The One Big Thing: Follow The Data

Photo of woman checking her smart phone for business listings

Photo courtesy of theeerin.

In this mashed-up and syndicated online world, the The One Big Thing you need to know for preparing for the increasingly local and mobile Web is Follow The Data.

Have you taken a good look at your business data online? Just the essentials: Who, What, Where, When?

Any business that relies on local, feet-on-the-ground business should examine how their local listings look at, and and at the sites that feed them; they should take a look at review sites like Angie’s List and Yelp and where that data is being funneled; they should ensure the accuracy of their listings at mobile location-based sites like Foursquare, Brightkite and Gowalla.

With Yelp and Twitter recently adding location-based check-in features, it’s clear the trend is that consumers are getting information about the places they’re going to while they’re getting there, and sometimes then declaring themselves there when they’re there.

If  the data about your business isn’t accurate, you may be missing out on a lot of business. If the reviews about your business are negative, they may be causing potential customers to skip on to the next listing. On the tiny screens of smart phones, people are more likely to glance at stars than read reviews and if your business listing displays only two out of five stars, those people will likely move on to their next option without giving you a second thought.

Here’s a spot check on where the major search engines get their review data for their local business listings. This list is based on restaurant listings. It is by no means comprehensive but it will give you an idea where review aggregators get their content.

Google Local Reviews

Yahoo! Local Reviews

Bing Local Reviews

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Thank you I have been interested in starting a service to help local businesses improve their web listings. This post has given me some valuable insite into that process.