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Could Duplicate Listings Drive Away Customers?

Your listings in various directories and other web references probably bring more customers to your business than you realize. Just think about the number of times you may have searched for restaurants when you were hungry or googled tire shops that are open on Sundays. Whatever your business is, people are often depending on search engines to find you.

But could having duplicate listings be sending potential customers looking elsewhere?

Let’s make sure we’re on the same page as far as understanding what duplicate listings mean. A duplicate listing happens when you have more than one listing for a single business location in a web directory. Some of the major or more common ones would include Google My Business, Google Maps, Facebook, Yelp, Manta, Superpages, and Yellowpages.

Duplicates can happen in a number of different ways. Sometimes they are created intentionally but often unknowingly. Maybe your business moved and you created a new listing with your changed address. Sometimes customers try to help and suggest or create listings for you. Some businesses have created duplicates because they can’t find their original listing due to differences in the business title or other given information. Whether or not you meant to list your business multiple times in a directory, it can have real effects on your business identity and whether or not people find you.

First of all, multiple listings in a directory can cause confusion for search engines. When you have more than one listing, search engines have to try to decide which one is giving the most relevant and accurate information. As you’ve probably already guessed, they may not necessarily choose to show the most accurate listing. Sometimes, the confusion could cause them to not bring up your business in searches at all. In a worse case scenario, having multiple listings on Google My Business could cause you to be seen as a spammer (as innocent as you may be). When Google sees you aren’t sticking to their guidelines about only having one listing per location, suspension of your listings could be the outcome, including the one that most accurately reflects your business.

Secondly, duplicate listings can cause confusion for your potential customers. Whether they happen upon your listing with an incorrect address and show up at the wrong place or have to go through the hassle of figuring out which one is accurate, it probably won’t be the best experience for them. They may find it easier to choose your competitor who has one listing that sends a clear message about their business. Let’s face it, inaccurate information, even if it’s not the listing you intended for people to find, could be driving away your customers.

Finally, let’s talk about reviews in regards to your listings. If you’re like me, you’re unlikely to buy something or go somewhere without checking out business reviews. And trust me, the more there are the better. The problem with having more than one listing is split reviews. Some customers may have reviewed your business on the listing you intentionally created. Others may have found a duplicate and left their reviews there. You could end up with more reviews on a listing that isn’t even accurate, which could cause your correct listing to be outranked. That’s a problem, isn’t it?

If gaining customers is important to you as a business and you depend on local SEO at all for that purpose, making sure you have only one clear listing in a given directory makes a lot of sense.

Tips on checking for duplicates:

  • Claim an existing listing even if it’s old, inaccurate information instead of creating a new one. Then you can make any changes to update it.
  • When doing a manual search for your business, make sure to search for any possible variants in the business title and try old addresses before assuming no listing already exists.

Featured Tools:

Not sure how you’re doing with your business listings? Use this handy tool available on our website to do a scan of your listings:

You can breathe a sigh of relief…because you don’t have to search the web for every single listing and claim and correct them all individually. These tools allow you to manage multiple listings from a single location. With different plan options, you are able to do things like suppressing duplicates, bulk updating your listings, and feed your accurate info to the most relevant channels across the web. Here are some of the tools you may find helpful:

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