If companies want to be found in the real world and online, they had better make sure all of their information is accurate and up to date.

There was a time when technical difficulties were mostly blamed on service providers and technology. For example, if there was faulty information in a search performed 10 years ago, most people probably assumed the fault lay with Google, the ISP or even the web hosting service. Local businesses surely couldn’t be at the root of the problem.

Today, consumers are increasingly placing the blame for bad information or incorrect data with merchants themselves – and why shouldn’t they? There’s no real reason even a regional business with one office can’t put the right information into Google Places fields. The latest research from SMX West backs up this conclusion, and companies trying to improve their web marketing fortunes should take notice.

Customers don’t like to get lost

Marketing company Placeable released the results of its latest survey at SMX West, in the presence of Googlers like Amit Singhal and high-power SEO consultants like Rand Fishkin. It found 73 percent of searchers lose confidence in companies when online location information turns out to be wrong. Additionally, 67 percent of the people surveyed said they blamed the company if they became lost in transit.

This isn’t necessarily fair, at least when it comes to directions and maps. After all, those are things Google is in charge of, and local businesses are only responsible for so much of the data used to create online maps. Still, that’s even more reason to make sure companies’ addresses, phone numbers, email addresses and social media profiles are up to date.

Don’t leave anything to chance

A thorough content marketing plan is never foolproof. Human error, confusing directions or duplicate listings can throw a wrench into the best strategies, as Brafton has previously reported. As a result, all businesses with online presences need to hedge their bets and make all information available for Google to crawl. Otherwise, the chances they draw users’ ire is increased, even if it happened through no fault of their own.

Alex Butzbach is a Marketing Writer at Brafton. He studied Communications at Boston College, and after a brief stint teaching English in Japan, he entered the world of content marketing. When he isn't writing and researching, he can be found on a bike somewhere in Metro Boston.