When a business happens to have more than one listing on a particular platform like Google My Business. For instance, ABC bakery situated in Lane 15 can have one listing on Google My Business, one on Facebook Place, and so on. If ABC bakery has more than one listing on either of the platforms, it will be known as a duplicate listing.
In the words of Google Guideline- “Do not create more than one page for each location of your business, either in a single account or multiple accounts.”
Duplicate listings can really cannibalize your SEO and may create big confusion amongst the potential customers making them leave. Because instead of trying to figure out the right listing when conflicting data appears in search results, users may choose not to click on any of them.
Search engines tend to become super hesitant to trust a business with a duplicate listing because it gets more difficult to verify if the name, address, and contact information are authentic. Lastly, the valuable reviews and comments are split between the two listings causing their value to diminish.
So, it is always advised to keep a track of your online activities or find an SEO professional who would do that for you. Because why would you want to lose business over minor confusion or problems?
Why Do Duplicate Listings Exist in The First Place?
Ok now that we know how badly duplicate listings have been affecting us, let’s try to understand how we even end up getting those! There are many reasons that a duplicate listing may end up taking place, some of those are:
Lack of Awareness: Someone unaware of guidelines and online practices may unintentionally create duplicate listings because they don’t know what is considered a violation. Sometimes, people end up creating a duplicate listing because they end up forgetting about the first one or just don’t realize that one listing is enough to demonstrate all their products & services.
They’re Automatically created: Duplicates with minor data changes may gather on a single platform due to the way data moves from one local business data index to the other. For instance, ABC bakery could end up being listed as ABC bakers & ABC bakery because Google got the information from two different platforms.
Someone Intentionally Added them: In an effort to boost the rank on the SERP, a company may have established several listings to represent distinct products and services, despite the fact that this approach is against most listing platform guidelines.
It can be an accident: It could so happen that someone from your team creates a citation on a platform where you already have listings. If you’ve been developing citations for a while and have lost track of sites where a business listing already exists, or if you hire someone new that doesn’t have a complete inventory of existing business listings, this can easily happen.
To eliminate the issue of unintentional addition, maintain track of all existing listings in a place where everyone on your team can see them.
What’s NOT a Duplicate Listing?
Multiple listings on a platform that reflect forward-facing divisions in an organization, professionals at a multi-practitioner organization, or buildings on campus are not duplicates. They aren’t duplicate portrayals of the company; they’re distinct sides of the company, and Google and other platforms can tell them apart if they each have their name and phone number. Make sure you’ve carefully examined Google’s requirements to see if your business strategy qualifies for multiple listings. You can also keep your online presence streamlined by incorporating essential inbound marketing techniques required for an online business.
What’s Such a Big Deal About Duplicate Listings Anyway?
Why can’t we just let the duplicate listings be and move on with our lives? Will it not increase the chances of my business getting discovered? As we have already discussed, duplicate listings can really hurt your business.
It confuses customers: When your business has several listings with inaccurate information, search engines can’t tell which one is correct. This can lead to inaccurate information about your company being featured on a search engine.
Customers may be given the incorrect phone number or location, or any other information about your company may be incorrect. This is the exact opposite of what you want: accurate and easily accessible information about your company.
People don’t trust duplicate listings: People are skeptical of duplicate listings because they find it confusing. According to research, 80% of consumers feel that if a brand’s business name or the contact information is incorrect, they will stop trusting it.
Because most people search for a business online before going to a store, having a misleading business listing can cost a firm a lot. You are practically just sending away the business to your competitors.
Duplicates can outrank genuine business listings: A misleading listing outranking your business should be something you must avoid at all costs. Many types of Google My Business (GMB) spam exist, including duplicate locations, phony firms, and keyword stuffing, all of which pose a threat to the success of legitimate businesses and their local SEO campaign.
Greater risk of data inaccuracy: Inaccurate data on duplicate listings on one platform is transferred down to other platforms pretty easily and quickly, leading to an increase in duplicate listings.
How Are Duplicate Listings Hurting My Local SEO?
The reviews get split up: All the reviews and feedback are distributed across numerous listings rather than being focused on one eventually losing its value.
Google wouldn’t show your website AT ALL: Amidst all the incorrect information and poor performance of the listings, it may so happen that you end up losing your website details on Google and people might not be able to view your website at all.
Duplicate listings often promote incorrect/outdated information: Data sources for a single business will often include inaccurate, outdated, or confusing information, which will be scooped by a data aggregator and distributed throughout the local search results.
Finding And Removing Duplicate Listings
Don’t worry if you have come across a duplicate listing. You can always get rid of them through manual or automated means. More than increasing traffic and visibility for your company, removing duplicate listings allows you to take complete control of your online presence and develop trust with a prospective consumer.
By giving accurate and up-to-date data on a listing, you make it easy for customers to make educated decisions from a reliable source, which helps you attract and retain customers.
Use tools to automate the process- Moz Local removes confusion with their automated process that identifies, confirms, and deletes duplicate listings (other tools can help in this end is the SEMrush Content Marketing Platform).
Manually close the listings- You can manually close the duplicate listings on the required platforms, either with the help of a form, a voice call, or an email. Each platform may have its set method of closing the listing.
When we are trying to stay at the top of our local search game, being consistent is the key. To maintain the accuracy in SERP, you have to ensure that only one proper listing is present. Consistency in your listings helps to unify customer reviews, enhances search effectiveness, and boosts customer trust in your business offerings.