Amid COVID-19 Pandemic, Accurate Location Data Can Save Hassles and Even Lives

Updating your location data management information to reflect new hours, store closures, different contact information or special announcements is important for business success in general. In the midst of the global Covid-19 pandemic, maintaining accurate location data can actually have vital consequences for public health.

Yet a BrandMuscle study found that less than 60% of local business owners had even claimed their online business listings, which can lead to confusion about whether businesses are open or not. 

What is location data management?

Location data management is the process of ensuring that your business listings on search engines across the web reflect accurate details about your business, such as store hours, contact information, address, schedules, menus, and more. Proactively managing the accuracy of this data enables your customers to receive key information about your business at a glance.

For example, a Google search for “CVS” generates results for the Knowledge Panel pictured above. Based on this information, users can easily see that CVS is a drugstore chain, identify its hours and phone number, access directions, view pictures of the store, and more. 

Under normal circumstances, communicating accurate information about your business operations keeps customers happy. It enables them to easily call your location, make reservations or appointments, access your website to make a purchase, and prevents them from attempting to visit or contact your business while it’s closed. 

Why is accurate location data life-saving?

In light of the persistent spread of Covid-19, location data management is more important than ever. The highly contagious virus has sent shivers around the globe, shuttered the doors of countless businesses indefinitely, and drove people to shelter in place when possible. Per Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations, people are encouraged to take quarantine measures to limit the spread of disease.

If businesses don’t update their location data to reflect that they’re closed, people may make unnecessary trips to public places, putting themselves and others at risk for contagion. Concurrently, it’s critical that medical centers, grocery stores, schools, and other providers of essential services present accurate contact information and communicate changes in hours so that customers can quickly access the resources they need to stay well throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. 

You can also use location data management tools to write posts that show up directly on search engine knowledge panels and maps when people search for your business. Writing posts is a great way to effectively communicate updates as business landscapes and health situations change rapidly. For example, a dance studio may write a post notifying customers that all in-person classes have been cancelled for the next month. A restaurant may write a post to clarify that although dining in is prohibited, the business is still offering a carryout menu. 

3 easy steps to location data management success

Practicing proactive location data management is one of the most cost-effective ways to share important information with your customers—it’s completely free to claim your business listings and update them. Simply follow these steps:  

1) Claim your listing(s). You may have listings on search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing, as well as social media sites and ranking and review sites like Facebook, Yelp, and TripAdvisor.
2) Fill out your profile completely
3) Update your data as things change 

Please take a moment to update your business listings to reflect any changes to your business operations. Not only can accuracy and consistency of location data drive more visibility and sales for your business, but in this singularly challenging time, it can make a difference in the health of your communities.  

Sarah Cucchiara is vice president of performance marketing at BrandMuscle.

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