Have you ever wondered how business information gets listed across the internet? Think about it; when we search for local businesses via desktop, mobile, or voice command, we can find relevant information in many different places, such as directories, maps, review websites, and even straight from the pages of search engines like Google. But how do these digital resources find this information, and how do we know that it’s accurate?
We often take it for granted that when we need information about local businesses, we’ll be able to find it with the power of the internet, but many of us don’t think twice about the origins of this data. The reality is that business information doesn’t turn up by accident. It comes from a whole range of sources, such as websites, social media platforms, forums, directories, and databases.
Many business owners that we talk to are surprised to discover that they can update and control the information that appears about their business across the internet and on digital devices. It is vital to maintain accurate business information across multiple different local listing websites because major search engines grade the accuracy of this information to help them determine when to show your business in local and map search results. Having complete and accurate local business listings benefits your local SEO tremendously. Still, if your business listings are incomplete or riddled with errors, you could be missing out on potential customers.
The local listing syndication service, offered as part of Stack Host’s Local Marketing full-service hosting plan, is designed to make it easier than ever to maintain accurate local listing data across up to 65 maps, business websites, and voice search databases across the web. Here are five important ways in which syndicating your business listings could boost your brand’s digital presence.
1. You will improve the chances of your business showing up on the first page of local search results
A local internet search is a vital tool for consumers who want to discover local businesses, and it is, therefore, a valuable source of new customers for businesses. However, competition for the top search results can be tough; businesses need to prioritize local search engine optimization (SEO) if they want to take full advantage of local search marketing.
To maximize the chances of showing up on the first page of local search engine results, businesses need to be in control of their listings on websites and databases. Having accurate business information across as many websites as possible is a major aspect of local SEO because search engines consider this when ranking search results. If you do local SEO right, your brand could be shown to prospective customers multiple times every day; it’s a fantastic method for generating new business.
2. You can make the most of four opportunities to appear at the top of Google’s local search results
When a local search is made on a search engine like Google, there are four key places where businesses can be displayed:
- In an ad, of which three or four are usually listed
- In the map results, of which up to three or four are listed
- In the search results as part of a review website’s top local businesses page, such as TripAdvisor, Yelp or Yellow Pages
- In the search results with your business’s own website
For your business to be displayed right at the very top of a Google search results page, you can take out an ad directly with Google. However, even if you do choose to advertise in this way, you will maximize the visibility of your brand when it is also displayed in the other three areas of the results page.
You can optimize the chances of your business appearing in every one of these spots in Google’s search results when you syndicate your business data across the internet. When your listings are accurate and up-to-date across multiple different websites and directories, you can maximize the chances of showing up on review sites. Plus, if Google deems the information on your own website to be accurate compared to all other business listings across the internet, it will deem your site a valuable resource for search users and it will be more likely to serve it within the top results. Finally, when your local maps listing is optimized, you can also increase the chance of your business being displayed in the maps section of the results page.
3. You can take control of your business categories and reach more potential customers
When you take control of your business’s information with listing syndication, you can ensure that every little piece of vital data related to your business is as accurate as possible. This goes for the basics, such as location, business hours, and holiday hours, as well as the extra details, such as special offers, events, and photos of your premises, products, services, or employees. You can also craft engaging, compelling descriptions of your business, which can highlight your brand’s unique selling points or expertise.
However, perhaps the most important piece of data to take control of is the categories in which your business is listed. Many businesses find themselves placed in just one category on business listings websites, even though multiple different categories could accurately describe their business. Let’s take a pizza restaurant, for example. It could be listed solely in the Restaurants category where it would likely be discovered by customers who are looking for somewhere to have dinner, but perhaps not by those looking for a pizza to be delivered to their home. If the restaurant was listed in multiple categories instead – Restaurants, Pizza, Catering, Take-Out, Delivery – the business could be discovered by a broader range of customers with a variety of different needs.
To make the most of your online presence, be sure to take control of these categories and let your potential customers know exactly what your business has to offer.
4. You can put your brand and reputation in the spotlight
Having your business show up everywhere – from local search results to business directories and review websites – looks excellent for your brand. However, in the digital age, reviews are everything. Having a substantial number of positive reviews across the web goes a long way in encouraging potential customers to trust your products and services. Ultimately, good reviews will have a significant impact on your bottom line.
Businesses that have an average rating of 4 to 5 stars are in good standing when it comes to appealing to prospective new customers. An average rating of 3.5 stars, on the other hand, could severely impact how potential customers view your business. That half star makes a big difference to the public perception of your brand.
If your business is positively rated across the web, syndicating your business listings is a very smart idea because it puts your favorable reviews right in the spotlight. If you’re finding it tricky to build positive reviews, the Review Funnel feature of the Stack Host Local Marketing hosting plan could be a handy tool. When a customer leaves a review of fewer than four stars on your website, they are funneled to a feedback form and asked to provide more information, which can help you to learn where your products or services could be improved. If they leave a 4- or 5-star review, they will be taken to a public review website of your choice, such as Google My Business, Yelp, TripAdvisor, or Angie’s List, and encouraged to a leave a review that could boost your overall star rating on that site. It’s a great way to generate new reviews on popular review websites, which will help to boost the visibility of your business and improve public perception of your brand.
5. You can get ahead of the curve with voice search
In a world that is more connected than ever before, it is vital that businesses don’t exclude themselves from consumers who are discovering information on a wide variety of devices, many of which are controlled by voice. Gone are the days when people needed a desktop computer or even a laptop to find information. These days we all have computers in our pockets or our purses in the form of smartphones and tablets or scattered around our homes in a variety of smart devices such as televisions, smart speakers, and virtual assistants. In 2019, Amazon announced plans for the release of smart glasses, rings, and microwaves. Apple already has the smartwatch, and it has since filed a patent for a smart ring. We can only expect more innovation in the arena of smart devices over the coming years.
All of these nifty smart devices are designed with a voice command in mind since we’re moving into an age in which voice tech is becoming increasingly popular. Voice command allows us to make queries to our devices quickly and easily, and many of these queries relate to our local area. As a result, smart devices require access to local business data feeds so that they can deliver the most accurate information possible to their users. As a business owner, if you don’t make your business information available for voice search, you’ll miss out on a huge demographic who are using voice command to look for businesses like yours. The figures on voice search speak for themselves:
- Currently, 20% of all online searches are performed by voice (Source: Google)
- Voice tech is used by 31% of smartphone owners across the world at least one time each week (Source: Statista, Location World)
- It is predicted that 50% of web searches will be conducted by voice by 2020 (Source: Comscore)
- By 2020 around 30% of all internet browsing will take place without screens (Source: Gartner)
- By 2022 it is expected that 55% of households will own smart speakers (Source: OC&C Strategy Consultants )
- An estimated $40B will be spent via voice commerce in the USA by 2022 (Source: OC&C Strategy Consultants)
Don’t ignore these numbers. By embracing local business listing syndication, your business can be at the forefront of voice search as it continues to grow over the next decade.
How can Stack Host help your local listing?
At Stack Host, we created the Local Marketing all-in-one hosting plan to help local business owners improve their local SEO and their local listings. Our Local Marketing hosting plan includes customer acquisition, branding, reputation management, voice search optimization, local SEO, and a listing/data management strategy, all built into a single package.
Our Local Marketing hosting plan includes all the same full-service hosting support of our CORE hosting plan, plus the digital marketing and keyword ranking reports of our Small Business hosting plan. This is all on top of syndicated business directory listings, voice search database listings, and our valuable review funnel feature. It’s the optimum package for small business owners who are keen to expand their local digital visibility and tap into a demographic which is turning to technology to find their new favorite local brands.
The Stack Host support team has over a decade of experience ranking local businesses on search engines, but we are not just an SEO company. Instead, we’ve developed an all-in-one hosting plan that covers all aspects of managing and growing a digital presence. Our Local Marketing plan contains everything we would want for our own business because we don’t want to provide you with anything less than the best.