In today’s digital age, having a strong online presence is crucial for businesses. The majority of consumers rely on online information to make decisions, with a significant percentage checking online properties before visiting physical stores. While brands operate and roll our campaigns at global and national levels, purchases happen in the last mile where consumers actually connect with stores and look to make purchases. As a result, brands today, maintain a high-level digital existence through websites as well as localized digital business listings and local webpages enabling audiences to easily find accessible products and solutions near them.
So for brands today, it is a question to ponder whether to pay equal attention to the brand website and local digital assets or prioritize one over the other.
Let’s take a closer look
Gone are the days when an online presence was solely associated with having a website. The rise of mobile technology and the prevalence of maps and search engines have diversified the ways through which information about business is displayed. This means that managing brands’ online presence now requires juggling across multiple avenues. With convenience playing a key role in consumer activities today, capabilities such as business listings and local web pages make this entire subject that much more interesting and consumer-friendly.
When it comes to prioritizing efforts, it is important to recognize that both local listings and the brand website matter. However, the timing and ways in which they matter can differ on the basis of the business type. Unfortunately, many businesses neglect their third-party listings, focusing primarily on branding efforts on their owned properties. While these efforts are important, it is essential to understand that customers typically encounter digital listings first and most frequently. And with conversions taking place typically in the last mile, it is imperative to understand the role listings play as key touchpoints, in the modern-day digital ecosystem.
Research indicates that listings receive significantly greater views than a brand’s owned website, including local store pages and directories. Even if the brand website contains impeccable information, if the same details are updated and consistent across listings on search engines and directories, consumers may struggle to find the information they seek. Inaccuracies or inconsistencies in information can negatively impact local listings, which can, in turn, harm search rankings, overall discoverability, and ultimately, the business as a whole. Consumers today have limited time. Hence they want to be able to access information fast, with the least number of steps. Hence robust local listings, powered by useful business information, not only drive better rankings and better discoverability but also contribute to the credibility that consumers may associate with local stores that represent brands. By creating optimized local landing pages that are linked to digital business listings, brands can enhance the listings’ performance. Structured data on these landing pages allows search engines to associate the content with the corresponding listings. This extension of listings allows for showcasing relevant store attributes and content, running local campaigns, and offers, and contributes to improving visibility in digital search.
Today it is these local listings and webpages that offer a very strong interface, through which consumers can access products from various brands, and eventually make purchases.
While listings play a crucial role in driving search impressions, the brand website should also get its due. The website serves as a hub that provides comprehensive and controlled information about the business. And when it comes to positioning the company and the right messaging about the brand at national and global levels, it is the website that goes a long way. For leaders who desire a bird’s eye view of what a brand or business is all about, whether it’s for the purpose of business objectives, or investment purposes, or for hiring talent, it is the brand website that becomes the main source of truth.
To optimize a brand’s online presence, it is crucial to put the best foot forward with both listings and the website. While the balance may vary depending on the nature of one’s business, both components play a powerful role in driving discovery and creating a positive customer experience. No matter what kind of enterprise a business may be, investing in managing third-party information, enhancing on-site search experience, and maintaining consistent and accurate listings are vital steps to success.
Basically managing a brand’s online presence requires a holistic approach that encompasses both listings and the website. Recognizing the importance of search engine listings, optimizing them, and ensuring consistency across all channels is crucial for attracting customers and improving search rankings. Additionally, the website serves as a gateway to one’s fundamental business identity which the company wants to establish, allowing customers to know who and what a brand is, leading to further exploration. By effectively managing both listings and the website, businesses enhance their online presence, drive discovery, and deliver a great customer experience.