Written by Zach Hansen
Being present on the internet is non-negotiable if you want your business to grow in today’s world. The internet is most likely the first place your customers go when they want to get information about your business. This likely means you will list your business on online directories, such as Google My Business, Facebook, Superpages, Yelp, or TripAdvisor, amongst many others. On these platforms, customers get all the essential information they need to contact you without visiting your website.
However, putting your business on online directories can lead to duplicate business listings.
What is a duplicate business listing?
Duplicate business listing occurs when your business is listed more than once in a particular directory. It matters if the details or information present in each listing are different from each other.
For instance, let’s say you run a consultancy service under the name of Dwayne Consulting. You may find listings such as Dwayne Consulting LLC, Dwayne Consulting Inc, or other variations. These different listings may contain the same or even different information which may have adverse effects on your online presence.
Why multiple business listings are a problem
Having multiple business listings is a big deal and should be treated as such.
Multiple business listings can negatively affect your business in many ways. This includes:
If customers see your business multiple times, they most likely will not contact you and, there’s data to prove this. Some reports note that 80% of customers claim that they will not contact a business if they see multiple listings of it. The reason for this is not far-fetched. Confusion will likely lead to a lack of trust, which will discourage the customer from patronizing your business.
Violating Directory Rules
When there are more listings of your business with conflicting information, potential customers may report the profile, leading to the directory banning your profile. Even if customers don’t flag it, algorithms developed by the online directories crawl the listings looking out for spam. The chances that your business will be flagged are quite high.
If you want to edit specific information concerning your business in the future, you might face an uphill task. For instance, you might get a new or additional phone number; your business address may change, or you might have switched to a new website. Updating this information across multiple listings will be difficult.
Your Ranking and SEO
Another adverse effect that multiple listings may have is that they take a toll on your visibility. Name, Address and Phone (NAP) consistency is an essential factor in your overall SEO. Multiple listings may lead to inconsistencies in the NAP, which in turn weakens your SEO and ranking on important directories.
What causes duplicate listings?
Most times, you might not set out to create multiple business listings but end up discovering you have them. You or someone else (such as an SEO consultant) may have a created multiple listings without being aware of it. Also, if the business is undergoing major changes, such as a location move, they may create a new listing rather than edit the existing one.
The data found on listing sites are usually collected from multiple sources by computer algorithms. If there are slight differences in information for your business, they may be caught and listed as separate businesses.
How can I find and remove duplicate listings?
The first step in fixing this is to figure out a way to discover these duplicate listings. Suggestions include:
- You can conduct a manual check on Google. Here, you crawl the web for possible duplicate listings. This process is tedious, to state the least.
- Manual search on a listing website. You can go directly to a specific listing website to conduct your search. This is also tedious, although less stressful than that of the search engine.
- Automation. You can automate the entire process by investing in a tracker tool, which does a thorough and comprehensive job of singling out each of these multiple listings.
Once you have discovered them, you can now set out to fix them. The process of removing duplicate listings is usually dependent on the specific directory. For the Google My Business process, you can check here.
In general, the processes include verifying your business, claiming duplicate listings, and then getting them deleted later. If this process is tedious, you can invest in tools that automate this process.
Duplicate business listings are harmful to your business’s presence online so it’s important for you to develop a strategy to locate and fix them. By using the tips above, your online presence will be in tip-top shape in no time!