Whether your customers are researching a purchase or seeking out open businesses in their area, online search is the first place many of them will turn. Online business listings have become a trusted resource to find your hours of operation, business location, phone number, website, and online ordering and reservation services.

There’s just one problem with this widespread consumer reliance on business listings: all too often, the information featured in these listings are inaccurate and/or outdated. Operating hours may have changed; your business might have moved to a new location; or your products and services—and even your prices—may have changed since they were updated on these listings.

Because many business listing services copy their information from other sources, it’s easy for bad or outdated information to spread on the Internet. When businesses let this get out-of-hand, it can cost them customers and business revenue, and even damage their local reputation.

Fortunately, the solution is easy: while listing management services can help keep your business listings updated and accurate, your business can also make this reliable information easier to find by combining business listings management with paid search campaigns.

How Listings Management Improves Your Online Presence

When you enlist the help of a listings management partner, you get an online marketing partner that monitors your business listings across more than 50 online directories, searching for inaccuracies between that listing and your updated business information. With many businesses expanding their hours or introducing new updates as local pandemic restrictions gradually ease, updated listings information has become essential to winning the trust and brand loyalty of your local customers.

This management service automatically updates business information, which improves the customer experience when your target audience finds these listings through direct website visits or online search. Consistency in your business listings can also improve your business ranking in SERPs, increasing organic search referrals to your website.

While a listings management service can provide a direct impact on your organic search traffic driven through business listings, it can also present a valuable opportunity to increase listing visibility through the help of paid search campaigns.

The Value of Adding Listings to Paid Search Campaigns

If your business isn’t adding its own listings to paid search campaigns, you’re missing out on a valuable opportunity to increase visibility and referrals—especially through mobile and voice search results.

As the first page of search results has shrunk considerably on Google, for example, it’s become far more difficult for businesses to appear on that first page. Seventy-five percent of Google search users never click through to the second page, which means if you aren’t appearing on that first page, you’re probably not getting much visibility or traffic from your SEO efforts.

Paid search can help you cut to the front of the line and appear at the top of the first page of results. This can be invaluable on mobile devices where the first page of search results is limited—especially if your business is hoping to drive foot traffic from nearby consumers. In a similar way, listings can be a powerful tool to increase voice search visibility by leveraging paid placement in search results for queries such as “sporting goods store near me” or “local plumber open now.”

In the case of voice search, your listings are even more reliant on paid search because voice search queries only deliver one result. With voice search projected to account for half of all Google searches in the near future, you might drive a lot of business referrals and local visibility by using business listings in paid search campaigns.

Using Listings Management and Paid Search to Improve Your Customer Experience

The business challenges of ineffective listings management are directly related to your company’s customer experience. When listing information is inaccurate or inconsistent, it can frustrate and confuse your customers, and deter many would-be consumers from patronizing your business.

While paid search leverages business listings to increase visibility and, ideally, sales for your business, it also improves your overall brand experience by avoiding situations where your customers visit your store, for example, only to find that its online hours of operation were incorrect.

Managing your business listings is important. But it’s also time-consuming. To optimize their use of limited internal resources, most businesses are better off outsourcing listings management to a trusted service partner. Cox Media offers its own listings management service alongside the marketing and advertising services you need to reach your audience and build a local presence both digitally and in the real world. Contact us today to see how we can help.