Business Listings Trust Report 2021 – How Consumers Use Business Directories
Local SEO is an easy way to give small businesses more visibility. With local SEO, your business can gain more traffic. These clicks to your site will come from people within a five-mile radius, nearly guaranteeing you purchase or conversion.
Ranking on the Snack Packs or the local SERPs involves more than optimizing your content with the tags “near me.” You might also need to do more than planning your keywords and doing so relative to your target locality.
In the world of local SEO, business directories or listings are treasured spaces. These are the online equivalents of yellow pages that can direct users to your company’s website.
Gaining a foothold in local searches means taking advantage of local business directories. To do this, you need more than the right information. You want your data to be timely.
Luckily, we at Infinitech Designs have just the timely data you need to leverage business listings. With data from the Business Listings Report for 2021, you will learn about the following and more:
- Why you should prioritize Google as your main online directory
- Which business directories to prioritize
- How business directories can make or break your chances of conversions
- How the COVID-19 pandemic has affected local business listings
So, sit back, and keep reading for the business listing information you will need in 2021.
The Business Listings Trust Report of 2021: The Contents
The Business Listings Trust Report 2021 contains data about the current state of business listings. The data points of interest in the report came mainly from the consumer’s end. More specifically, the data contained in the report gives digital marketers insight into how consumers behave towards business directories.
The data in the report provides valuable information about why business directories have grown important for users. 2020 and 2021, as we will go into later, are years of increased usage of directories. The report points to factors to which the increase in traffic can be attributed.
Also included in the report is behavior-related data. The report shows the main reasons why users turn to online directories. The data was gathered within 12 months.
There are also valuable pieces of information involving which online directories bring in the most searches. With more than hundreds of online directories belonging to various niches, the report has singled out five to be the most popular.
While online directories have been a go-to source of business information, others seem to have dwarfed them as regards their trustworthiness. Hence, the Business Listings Trust Report of 2021 also presents alternative sources of business information consumers deem reliable.
One of the most common pain points for consumers is incorrect information, particularly incorrect NAPs (name, address, and phone numbers).
The prevalence of these inaccurate and inconsistent business listings has long been established. Yet, the numbers remained relatively unknown until 2021’s report by Bright Local.
The report contains percentages about how often users come across inaccurate and inconsistent business information. Also included are the most commonly erroneous pieces of business information in online directories.
Why Do People Turn to Online Directories?
Business listings provide consumers with quick information about nearby businesses. According to Tech Jury, nearly half of all searches made on Google alone are local searches. These searches yield results from business listings and also the SERPs. Direct traffic to business websites also occurs as a result of online directories.
Recent data shows that a staggering 94% of online users turned to online directories to search for new businesses. Often, these searches were made for businesses that appeared within the last 12 months.
Indeed, these statistics present an enticing picture for new businesses trying to gain visibility. However, traffic is split when it comes to why people use business information sites. Although 66% have confirmed the above-mentioned purpose (looking for new businesses), the same number use these sites to revisit a business.
According to recent data, 66% of consumers use a business website they have already visited in the past.
Usually, their visits are driven by an intent to confirm business information. Also, many of these users revisit business sites to take a second look at services or products.
Not lagging too far behind are consumers who revisit local directories and business sites for additional information about a business. The percentage for this group stands at roughly 46%, based on the 2021 statistics.
What Are the Most Widely Used Business Directories of 2021?
The Business Listings Trust Report of 2021 shows 20 of the most widely used online directories of the year. As with the trend of past years, Google tops the charts, accounting for 89% of all local online directory searches. The current figure represents a jump from the 2019 statistics delivered by Tech Jury and Search Engine Journal.
Facebook, Yelp, and Instagram trail behind the search engine giant. In detail, 48% of online users have expressed using Facebook to find local businesses. The social media platform’s capacity to connect consumers to nearby businesses is possible with its Marketplace feature.
According to Statista, 302 million people in the United States use Facebook. Hence, it has grown into a platform with excellent ad potential.
Yelp and Instagram have also proven themselves to be influential directories, both garnering 32% of all local business searches. Interestingly, Siri has climbed the ranks as an online directory.
Siri’s popularity as a source of local business information may be due to a spike in the number of voice searches.
Based on Tech Jury’s most recent industry statistics, voice searches make up about 20% of all local business searches. This may have contributed to Siri being the local business information platform for at least 18% of all users alongside Yahoo.
The data above can point digital marketers in the right direction towards which online directories to prioritize. The rise in popularity of platforms like Siri and Amazon’s Alexa foreshadow the importance of optimizing for voice searches in local SEO.
Beyond Online Directories
Indeed, the importance of having a business cited in an online directory cannot be denied. However, recent trends are showing that marketers can maximize business visibility using other means.
Looking up a business using an online directory may create significant traffic towards the site. However, based on the Business Listings Report for 2021, nothing seems to beat a business website as the source of accurate business information.
In 2021, more than 73% of online users expressed trust in a business website. For these people, business websites are still the ultimate source for information like:
- contact details
- Services and products
- Opening hours
Business websites also prove their importance when it comes to creating a brand identity through their blog and About Us pages. For this reason, users deem business websites to be more informative and accurate than their citations in online directories.
Be that as it may, there is still much value in citations in business listings online. Based on the same statistics, 43% of online users still trust the information they read about a business from online directories.
Social media is also a major driver for local searches, indicating its value as a source of trustworthy business information. It shares the same proportion of consumers with online directories, accounting for 43% of traffic to business sites.
Voice assistants have yet to prove themselves as equally accurate sources of business information. Only 16% have reported that they trust voice assistants like Siri and Alexa for a business’s details.
These statistics prove that small businesses need to consolidate their NAPW (name, address, phone, website) in three areas — their sites, social media pages, and business listings. Even if voice assistants earned the least trust in 2021, presence on such platforms can help maximize visibility and ranking.
Consumer Pain Points With Business Directories
A significant portion of a business getting its ROI from its online directory presence is the trust consumers have. More specifically, consumers will likely gravitate towards a business that has accurate information.
Within the ambit of local SEO and online marketing, accurate means the same business details across multiple sources of citation. In other words, for business information to be deemed reliable, it needs to be consistent.
Being on a business listing can be detrimental to a small business if the information in other areas is not the same. Unfortunately, small businesses can easily fall prey to inconsistent NAPW listings.
The inconsistencies may be due to oversight in regards to updating information. A business may also quickly change its contact details or address without providing a corresponding update.
The circumstances that lead to inconsistent and inaccurate business information occur quite frequently, according to Bright Local’s report.
More than four-fifths of all online users in 2021 have found inconsistent business information from online directories.
Also, 77% found that information on a business site and other areas where it is cited provide conflicting business details.
The inconsistencies and inaccuracies do not stop at business information like NAPW. In 2021, 75% found a business website from an online directory, only to find a discrepancy in the services provided.
These sorts of inconsistencies can have a deleterious effect on a business, regardless of scale. At least 63% of online users agree that incorrect information can deter them from patronizing a certain business.
Inconsistent information can cause a business to lose as much as 92% of its potential customers, according to Local Search Forum.
These statistics prove the importance of updating business listings. Doing this regularly ensures consistency across all areas where a business is listed. This results in maximizing conversions and local SEO ranking.
What Are the Most Crucial Pieces of Business Information?
Business information for local SEO consists mainly of four things. These are:
- The business name
- Its physical address
- Its contact details
- The link to the business site
Of late, users also look for other business details like opening hours, email addresses, and even photos of the business on-location. These alongside the ones enumerated consist the bulk of what users are looking for in a business.
Of the business information mentioned, the phone number seems to be particularly crucial for consumers.
The contact details of a business website are important for roughly two-thirds of all online users. More specifically, 66% said that they will be more likely to use a business with consistent telephone numbers.
Almost of equal importance is a business address and its consistency. According to the same report, 60% said they will lose trust in a business with incorrect addresses or if they found that the business does not have a brick-and-mortar location.
Opening hours are also one of the most looked-at pieces of business information. According to Bright Local’s 2021 report, 93% looked at opening hours to determine the right time to visit the business.
Unfortunately, inconsistent business hours led to 73% being at the business establishment too early or too late.
Broken links have also been a pain point for many consumers. According to the most recent data, 86% have clicked on a link from an online directory only to find the link broken. On the other types of business information deemed crucial, photos seem to have the least bearing on trust.
However, with 45% saying that updated photos of the business matter, this aspect of a business listing needs attention as well.
While some pieces of business information seem more important than others, the numbers indicate the importance of keeping information consistent and correct.
Because of the importance contact details seem to have, responding to consumers is crucial in maximizing the chances of conversions.
COVID-19 and Business Listings
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to many consumers changing their buying behaviors. Due to restrictions in movement in some parts of the country, consumers have chosen to buy products and services online.
The change in buying behavior has brought to the fore many issues surrounding business listings. COVID-19 has caused several businesses to shift their operations from their brick-and-mortar locations to online.
As a result, more than 81% of consumers have found the businesses to be closed, at least physically.
The pandemic has also created problems in opening hours. As opening hours change erratically per state due to restrictions, businesses are challenged in updating their business listings.
The need for additional business information has also been the result of the pandemic. In particular, consumers now check businesses to see if there are COVID-19 measures in place. As of 2021, more than 70% see if businesses have COVID-19 policies, including:
- Social distancing rules
- The use of masks
- Seating arrangements or queuing rules
Key Takeaways From the Business Listings Trust Report of 2021
The statistics point to the significance of business directories in 2021. Digital marketers can use this data to optimize in several areas.
Google remains to be the top online directory for businesses. For this reason, listing a business in Google My Business can pay dividends towards maximizing visibility.
However, listing in several directories like Facebook, Yelp, Instagram and others can be helpful. With the rise in the popularity of voice search, listing a business in Siri and Alexa may also be a more popular local SEO practice in the years to come.
Echoed consistently in this report is the importance of accurate business information. Keeping information consistent across all platforms and directories helps consumers find more of what they want.
Keep your business information accurate and correct, and you will be doing wonders for your site’s ability to convert.
Indeed, doing your due diligence to keep up with marketing trends can be challenging. If you need the guesswork taken out of business listings for your local SEO, reach out to us at Infinitech Designs.
More From Infintech Designs
Infintech Designs is a digital marketing agency that specializes in helping small and medium-sized businesses succeed online.
Located in New Orleans, Louisiana, we understand the importance of making sure your business gets seen by customers searching for you on Google or other search engines—and this can be done through an effective web design strategy and clever use of ads.
We want to help make it easier for people like yourself with limited resources to get started! Contact us now!