Imagine it’s the end of a long day.
You’re on your way home and fighting to keep your eyes open—a cup of coffee is just what you need.
So, you pull out Google Maps, do a quick search, and see there’s a 24-hour diner nearby. Excited to get your caffeine fix, you pull off the highway, follow Google’s directions, and head towards the diner.
But as you pull into the parking lot, you see an immediate problem…
The lights are out, the door is shut, and the shop is most definitely closed.
All of a sudden, you’re wide awake with anger—why did Google say this was a 24-hour diner, when it’s clearly closed and has been closed for hours?!
Believe it or not, scenarios like this happen all the time, and they leave potential customers with a very foul taste in their mouths. With that in mind, here are three more reasons franchisees need to work doubly hard to make sure their local business listings are accurate.
1. Search engines crave accuracy and consistency
The different bits of information you place in your business listings, in addition to the information listed on your website, social media profiles, business directories, review sites, and so on, are called “data citations.”
Search engines, like Google and Bing, use bots to crawl the net for data and use what they find to rank your franchise. They check this information against the organization’s name, address, and phone number (NAP) plus website and email (WE) found on other online listings (e.g., Yelp, Facebook, Yext).
When they find accurate and consistent NAP + WE information, your search ranking is strengthened. But when they find inconsistencies in business information, they decide the data isn’t trustworthy and your ranking suffers.
This is one reason consistency and accuracy across online sites, reviews, and social media is key.
There can’t be small variations to any parts of the business NAP + WE—no small differences in name, no additional phone numbers, no differences in address, website, email. Nothing. Everything must match.
For example, if your franchise name is listed in Google My Business as Cleaning Unlimited, it can’t be listed on Yelp or another online directory as Cleaning Unlimited, Inc.
2. Customers crave accuracy and consistency
As important as gaining the trust of search engines is, it’s even more important to gain and keep the trust of your customers.
Today’s consumers expect accurate, consistent information across the Internet. If potential customers see your franchise is open until 6 p.m. on Yelp but 8 p.m. on your website, they’ll be hesitant to call or stop by after six.
In fact, 73% of respondents report losing trust in a business when listing information is inaccurate, and 68% of local customers said they would stop using a local business if they found incorrect information in online directories.
3. Accurate & consistent listing boost reviews (and the bottom line)
Most franchisees know reviews matter, but many don’t realize just how much they matter.
For example, a recent survey revealed 93% of local consumers use reviews to determine whether a local business is good or bad.
Another reported 88% of customers are influenced to buy or use a service based on reviews alone.
As such, it’s important to be vigilant of the types of reviews your franchise is receiving, and then work to improve your reviews and online reputation wherever possible.
You can attract more reviews by ensuring your franchisees have profiles set up on popular review sites, and you can create a better impression of your brand by responding quickly and courteously to all reviews left by customers (whether they’re good and bad). And of course, the best way to bring up your average star rating is to continually work on improving your customer service.
Next steps for accurate and consistent NAP + WE
There’s definitely more to local SEO than NAP and accurate listings. If you’re ready to learn more about managing local SEO and increasing traffic to your franchise, contact us for a FREE listing review, and start improving the digital presence of your franchise.