wrong-local-business-dataIt’s no secret to business owners that business location data is all over the place…but figuratively and literally! Businesses have multiple entries across the multitude of data platforms on the web, with conflicting information. The result is one messy situation for both business owners and marketers alike.

There are people who study this sort of thing, providing valuable data to these marketers and business owners, who are stuck dealing with a mess they didn’t create. We thought it would be interesting to offer our readers a “roundup” of what some of these studies have revealed about the state of affairs in local business data accuracy across the web.

What Exactly is the Problem?

There are basically five areas of concern the data inaccuracies found on local business listings across the 50-odd local directory sites. Here they are, in order of most common problems:

  1. Wrong Address or Missing Address
  2. Wrong Name of Missing Name
  3. URL of the business website is missing
  4. Wrong or missing phone number
  5. The business simply isn’t listed

Who Exactly is Having These Problems?

Some industries have it worse than others. Analysts looked at the issues with listings but they also looked at who was most often having these problems, in terms of business category.

For each of the data problems listed above, there are top industries experiencing those problems. For example, the Finance and the Property companies  seem to have a lot of missing listings, where a business simply doesn’t exist in the directories…anywhere!

Accountants and estate agents also witness problems in the directories with an incorrect business name or it’s simply missing.

Why Do Some Industries Have More Problems Than Others?

It’s worth mentioning that the nature of some industries makes them more prone to local data inconsistencies. Insurance and Real Estate professionals are often independent agents who align themselves with different parent companies every so often- sometimes very often. Of course that makes if extremely difficult for online directories to keep up.

Hotels often get misrepresented because local versions of large chains use a slightly different name for themselves than the parent company uses for them (think London Hilton vs. The Hilton in London).

Companies who use both a toll-free and a local telephone number had a high degree of inconsistency in this area, since this is exactly the sort of thing that confuses the heck out of data aggregators. As a result, finance and banking suffered the most problems with missing or incorrect phone number in the directories.

These are All Problematic, But There’s One That’s Worse Than the Rest

Having the wrong phone number is bad enough, but what’s really worse for your business is when the URL of your website is wrong or missing! At least if that’s correct, visitors who find you on a directory listing can visit your website for the correct info or to find out more about what you have to offer.

Business owners, if you take anything from this, it should be to make sure your website address is correct on all the online directory sites- it will make a real difference to your business! With so many ways to achieve data consistency these days, it’s surprising to find so many problems like these still exist.