If you’re trying to improve your online reputation, checking the accuracy of your business information should be high on your list of priorities. Because duplicate listings may contain outdated or incorrect information, they can cause customer confusion, decreased website traffic, and lost revenue for your brand, and they should be remedied as quickly as possible. In this article, you’ll learn the causes and repercussions of duplicate business listings and discover how they can be found and handled.
CraftJack can help you manage duplicate business listings and other important aspects of your online reputation. Learn more about CraftJack Reputation Manager and sign up for a free 30-day trial to see how our service can work for your business.
What Is A Duplicate Business Listing?
A duplicate business listing occurs when an online directory or other platform shows more than one listing for a business (or business location, if multiple locations are involved). Even if each listing includes different details relating to the company or location, it is still considered a duplicate business listing.
Duplicate listings may occur on the following platforms:
- Facebook Place
- Angie’s List
- Google My Business
- Other industry, local, or general business directories
What Isn’t A Duplicate Business Listing?
Certain business models may allow for multiple listings using the same address. For example, a supermarket with an on-site pharmacy may legitimately have separate listings for the store and pharmacy because they operate independently. This also holds true for multi-practitioner businesses such as law firms, real estate agencies, and medical practices. Each listing should represent a unique facet of the business and be accompanied by its own name — or the individual practitioner’s name — and a separate phone number.
Why Duplicate Business Listings Occur
Multiple business listings are common and may occur for a variety of reasons, such as:
- Human error: If you or an employee didn’t realize a listing already existed, you may have inadvertently submitted a duplicate listing to a platform. This may also happen when a company rebrands, relocates, or makes other changes and the company representative or marketer submits a new listing rather than changing the preexisting one.
- Automation: Multiple listings may be automatically generated due to variations in data. For example, one listing may show the business name as Roberts and Roberts Legal Services while the duplicate expresses it as Roberts & Roberts Legal Services, with one example spelling out “and” and the other using an ampersand.
- Misunderstandings: Duplicate listings may happen if a contractor misunderstands a platform’s guidelines. For example, someone may wrongly create individual listings for each aspect of a business even though they’re run from the same location and use the same phone number. If you own a restaurant that offers dine-in and delivery service at the same location and you submitted listings for both, you’ve created a duplicate listing.
- Spam: Company representatives or marketers may deliberately generate duplicate listings to increase the business’s online visibility.
The Hazards Of Duplicate Listings
Although multiple business listings may seem like a great way to get more exposure, these repeat postings can actually be harmful to your website and business. Repercussions may include the following actions:
- Account removal: On some platforms, duplicate listings are considered spam and may violate the terms of service. If you’re reported by consumers or competitors, you may incur penalties up to and including removal of all listings for the business.
- Lost traffic and revenue: Duplicate listings, particularly if they contain information discrepancies, can be confusing. If customers can’t easily find accurate information, they may never find your business, resulting in lost revenue.
- Inaccurate editing: Duplicate listings may make it difficult for a company to update or edit information. If a contractor attempts to update a duplicate rather than the authoritative entry, the changes may never go live.
- Diminished ranking strength: Multiple business listings affect ranking strength, spreading it across several entries rather than concentrating it in one. Worse yet, this can cause duplicate listings with potentially inaccurate or outdated information to outrank the business’s authoritative listing.
- Affected local SEO results: NAP (or name, address, phone) consistency, which means a brick-and-mortar business’s location-based information is accurate across the web, may be compromised by duplicate listings. Inaccurate records cause NAP inconsistencies, which can seriously hinder local SEO results and keep customers from finding local listings.
- Spread of misinformation: Information from prominent search engines and industry directories is often used on other platforms. Duplicate listings with outdated or incorrect information can lead to misinformation repeated around the internet, which can be difficult to correct and may make it hard for customers to find you.
- Loss of consumer trust: A lack of clear, easy-to-find information online can cause frustration and erode consumer trust, driving potential customers into the arms of your competitors.
How To Find Duplicate Listings
You can find duplicate listings easily by visiting relevant platforms and searching for your business. Make sure to conduct several searches using variants of your company’s name, address, and phone number. For example, if the business name includes the word “and,” search for your company using the word spelled out and then search again using an ampersand.
Unfortunately, the sheer amount of online directories makes manually searching for duplicate listings tedious and time-consuming. The CraftJack Reputation Manager tool features listing management services that automate the process, so you can easily locate and dispatch unwanted duplicates.
Removing Duplicate Listings
If you’re registered with a directory, you can typically remove duplicate business listings yourself. Otherwise, most platforms offer options to suggest changes or report inaccurate information. Because guidelines vary by directory, you should visit the platform’s Help page to find out the best way to proceed.
How To Remove A Duplicate Listing On Google
Probably the most important place to manage duplicate listings is Google. Thankfully, contractors with accounts on Google My Business can remove duplicate listings by following three simple steps:
- Verify your business: If your business isn’t verified, you should see “Claim/Own this business” beside the listing. By clicking this option, you can initiate the verification process.
- View duplicate locations: Once your business is verified, view your account summary and click on “Duplicate Locations” to see potential duplicate listings.
- Delete duplicates: If you’ve identified duplicate listings, select and delete unwanted entries using the Remove option.
Contractors should also report duplicate listings on Google Maps by completing these steps:
- Find the duplicate location on Google Maps.
- Click on “Suggest an edit.”
- Choose “Place is permanently closed or has never existed.”
- Indicate that the requested change is due to a duplicate listing.
- Submit the request.
Managing Your Online Reputation
Managing your online reputation is an important part of building your contracting business, but it can be overwhelming. By starting with small but crucial tasks such as eliminating duplicate business listings, you can build a reputation that wows customers, drives traffic to your website, and ultimately improves your revenue.