Listing your business online has become a norm for local businesses. But since local businesses are not adept at doing it perfectly, errors come up in the process and they end up becoming duplicate. This can turn into a significant problem for businesses over time. Data sources will have misleading, incorrect or outdated for any local business which will be scrapped by a data aggregator and transmitted through the local search ecosystem.
But what exactly is a Duplicate Listing?
It emerges when a local business has more than one listing in an online directory for a single physical location. Only one of these is considered original and all others become duplicate. Multiple negative outcomes can arise if your business has duplicate listings, harming the ability of your local business to win customers and rank well in the search results.
Defining Business Directories
A business directory is a printed listing of information, mostly a website, which lists all the businesses in various categories. They can be categorized by location, size, type of business, activity, industry, etc. Businesses can be compiled either by any automated online search software or manually.
Why do Duplicate Listings occur?
Business owners may themselves add any duplicate listing unknowingly or if they hire any external agency to do it, even those people may add a duplicate listing inadvertently. But besides these, there could be other reasons for repeat listings:
Listings added by a digital marketing agency after the owner had added the same listing previously and forgot to inform about that. In that case, the agency should ensure the old listings are removed at the same time.
Business owners themselves adding multiple listings at the same time, more because of a lack of know-how.
There could be a server or a system error on the part of the directory and the same listing gets added again.
Even the customers can add an incorrect listing if they have visited your business.
How will incorrect listings affect your business?
Some business may choose to ignore this thinking it to be inconsequential, or may think more the listings, better it will be, but the truth is that there are many side-effects of having duplicate listings, because more often than not, they are filled with wrong or incomplete information.
If the incorrect listing starts ranking higher than the original complete listing, customers can get outdated phone numbers, wrong address, and other details of your business. This will affect your business a lot.
- Google and other search engines see duplicate listings as spam, and thus, the search engine rank of your business will get lower because of this.
If the duplicate listing starts ranking higher than the original one, another problem that may come up is, the search engines may index that listing instead of the real one; and no matter what you do, how much you update your real listing, customers will not be able to reach you.
The reviews of the customers for your business will get split up into multiple listings, hence, instead of 20 reviews on one true listing, you may get 5 reviews on 4 listings each, etc. Moreover, the good reviews may be posted in the wrong listings.
Hence, it is crucial to remove these duplicate listings and ensure that your business has only one listing in the directories. You can do this manually, but it can get too much hectic or confusing. A better way to do this is to use a special software service (listing management system) like Review 360. In just a few clicks, you will always ensure and update perfect local citations, boost the Local SEO of your business and make good progress in it.