Inaccurate online listings are hurting your small business

- June 7, 2024 3 MIN READ


As a result of the cost of living, almost half of Australians are changing their spending habits and taking the time to research brands and products before buying. Elise Balsillie, Head of Thryv Australia shares how businesses can benefit or be disadvantaged by this trend.


According to WeAreSocial, over 95 per cent of that research is happening online as people browse the internet. That’s why it’s so important for business owners to make sure their online business listings are up to scratch.

It may sound like I’m stating the obvious – but surprisingly, we see many businesses miss the mark by publishing incorrect details.

Your online listings serve as a virtual storefront, containing details such as your business name, address, phone number, services and key information that helps your customers make informed decisions leading to purchases.

Get this part wrong, and your customers will look for an alternative solution.

Missing or inaccurate information, such as a bad address or incorrect phone number, means that shoppers need to take extra steps to find your business or get in touch, often resulting in significant missed revenue opportunities.

4 common causes of incorrect listings

Duplicate listings

Duplicate listings are typically the result of:

  • Business owners adding multiple listings unintentionally.
  • Customers input incorrect information via channels such as online reviews.
  • Customers or listing site owners create listings for your business.

While duplicate listings might appear harmless, they can negatively affect your search engine optimisation (SEO) as the search engine recognises duplicates as a form of spam and may rank your business as less than trustworthy.

Missing information

Missing information on your online listings creates a barrier between you and the customer. Always check that your listing includes a name, address, phone number and link to your website.

There are two reasons for this:

  • You want your customers to be able to reach you through their preferred method effortlessly.
  • Without this information, search engines are less likely to recommend you to consumers in the first place, meaning you may not even get the opportunity to compete for their business.

Outdated information

When you’re changing something about your business like a phone number, hours of operation or even your address, updating your business listings can be overlooked.

Take the time to check your online listings on a regular basis to make sure that they’re up to date. While your listings might be at the back of your mind, it’s the first port of call for your customers.

Incorrect Information

 For local business owners, this can be the most frustrating issue with business directories – you can have incorrect online listings on the internet that aren’t your fault. Incorrect online listings can pop up without your knowledge or input.

How does this happen?

While the web is great at aggregating data, it’s also good at making assumptions and asking users to verify information. For example, asking patrons who have recently left a restaurant if the business hours of operation were correct.

It happens all the time and while most customers aren’t maliciously trying to add incorrect information to your listings, a quick “yes” or “no” from them could result in an incorrect online listing for you.

If you want to make sure you’re setting your customers up to find you and reach out with ease, always include:

  • Business address/location
  • Directions
  • Hours
  • Reviews
  • Contact information (email or phone number)
  • Pricing information
  • Promotions
  • Payment information

By harnessing the power of online listings, you’ll increase visibility, attract new customers, build trust and contribute to long-term growth.

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