1. Introduction
Article #1.11

Synchronising data across profiles - Why your information needs to be similar?

I know you might have already heard about it, but let me state this again: Nearly about 95% of the users uses search engines to find the address, phone numbers, hours of operations, price list (and other business details) of a local business to shop locally. This means that your potential customers are looking for your business. But, will they find you? Oh, I guess this accelerated quickly, let’s take it a little slow.
Well, the potential to attract traffic through local search is enormous (deduced from the stats given above). This makes it imperative for every local brick-and-business owner to get “high on Local SEO” (pun intended).
The Local search marketing campaign involves getting listed at all the relevant places; niche and generic directories, Google local etc (in short, any place where your potential customer might look for you) as a major step and in a way the first place.
Getting listed? It’s simply submitting your business details or making a profile of your business across all these directories. So, whenever the customer does one of his/her ‘near-me’ searches, these directories would display your profile (business details: NAP, hours of operations, reviews etc) in the results. This is how the users reach you.  
Needless to say, the more number of listings you have across the web, the more is your visibility, leading to greater chances of being found and ultimately, converting. Additionally, consistent mentions about your business at places also increases the authenticity of the business in the eyes of Google.
But what if your business details is appearing different at different places? Is it going to affect the customers? What about Google? And most importantly, rankings? Would all of these get affected if your business details are mentioned in different versions at each directory? What will be the consequences? Let’s talk about it!


If you are doing Local SEO for quite some time now, you would well acquainted with this trinity of information. It stands for your Business Name, Address and Phone Number. These are the basic details that the customer might need to reach your business. Quite easy, right? So, let’s complicate it now.
A survey revealed a very discouraging trend about SMBs, stating that 85% of small businesses feel that it’s important to be listed on local search apps and directories,  but only half of these businesses have ever updated their business listings online! Fifty percent of these businesses know they have inaccurate listings, but 70 percent say that they don’t have the time to update them at all! 
Now, if you consider the local ranking factors by Moz, “listing detected at false business location” constitutes the first negative ranking factor, “mismatched NAP being the third”. So if you do not have synchronized mentions of your NAP across profiles on the web, these kind of accuracies might end up killing your SEO, ultimately giving a negative hit to your rankings.

  • Accuracy: Your Business Name, which is actual identity. Suppose your business name is “Casey’s Crispy Rolls”, but instead you accidently put this as “Caseys’ Crispy Rolls” in one of the citations, the directory might list you inaccurately. This would not only confuse and mislead the users but would also lead to the search engines indexing them as separate businesses. The same case holds with your Business Address. A physical location lays the very foundation of your local business. If you even miss out on putting the accurate street name in your address, you might lead the customers to a totally different location, (where your business does not even exist), leaving him/her furious. Similarly, your Business Phone number is a way for the users to connect and reach out to you. Any inaccuracy in even entering a single digit would confuse your users and would ultimately lead to the customer giving up on you.
    Now, if the concern is just about creating listings, then Google might get confused between businesses. I mean, could you count on fingers the number of “pizza restaurants in London” or “ice cream parlours in Manhattan”? Its therefore, very important for a legitimate business to have accurate NAP across the local landscape.
  • Consistency: It’s also important that your NAP is consistent across various local directories, mentions, citations, listings. This means your NAP on Yelp should match with that on Foursquare, Google+ and so on. This is a kind of challenging task for the local business owners, for the simple reason that business information changes frequently. You might change your business name slightly or get a new phone number or decide to open your branch at a different location or completely shift to a different place. In situations like this, you should update the above information in the all directories to maintain consistency. This is very important for the users (to get what they thought they would get) and the search engines (for crawling and indexing your business). 

Details of your business:

A study from Local search association & Burke Inc revealed that the customers look out for the following details of local business while doing a local search:

As we can see from the image, the customers apart from the name, address and phone number of the business also want to know other information like hours of operations, website of the business, the forms of payments that the business accepts, features of the product that the business offers, the price list, pictures, videos etc.
The principal of accuracy and consistency also applies here. Let’s take an example of one aspect: forms of payments.

Accuracy: Suppose you are a restaurant who accepts cash and card payments. But while building your listings, you accidently miss out on putting “card payments” in your details. Any customer who prefers card payments or is short on cash would definitely not be interested in you. This way you could lose out on a pretty good business.
Consistency: Taking the same example as above, you mentioned “card payments and cash payments” on Yelp, but you only mentioned “only cash payments” on Foursquare. This would confuse and give incomplete information to the users which will be reflected in their trust in the business.
This is just one aspect I talked about. There are various other details of your business (as shown in the image above) that are important to be listed consistently and accurately at various directories, listings, mentions and citations in order to give the correct and updated information to the users and also, to build trust in the eyes of Google.


Let me start with some stats here: 90% of the customers said that their buying decisions are influenced by reviews. That’s a pretty big number. It also depicts that your conversions, to a lot of extent depends on your reviews.
Now, if you do not have synchronized data across profiles at various directories, you might lose on reviews. Let me explain you through an example:
You have a restaurant listed as “Casey’s eating joint” (which is your actual name) on Foursquare but, on Yelp you are listed as “Casey’s eating point”. 
I personally prefer Foursquare than Yelp when it comes to finding italian restaurants. Suppose I, along with my friend, go to your restaurant (it obviously has to be italian). I loved the food there and felt like writing a review of it on Yelp, but could not see your restaurant listed there. Now why would I write a review for “Casey’s eating point”. I, as a customer has no idea that “Casey’s eating point” is the same as “Casey’s eating joint”.
I guess I made my point pretty clear. If you do not have consistent profiles across directories, listings, mentions and citations, you might lose out on some really good reviews on account of the confusion created.  

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