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Business listings on Google are often wrong, especially during COVID-19

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As the global pandemic has resulted in shifting hours and closings for many businesses, keeping information current online is a struggle. Here’s how your operation can keep your listing up to date.

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Image: iStockphoto/Ivanko_Brnjakovic

If you own or manage a business, you know how important it is to have accurate, up-to-date information available on the web. So many operations rely on having customers find them via Google searches–on Google Maps, the search engine and especially on-the-go via smartphones. However, this poses a problem: how can the information be kept up to date?

Many larger operations have in-house departments that can deal with managing and updating information that appears online,but small businesses and franchises don’t often have that luxury. 

Having an accurate and comprehensive Google listing is one of the top priorities for businesses when it comes to promoting themselves, yet many of them are falling short. According to tech company Yext, 37% of businesses have the incorrect name in their Google listings, while 43% have the wrong location address and 19% are missing website URLs.  

Maintaining your business profile online means you need to keep it updated on dozens of sites–from Yelp to Facebook to Apple Maps. There is also the obstacle of the popular voice service tools, such as Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri. These platforms often rely on a separate set of data sources than a traditional Google search would, resulting in many lesser-known businesses not being easily discovered.  

SEE: New Employee Checklist and Default Access Policy (TechRepublic Premium)

Most searches now come from smartphones. As such, companies need to make sure it has its ducks in a row when it comes to zero-click searches–that’s when answers that show up at the top of search engines following a query particularly when a result doesn’t require a user to click on a business website to get the desired info. 

One simple strategy to ensure a user gets the right information is to consistently check to make sure your Google Business Profile stays up to date. Google lets you do it for free and it not only updates information on its search engine, but on Google Maps and other sites. If it isn’t done manually, the information is pulled from sources like old Yellow Book that are often no longer up to date. 

Listing issues aren’t limited to things like hours and location. If a business is not on top of making sure their picture on Yelp is correct, for example, it can run into a problem where an algorithm will pull an erroneous one about it or an user uploads something unrelated. 

Elsewhere, small businesses or franchises often are linked to corporations, and a result, a search request will land on their headquarters, but not websites for individual locations. 

One platform promises to streamline the process. Raydeus uses artificial intelligence  to help small business proprietors manage and maintain their web presence and detect deficiencies in real time on a digital dashboard, across more than 150 platforms. It’s now being used by more than a 1,000 businesses, ranging from mom-and-pop ones like Country Carpet to several SuperCuts franchises. 

One handy built-in feature of the software-as-a-service is that it detects negative comments and automatically provides an auto-response to get ahead of the curve before such remarks damage their reputation.  

These challenges for small businesses have been heightened due to COVID-19. Nicole Penn, the president of EGC, told TechRepublic that Raydeus “saw double of the usage of the platform” during COVID because the companies they service had to constantly scramble to update their hours on the web, safety policies and things like the COVID precautions they are using. She added: “Now you have so many more people looking for that information from Google before they even get to a website.” 

Businesses, now more than ever, want their customers to find them easily–that likely won’t end post-pandemic.

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This post was written by and was first posted to TechRepublic



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