and sore back that comes along with it.
But the one thing you should not neglect is also the one thing that can easily slip through the cracks – updating your business address online. It sounds simple, but it can be far from it.
An outdated, incorrect or missing address can cause a significant loss in business, consumer trust and search engine ranking.
A few months back, my best friend's band was making its debut at a concert venue’s new location. The band posted the gig on its Facebook page, as did the venue, with a strong emphasis on the new location. On the night of the concert, I Googled the concert venue’s name to grab driving directions. Guess what? The venue never updated its Google My Business listing with its new address, so I was led to the old location, a good five miles away.
I'm a big believer in, “Don't sweat the small things.” So, I drove around a little bit and I eventually found the new location. At worst, it was a minor inconvenience.
Fast forward to a few weeks later. A brand new client signed on with us and his online listings were a mess. His Google My Business listing was still displaying an old address and an old number. What made this particularly painful for this new client was that his listed address was his home address because that’s where he had been previously based. (He literally had no choice but to bring work home with him). His office had moved since then (twice, in fact). He’s also changed his phone number and made subtle changes to his business name, but his online listings not part of the move.
Changing a phone number or making a slight change to your business name may not sound like a big deal, but they add up. When searching for local businesses, consumers want to see accessible and accurate contact information (NAPU). If this information is helpful, your odds of attracting consumers increases significantly – three in four consumers who consider the information helpful in search results are more likely to visit that store. Guess what happens when it’s not? Potential business is lost.
You may have heard of the local search ecosystem. It’s kind of like a map of directories that illustrates where small business information comes from, and where it goes next. So, you can see “the usual suspects” where your business might be listed – Google at the center of it all, Bing, Yelp, YP.com and so forth.
At first glance, you might be surprised that there are so many other directories out there. Among those directories are so-called “authoritative databases” that push information to multiple directories at once. Controlling information on those databases is key to keeping consistent information on your business. However, outdated information on those databases could mean outdated information is continually being published to these other directories.
The reason: web crawlers. Crawlers do just what it sounds like – crawl the web to find, verify and index information. Google crawls and indexes the web at a feverish pace, because let’s face it, Google accounts for more than two-thirds of all Internet searches. Google’s key to sustained success is earning trust and improving the user experience. New and reliable information is one of the best ways to do it.
So, these crawlers find information on new businesses, old businesses, follow links and index them into the search results you find every day. If old information is still out there, it’s getting indexed.
Hence, my client who worked from his home, then re-branded, then established a new phone number for his business. Consumers want information quickly, but they also want it to be reliable. It’s true that information is power. Accurate information, that is.
Is all the right information out there for your business? Do your customers know everything you need them to know, and nothing you don’t?