Key Values of Controlling Your Listings| Hitchhikers Platform
What You’ll Learn
In this section, you will learn:
- How Listings impacts customer experience
- How Listings impacts customer engagement
- How to think about your search performance
- How Listings impacts discoverability
Key Values of Controlling Your Listings
Listings play a critical role in every brand’s digital presence, no matter the size, vertical, or geography:
Better Customer Experience
In an age of “fake news” and lightning fast information, it’s more important than ever for a brand to own their truth online. Because you don’t know where or when a consumer is going to engage with your brand, it’s critical that your information is accurate and optimized everywhere potential customers can find you.
Have you ever visited a business thinking it was open because that’s what it said on Google, only to realize it was closed when you got there? Or maybe you’ve visited the wrong location because the address listed online was incorrect. If this has happened to you, you were probably disappointed. But that may not have stopped you from visiting another business — likely a competitor of the establishment you were just at. As a brand, this is the exact opposite of what you’re trying to do with your online information — facilitating a poor customer experience for consumers interacting with your listings, and as a result driving consumers to one of your competitors.
By not actively managing your listings you are putting your brand at risk for having inaccurate data, which can contribute to consumers having a poor experience when interacting with your brand.
Increased Customer Engagement
Listings drive both in-person and online customer engagement. Having a fully optimized digital presence for your listings not only improves your chances of showing up in search, but also increases the likelihood that consumers will engage with your brand. Most consumers prefer to get the answer they’re looking for without having to click around on the web. Therefore, it’s critical that your listings are correct and optimized to help third-party services provide your business as an answer when someone asks a question that is relevant to your brand.
For example, imagine a search for “hotel near me with free wifi and complimentary breakfast?” In this example, how can search engines, maps, and voice assistants display your property as an option if they don’t know that you have free wifi and complimentary breakfast available? That’s why it’s critical to focus on the data that powers answers to consumers’ questions. If you are missing listings or your information is incorrect, you could lose critical business, ticket sales, orders, and more.
Holistic Picture of Search Performance
With information about your brand scattered across the digital ecosystem, it’s difficult to see a single, complete view of how consumers interact with your business everywhere online. By directly integrating with publishers, brands can not only push out their facts for consumers to see, but they can also receive engagement data in the form of analytics.
When a consumer starts their search experience by asking a question on a third-party service, like Google, they might then come across and engage with one of your listings. If your listings don’t give them the answer they’re looking for but they’re still interested, they may click to your brand’s website. From there, that consumer could find what they’re looking for and eventually trigger an action that you would want to count as a conversion (e.g. place an order or book an appointment). Even though this individual technically converted on your website, their search experience started by interacting with your listings.
As a business, it is critical to understand everywhere consumers are interacting with your brand. By tracking how many clicks and conversions you are generating, as well as where those clicks and conversions are coming from will help you better understand how your entities are performing in search. You can then use this information to make informed business decisions, like where to focus more paid ad spend, where to target SEO efforts, and learn what initiatives perform well online.
Listings on ALL directories, no matter how small, play a vital role in Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Having an abundance of listings with consistent information is SEO 101.
Think about the example from the last unit where you asked 10 people where a particular restaurant is and received the same answer from all of them. Receiving the same answer from all 10 people leads you to a high degree of confidence in the answer. Now imagine asking that same question but received 10 different answers? Now you likely feel less confident about which answer is correct, because of the variety of answers.
If search engines receive different signals about your brand from multiple sources, they will feel less confident and therefore, less likely to show your brand in search. Every publisher matters, and can contribute to your brand’s SEO-equity. You can learn more about SEO in the Intro to SEO module.