As you set out to build and market your business presence online, the kind of information you provide Google as well as other search engines plays a key role in determining your search engine performance and visibility.
Here are some interesting stats on how your business information, as listed online, can impact consumer behavior and purchase decisions:
- Consumers favor businesses with a strong online presence. According to the Local Search Association and YP.com, 37 percent won’t consider a business with inconsistent information. Another 37 percent will take their money elsewhere if a business’ website is plagued with inconsistencies. And 32 percent won’t consider buying from a business with wrong contact information listed online.
- Close to half of businesses get it wrong. Approximately 43 percent of businesses in the US have at least one incorrect or missing address listed online. 19 percent don’t have their website URLs, while 18 percent don’t have their phone numbers listed.
- Wrong local business information costs money. According to research, about $10.3 billion worth of potential annual sales are lost because of wrong, missing, or incomplete local business information.
Simply put: incorrect information can drive your customers away.
You’ll also like: “The Beginner’s Guide to Improving Your Local Search Ranking on Google”
Google Your Business
Ensuring that your business information on Google is accurate and up-to-date should be part of your online marketing and local search strategy.
The first step to getting started is to Google your business. A simple search can help you quickly identify any inaccuracies or incorrect information about your business online.
Your NAP information (Name, Address, Phone Number) is extremely crucial, but also keep an eye on other things like: website, hours of operation, e-mail address, driving directions and geo-coordinates, links to social media profiles, images and videos, and even online reviews and ratings (plus your responses to those reviews and ratings).
In case you have incorrect business information on Google, we came up with a quick cheat sheet to help make your online presence stand out, as well as minimize the risks and costs associated with having wrong business information.
First things first: add and verify your listing on Google.
In most cases, any edits you make to your business information on Google — name, address, phone number, etc. — will not appear unless you have first added and verified your business listing.
To add your listing (and have your information appear on Google Maps, Search, and other Google properties) or gain edit access to an already existing one, you need to sign up for Google My Business.
Google My Business is a free tool for updating your listing, building a website, and engaging with your customers from your phone, tablet, or computer.
“My business name on Google is wrong.”
It’s not as uncommon as you think to find mistakes with your business name on Google.
It could be a case of a missing apostrophe (“Nora’s Place” versus “Noras Place”), a misspelling, or even a spammy, unreadable name (say, ““John Michael Smith Attorney at Law – Fulton River District Law Offices and Legal Services Chicago West Loop Washington Boulevard Chicago IL” — submitted by a random SEO agency you have since, thank goodness, ended your relationship with).
No matter how small or insignificant the discrepancies may seem, work on correcting them. Consistency across all your digital properties is a key local search ranking factor and a must-have component of any online marketing effort.
You can change and edit your business name through Google My Business. Verifying your listing also allows you to personalize your listing with custom fields, images, posts, and more.
Important note: If you change your business name on Google My Business between when you have sent a verification request and when you enter the verification code, the verification process will be reset.
“How can I fix my Google business phone number?”
If, for some reason, your phone number isn’t showing up correctly on Google, you may edit your contact information using your Google My Business account.
In addition to your main phone number, you can also enter up to two more numbers (mobile or landline) at which customers can call your business.
A few more notes on your phone number on Google: remember that you must enter a number that connects to your individual business location. Users who see this number online expect to be able to speak to a real human being when they call it, so make sure that this is indeed the case. No numbers that redirect, and no call tracking numbers.
“My business location has closed or moved.”
Did your business recently change address? If so, there’s no need to create a new listing for it. All you have to do is update your address on Google My Business; once you submit the new address, you’ll be asked to go through a verification process.
If you’re no longer operating, you may mark your business as closed. Just log into Google My Business, look for the “Manage Location” option, and click the “Published On” section. There you’ll see an option to “mark (the business) as permanently closed.”
The location will then appear as permanently closed in your Google My Business account as well as to Google users.
Read also: “My Google Reviews Have Disappeared!”
“I need to update my business address and location on Google.”
Your address — along with any location attributes (like driving directions, geo-coordinates, and postal code) — is one of the most crucial types of information for your potential customers as well as for search engines.
With Google My Business, you can easily add, verify, and update your business address and location. (This also allows your business location to be accurately displayed on Google Maps.) Just look for the “Address” field from the list of options in “Manage Location.”
Here are some guidelines to help you get your address right:
- Enter the complete and exact street address of your business, including suite numbers, floor and building numbers, and your postal code. For example: “320 W Ohio Street, Suite 2W, Chicago, IL 60654”.
- As much as possible, avoid including information on nearby landmarks or cross-streets. Your listing on Google should only include information that’s part of your official business address. So, no “across from Lake Shore Drive” or similar phrases.
- If Google can’t find your business, you’ll see a red marker location appear over the map on the right side of your window on Google My Business. Click and drag to place and pinpoint the pin at the center of your business location.
Any edits or updates you make to your business address and location on Google My Business may be reviewed and verified for quality before being made public.
Important note: If you change your business address on Google My Business between when you have sent a verification request and when you enter the verification code, the verification process will be reset.
Why Fix Your Business Information on Google?
Google and other search engines want to ensure that any information they provide to search users are complete, accurate, and up-to-date. Ideally, so do you.
By proactively managing your business information via Google My Business and fixing any mistakes and inconsistencies, you can make it more likely for your listing to be rewarded by search engines with higher search rankings — while also making it easier for customers in the real world to discover your business.