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Online Listings: What are They and Why Do They Matter?

Online listings are entries where your business appears online. If you’re running a business, it’s essential to make sure your information is listed on the internet. Not only does this provide potential customers with the necessary details to reach out and get in touch, but online listings also play a role in search engine optimization (SEO). In this blog post, we’ll discuss what listings are and why they matter for SEO.

What information does a listing include?

Online listings should always include four components.

  • Name
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Website

These are the “big four” that are most important for search engines and for your potential customers. They give people all the information they’ll need to research, contact, and locate your business.

Image that reads "The Listing 'Big 4.' NAP + W. Name, Address, Phone number and Website."
The four crucial pieces of information to include in every listing are the business name, address, phone number, and website.

Get the most out of listings

If you want to go a step further and make your listings even better, be sure to include all the information about your business that the listing allows. Things like your hours of operation and the products and services that you offer are excellent to include.

These are things that your potential customers care about and will help them decide that your business is the right choice for them.

Show up where your customers are searching

You should take advantage of every listing opportunity that is available to your business. Having your business listed in as many places as possible will give you more surface area to attract potential customers.

You want to make sure that customers can find you when they’re looking for someone in your industry to do business with. Having as many online listings as possible creates more avenues for these people to find your business at just the right time.

Improve your business’ SEO

Listings are one of the many factors that search engines take into account when they’re determining which results to show for a given query. Consistent, accurate listings can benefit a business’s visibility by boosting its ranking in local search engine results.

When it comes to SEO for your business, the more listings the better. Appearing in more places online can directly affect your ranking in local search results.

Listings increase prominence

According to Google, local results are based primarily on relevance, distance, and prominence. More appearances online can help improve the prominence of your business in Google’s eyes.

Here’s what Google says about online prominence from the Google Business Profile Help Center:

“Prominence is also based on information that Google has about a business, from across the web, like links, articles, and directories. Google review count and review score factor into local search ranking. More reviews and positive ratings can improve your business’s local ranking. Your position in web results is also a factor, so search engine optimization (SEO) best practices apply.”

Google’s algorithm is far too complicated and well-protected for us to fully grasp. But based on the concept of prominence, we know that having more online listings can lead to better search engine rankings.

Read more about what Google has to say about increasing local ranking.

Incorrect listings can hurt

While it’s important for your business to appear in many different places across the internet, the accuracy of those listings is key.

If a business’s listing is incorrect or missing, the majority of consumers will feel less confident about the brand, likely leading them to choose a competitor’s product or service. 

Search engines may also recognize discrepancies between listings and view the business as less trustworthy.

Consistency is crucial when it comes to online listings.

What’s the best way to get started?

Not all directories are created equal. Those with more users will often be more valuable since they’ll offer your business greater reach.

If you’re not already listed online, the best place to start is with a directory like Google Business Profile or Facebook. These platforms are popular with both consumers and search engines, so getting listed on them is a great first step to improving your visibility.

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About the author

James Schweizer

James Schweizer

James Schweizer is the Director of Growth at The Holler Creative. James specializes in digital strategy, search engine optimization, and digital advertising. He loves combining timeless marketing principles with relevant tactics to drive business growth.