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It is well known that business listings on sites like Google My Business or Yelp are an important part of connecting modern consumers with local businesses in their time of need, but you might not realize just how essential they are. 

A survey recently conducted by BrightLocal makes it perfectly clear, showing that 94% of consumers use business listings websites to find local businesses and more. 

Below, I’ll be breaking down some of the most interesting findings from the study:

Why Do Consumers Use Business Listings?

After showing that nearly all consumers (94%) have used business information websites in the past year, the survey asked what the respondents had been hoping to achieve. 

They found that most had multiple reasons for searching business listings, but most were driven to specifically connect with brands they’d never done business with before.

Specifically, the results showed that 66% of consumers used business information sites to find new businesses, while 66% found information on businesses they were already aware of but hadn’t used.

Meanwhile, less than half (48%) used local business listings to find information about businesses they had already used before.

Which Business Listing Platforms Do People Use?

Out of more than 20 options, the results showed that the vast majority of people used a small handful of sites to find information about local businesses.

Unsurprisingly, Google led with 89% of consumers using the service to find a local business at least once in the past 12 months

For comparison, Facebook followed with 48% of respondents using the platform for local business information

It should be noted that in many cases, a platform like Yahoo may be using another service’s search engine – such as the case with Bing. Though only 15% of users directly used Microsoft’s search engine to find local businesses, more than a quarter (28%) used platforms powered by Bing.

Additionally, the reason popular platforms like TripAdvisor or Waze don’t appear high on the list is likely that they focus on one niche, unlike Google or Facebook.

Wrong Information Is Rampant

It should be obvious that your listings need to be accurate for a number of reasons. Not only is important for potential customers to be able to actually find the businesses that offer the products or services they need, but local listings serve as powerful SEO signals as well. 

This is why it is rather surprising that most consumers say they have encountered incorrect information in business listings in the past year. 

According to the report, 85% of consumers found incorrect or incomplete information on a business listing in the last year, and 77% saw conflicting information on a business across different online directories.

Wrong Information Loses You Business

To make it clear how directly inaccurate information on your listings affects your business, 63% of consumers say that finding incorrect information on a business listing would stop them from using that business

That is more than half of your potential new customers gone because your phone number, hours, address, or other basic information are wrong online. 

How Covid Impacted Local Listings

It has to be noted that online local business listings have taken on a new level of importance over the past year because of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Quickly changing business practices, new safety measures, shifting hours, made it necessary for consumers to check online before going to any business – even ones they’ve been to dozens of times. 

For example, 74% of consumers used local listings to see what Covid-19 safety measures brands had put in place.

Unfortunately, brands didn’t always keep up their side of the bargain by updating their listings as things changes. Based on this survey’s responses, 81% of consumers visited a business that said online it was open, but that was actually closed due to the pandemic.


As the study shows, you don’t need to have your business listed on every site out there. Instead, it is better to focus on keeping your information accurate on every directory your business is on – even if you are only on a handful of local business information sites.

For more information, including additional findings methodology, and further analysis, check out the full report from BrightLocal here.

Many small businesses are pretty cautious when it comes to investing the very limited amount of time and money they have into marketing, but a new survey shows the vast majority of small or medium businesses who use online marketing are glad they did.

BrightLocal’s annual SMB Internet Marketing Survey asked 736 businesses with 1-50 employees about their feelings and use of internet marketing, mobile marketing, and marketing services in October-November 2014.

Of those who responded to the survey, 95% were businesses located within North America (92% U.S.; 3% Canada).

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When asked how effective each respondent felt internet marketing is at attracting new customers to their business, 32% said they found online marketing to be “very effective” (compared to 27% in 2013). Combined, 75% felt internet marketing is “effective” or “very effective” at attracting new customers (compared to 68% in 2013).

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The findings of the survey also show that many small businesses are still reaping significant rewards with internet marketing on a limited budget. The report says 70% of those who responded to the survey are spending less than $500 per month on marketing (compared to 73%), and 83% are spending less than $1,000 per month.

There are several other interesting findings in the study, but the overall message is clear. Online marketing is highly effective, even for businesses who don’t have extensive resources to put towards marketing.

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Reviews have always been important for reaching and maintaining success as a business, but since the rise of Yelp reviews have become essential. With the increased popularity of rating platforms and our rising reliance on them for online purchases, it is clear we are also beginning to put more trust in online reviews as well.

That is the finding of a new study from BrightLocal which highlights how consumers respond to reviews. This report makes the 4th year BrightLocal has conducted a study on consumer usage and attitudes toward online reviews and the findings overwhelmingly show that we trust online reviews now more than ever.

Myles Anderson shared the findings from the study on Search Engine Land, but the biggest highlight is the finding that 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. This is great news for businesses with primarily positive reviews, but that means negative reviews have more weight as well.

In the end, the findings just confirm what we’ve all suspected for quite some time. Finding ways to stimulate positive reviews is essential to increasing your online presence and driving new business. Otherwise, you might wind up with poor reviews and dwindling business.