Have you ever searched for a business only to find that they have two or more business listings, each with a different address? We call these duplicate listings.In the last few years, local SEO has become more popular, resulting in more businesses using local citations to increase their chances of being found by customers. However, if a business isn’t careful, their one listing can quickly turn into five causing major headaches for them and their customers.
What Is a Duplicate Listing?A duplicate listing is when a business has more than one listing in an online directory. This can happen for a number of reasons such as a company moving to a new office or rebranding, however their impact on SEO is still the same and it isn’t good. Here’s an example: I did a quick Bing search for “Raleigh TV Repair” and found two business listings for Precision TV Repair. But which listing is accurate? The one with the reviews, or the one without? After going to their website and locating their Raleigh address, I found that the Six Forks Rd. address is correct, however a typical consumer might not have done that. For optimal results it is best to create only one listing for each business location. There are some exceptions for law offices and medical practices, but for most businesses duplicate listings should not be created. It’s also important to note that duplicate listings are not always created by business owners. While some do intentionally create more than one listing, some duplicates are created by search engines and directories.
The Negative Impact of Duplicate ListingsDuplicate listings, no matter how many, are bad. They can create confusion, not only for your customers trying to find you online, but also for the search engines. Google, Bing and Yahoo won’t know which listing is correct, even if your business is listed in their own index. By having one listing in a directory you’re sending a clear message about your business to the search engines. Other negative impacts of duplicate listings include:
- You won’t know which listing will outrank the others. Your accurate listing may never show, causing you to lose business to competition.
- Your reviews could be split among the duplicate listings and since you can’t control which listing will outrank the other, you’ll never know which reviews customers will find first.
- Just one listing with inaccurate information can be fed to directories and search engines.