Duplicate listings are responsible for much of the bad data that plagues local businesses online. In addition to damaging credibility and reducing visibility, duplicate listings can spread to other sources and result in even more duplicates across the web.
Whether duplicate listings are created by accident or on purpose (perhaps by business owners who wrongly assume it will help SEO), they are always detrimental to the business’ local presence. Though it takes time and patience to clean up local citations, it’s well worth the effort! Here are five reasons businesses should be concerned about duplicate listings.
1. Inconsistent Business Details
In the realm of local search, duplicate listings are a form of cannibalization. Duplicate listings that appear in search results or local directories are competing to outrank each other. Rather than improving SEO, this creates extra noise and can turn off consumers. Worst of all, updated listings might be outranked by older listings with inaccurate details about the business, which is detrimental to both the business and consumers seeking information online.
2. Customer Confusion
Duplicate listings create confusion for potential customers – especially if the details on certain listings are outdated or inaccurate. When conflicting data shows up in search results, rather than trying to guess which listing is correct, consumers might not bother clicking on any of them. Duplicate listings reduce consumer trust in all information related to the business online.
3. Negative Impact on SEO
Aside from muddling up the business’ online presence and frustrating potential customers, duplicate listings are also a negative ranking factor in local SEO. Search engines are reluctant to trust a business with duplicate listings because it’s harder to verify that the name, address, and contact information are correct. This means the business is less likely to appear in consumer search results and will rank below any competitors that maintain a consistent online presence.
4. Fragmented Customer Reviews
Customer reviews provide a major signal boost and help build trust for local businesses. Having duplicate listings means that these valuable review signals might be split up among different business listings, thereby diminishing their effectiveness. Collecting positive customer reviews increases the strength of a business’ local SEO.
5. Even More Duplicates Created by Bad Data
Having duplicate listings in one or two directories is often not an isolated issue. What starts as a single oversight can quickly turn into a widespread problem. For instance, a duplicate listing submitted to a data aggregator like Infogroup can lead to hundreds of duplicate listings across the web because the information is shared with so many other websites.
Duplicates like this can occur if the business name is slightly off or the address is reversed. An example would be submitting 123 Main Street as the address for a business that is actually located at 321 Main Street. If the business resubmits a new listing once the error is discovered, instead of correcting the sources where the bad data originally appeared, you end up with duplicates – and lots of them.
Solve Duplicate Listings Once and For All
It’s important to take accurate data and duplicate listings seriously and nip the issue in the bud as quickly as possible. Bad data is a big issue that plagues all businesses, no matter the size.
Are you ready to start cleaning up duplicate business listings for the local businesses you represent? Speak directly to a local expert today.