Getting your business found on the web is perhaps the most critical things; however, business location data on the web is often messy. A recent study of 40,000 business listings showed a majority with multiple locations and large amounts of omission errors and inaccuracies. Of the businesses studied, more than 43% had at least one incorrect address on local directories. Close to 37% of all business surveyed had one missing or incorrect listing.
When business category that was most likely to have errors was studied; it showed that real estate agents and insurance agents topped the list. These are the two businesses that had the most missing listings.
The only logical reason for this to happen is that both the businesses have many independent operators that often move from company to company. Also many of these operators also operate from home, and are therefore not likely to show up on business listing data sources.
Both the businesses were also on top in the category of incorrect or missing business name in their local directory listings. Hospitality business comes at the third position behind these two. The most surprising fact is that over 50% of such businesses had incorrect names in the data. This is however explained as due to the difficulty in dealing with independent insurance and real estate agents.
As for the hospitality business the problem arises from the fact that corporations and their agents use different names for the same business. For example Hyatt may call a hotel The Hyatt Regency at SFO, while the local hotel might use the name SFO Hyatt Regency. This inconsistency shows up as an error.
This is not limited to these three business sectors. In fact the top five categories have the same problem of errors in listing address (almost 40%).
Banking and finance showed a tendency to have wrong phone numbers. Almost 41% of banking and financial institution listing had this problem. This could be because they use both, toll free numbers as well as local telephone numbers. They, however, do not realize that such silly mistake costs them in SEO and unnecessarily causes customer confusion.
Another common problem highlighted by the study was of not providing links. It should be noted that local directories are essential as they provide key information about your business and forces consumers to visit your website. It also helps in increasing conversion rates.
It is a fact that local business data on the internet has always been a mess, as it depends on multiple sources. However, businesses should be aware of these lapses as it costs them valuable traffic. Today there are so many tools available to control all such information, yet data inconsistency continues to be a big problem on local listening.