As a small business owner, a steady flow of customers is critical to your success. However, if you’re like many other businesses, acquiring new customers is also one of your biggest challenges.

According to a small business survey from Capital One Spark Business, 76% of businesses face marketing challenges, with 41% stating that they’re specifically having problems identifying and reaching new customer prospects.

One of the best ways to attack this challenge is by using your online listings to your advantage. This means getting your business listed everywhere that your potential customers may be searching (apps, services, and sites) for retail stores, restaurants, and service-based businesses so that you show up for terms related to whatever your business sells.

Traditionally, this process has been incredibly time-consuming and challenging for businesses, especially if you’re a solo business owner without a dedicated marketing employee. That being said, visibility in local business search is critical, and new tools are making the process easier. Let’s start with the importance of visibility.

Importance of Local Business Listings for SEO

In today’s competitive landscape, leveraging local search engine results is crucial to boosting profit margins and attracting new customers for brick-and-mortar businesses. This includes everything from claiming your local business listings on key sites to ensuring you keep customers informed of real-time updates such as holiday hours and service changes across search engines, social networks, online directories, and other key sites.

According to a comparative listing study of 31,000 brick-and-mortar business locations conducted by our partner, Yext, an automated tool for managing local listings, found that an online listing with all fields completed received 347% more searches, 214% more Yelp reviews and 416% more listing views than a listing with only one-quarter of all available fields completed.

Furthermore, with the increasing adoption of smartphones, one-third of all searches are performed on a mobile device, and that number is only expected to grow. This shift to mobile search makes it even more important for you to have accurate local business listings, which will allow you to capitalize on micro-moments when potential customers are searching near your store.

Consumers now leverage the power of search to identify interesting local businesses, check Yelp reviews, and surf through MenuPages, all from the palm of their hands. Most interesting is the nature of these results. Consumers aren’t only increasing their searches for “nearby” businesses, their searches are becoming more specific, such as “gluten-free restaurants near me.”

Capitalizing on these types of local searches is a huge opportunity for business owners, but in order to turn local search results into a viable form of revenue, it’s essential that you’re listed on as many of these online business directories and other relevant sites as possible. If you aren’t, then you’re guaranteed to lose out on potential customers and sales.

It’s also important to note that while you might care about SEO and your Google rankings more than your Yelp page, the two are more interrelated than you might initially realize. For local SEO, Google uses relevance, distance, and prominence as its main local ranking factors. Prominence is based on information that Google has about your business across the web, which takes into account Yelp reviews and other online business profiles. This includes over 100+ online business directories, intelligent services, and sites, including: Google, Bing, Apple Maps, Siri, Facebook, Instagram, Waze, Uber and more.

How to Remove Incorrect Information from Google and Search Directories

It isn’t enough to just ensure that your company has a presence in each directory, service, and site. You also need to make sure that the information listed there (business name, address, phone number, website, business hours, etc.) is accurate. Traditionally, this has been a tedious process that involves claiming each directory listing, manually updating the information, and monitoring it on an ongoing basis, because a directory can change your business information without asking you first.

Many of these directories will create their listings from a variety of publicly available data sources like government records, bank loan data, and state tax forms. When this data changes, so does the directory listing. Yext did research into this phenomenon and found that data about a business (name, phone number, address) changed every six days.

Think about the consequences of an outdated local business listing in a directory, app, or site for a second. If your phone number is wrong, customers can’t call you. If your address is wrong, customers won’t be able to find you. If your hours of operation are wrong, customers may show up after you’ve already closed. Each of these problems can cause would-be customers to visit another local business, leading to lost sales, as well as damage to your brand and reputation.

What’s the Solution?

You could try to manage your local directory listings manually, but as you’ve seen, that process is time-consuming and frustrating. Beyond making the already stressful life of a small business owner, that much more stressful, it also keeps you away from the day-to-day of running your business. Furthermore, managing this process without a tool increases the risk of having wrong or missing data in your listings. As we mentioned earlier, this is very dangerous and often results in lost sales and a damaged brand reputation.

At ShopKeep, we give our merchants a better way: ShopKeep Spotlight Powered By Yext. This tool automates creating, correcting, and enhancing your listings across nearly 100 popular apps, services, and sites like Google, Yelp, Facebook, and Foursquare (as well as other social media platforms) all from within ShopKeep BackOffice, without wasting hours of your time.

Here are a just a few of the marketing and administrative tasks that ShopKeep Spotlight simplifies for you:

  • Can’t find your company on Yelp? Add it there as well as on 90+ other services and sites in just a few clicks
  • Google and Yelp showing the wrong hours of operation or an old phone number for your company? Update your info there, as well as on 90+ other services at once
  • Recently remodel the inside of your cafe? Enhance your listings with new photographs and other rich content like menus

With ShopKeep Spotlight Powered By Yext, it’s never been easier for businesses to ensure that rich, accurate, and actionable data is displayed in all the major listings prospective customers are using to search for restaurants and retailers.

What Further Benefits Can I Expect From ShopKeep Spotlight Powered By Yext?

Let’s explore some of the additional benefits that ShopKeep Spotlight Powered By Yext delivers to your business outside of simplifying administrative tasks.

Dramatically More Traffic

Detailed listings that included rich data like images, menus, and staff bios make your business stand out in the highly competitive worlds of retail and food service. The more your listing stands out, the more likely that a searcher will click on it, engage with your brand, and end up visiting your store. This kind of engagement can also have a positive impact on your search engine rankings. As stated earlier, Yext found that when a listing had all fields completed compared to a listing with only one-quarter of the available fields completed, it received 347% more searches, 214% more Yelp page views, and 416% more listing views. That’s a lot of traffic your business would otherwise miss out on.

Significant Time Savings

As I’m sure you know, maintaining an active and accurate presence on even five or six online platforms can be a full-time job in and of itself. With ShopKeep Spotlight, you can check-in on the health of your listings, and make any necessary updates by spending just a few minutes in the tool every week or so. Those valuable hours you save with ShopKeep Spotlight can be reinvested into other important areas of your business that might otherwise be forgotten.

Correct Your Data and Keep it That Way

With ShopKeep Spotlight, you can update your data once, and lock it so it never changes unless you want it to. Should you choose to spend hours manually fixing online listings, there’s still a strong chance you’ll still end up with inaccurate data. Remember, business listings can change based on government records, tax forms and other data sources you can’t control. It’s frustrating, but true. ShopKeep Spotlight prevents this process from happening, ensuring that you never miss the chance to make a sale or build a relationship with a customer due to inaccurate data.

How Do I Set Up ShopKeep Spotlight?

Just like our POS software, ShopKeep Spotlight Powered by Yext is designed to be simple to setup and use for small businesses. To help you get started, we’ve put together step-by-step guides, that cover everything from setup instructions to advanced use cases.

You can see if ShopKeep Spotlight Powered By Yext is the right tool for your business by logging into your BackOffice and running a free scan under the Online Listings section. This tool audits your online listings to show you missing and inaccurate data that ShopKeep Spotlight can help you correct in just a few minutes. If after running a scan you’d like to learn more about ShopKeep Spotlight, feel free to chat with us in BackOffice or wait for a POS Specialist to reach out.

Ryan Gilmore is a writer at ShopKeep.

Ryan Gilmore

As Inbound Content Marketing Manager at ShopKeep, a leading iPad Point of Sale System, Ryan Gilmore uses his extensive experience in small business technology to create educational content that helps merchants run and grow their businesses more effectively.