Survey: Half Of Small Businesses Never Update Their Listings Online

ConstantContact’s SinglePlatform division has released the results of a new survey of small businesses (SMBs). The “headline” finding is that nearly half (49 percent) say they’ve never updated their listings online. The survey polled “more than 350” SMBs.

Most small businesses are overwhelmed and confused by even basic online marketing. This is reflected in some of the seemingly contradictory findings of the survey:

  • 50 percent of SMBs have seen listings for their business that are not accurate
  • 70 percent of SMBs say they don’t have the time to manage listings on all of the sites that consumers use
  • Only 23 percent of SMBs have a good sense of how listings drive traffic to their business

What all this means is that most SMB listings are likely to be missing enhanced or “rich” content that consumers increasingly look for and rely on to help make purchase decisions. It also probably means that original errors in the listings (50 percent) are likely never corrected.

The overwhelming majority of these SMBs (85 percent) said it’s important for them to be found on major search sites, local search apps and directory sites. And 78 percent believe that new customers will find them through these sites and apps. A previous ConstantContact survey affirmed that the primary concern of small businesses is finding new customers.

Google has said in the past that roughly 20 percent of PC-based search is related to location and local information. The company has also formally and informally has said that between 40 percent and 50 percent of mobile search is about local information or location. Different business categories see different volumes of mobile vs. PC-based search.

Here are some additional findings from the survey:

  • 84 percent of SMBs believe that having a website that can easily be viewed on a mobile device is important to their business
  • Only 25 percent of SMBs know how to create a mobile optimized web site
  • 62 percent of SMBs think it is important to be seen on major mobile apps
  • 85 percent of SMBs believe that in the future more people will be looking for their business on mobile sites

Overall, these findings highlight or illustrate the challenges that US small businesses face in managing their online information — even something as seemingly basic as managing listings information. Services such as SinglePlatform, Yext and UBL seek to simplify that process by offering a single point of entry and then syndicating local data across the internet.

Yet despite these and other efforts to simplify online marketing and provide greater “transparency” about what works and what doesn’t the practical reality is that most SMBs are more confused than ever.

About The Author

Greg Sterling
Greg Sterling is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog, Screenwerk, about connecting the dots between digital media and real-world consumer behavior. He is also VP of Strategy and Insights for the Local Search Association. Follow him on Twitter or find him at Google+.