When creating local business listings in online business directories, it’s easy to accidentally create duplicate listings. If you’re not managing your local listings and removing duplicate local listings, it can lead to a wide range of problems. Here are some of the major impacts duplicate local listings can have on your business.
Duplicate Listings Lead to Inconsistent NAP Data
In your local listing, you’re sharing what’s called NAP data—that is, your business name, address, and phone number. It’s important that this data is accurate and consistent since it’s what customers will use to get in contact with your business. But business contact information doesn’t always remain the same.
Whenever businesses rebrand, move, or change phone numbers, local listings need to be updated in every online directory. Unfortunately, if you don’t update listings with business changes, duplicate listings could be created by accident, as there are some websites that scrape and display data from online directories. This means you could have listings with conflicting addresses, phone numbers, and website URLs. And if your business information is showing different things, customers may not know which is correct.
Your Business Listing Can Drop in Search Engine Results
By having more than one local business listing available, your business could get pushed down in search engine result pages (SERPs) and the Google Map Pack. When search engines like Google see duplicate listings for the same business, they don’t know which listing is the best one to show in local search results. As a result, they may choose to show none of your local listings in SERPs and Google Maps.
Considering that businesses that show up on the first page of search engine results receive 92% of consumer traffic, this could be detrimental to your online marketing goals. In fact, it could lead to competitors claiming spots in search engines that could have been yours.
Customers Get Frustrated with Duplicate Listings
It’s one thing to have multiple listings for different business locations. It’s another to have multiple listings showing duplicate and incorrect data. When customers come across duplicate local listings with incorrect business information, they’ll most likely get frustrated and look for another business to visit.
In fact, 80% of customers lose trust in a business if local business information is incorrect, which can result in loss of revenue and fewer customer interactions. Whether it’s because customers were given an incorrect address, a disconnected phone number, or the wrong website URL, this can negatively impact your business’ visibility online, and you could even have listings reported as inaccurate.
Your Account Could Become Suspended
While creating local business listings is a great way to reach new customers, increase online visibility, and strengthen brand awareness, your business could face suspension if your listings don’t provide helpful and current information.
To keep your account from facing suspension, you have to manage all of your local listings across all online business directories so that you can catch duplicates and correct wrong data. If you find your account has been suspended on directories like Google My Business, you’ll have to review the Google My Business Guidelines and make sure your listing is error-free before submitting a request for reinstatement.
Reviews Are Divided Across Multiple Business Listings
By having duplicate listings, your reviews could get split between multiple listings. When a business has a large number of reviews, it’s viewed by both search engines and customers as a trust signal. But when your main listing only has a few reviews, and there are duplicate listings with more reviews, you could lose out on the benefits of online business reviews.
Remember: 87% of customers read reviews before visiting a business, and they look at the star ratings, photos, and more. If that information isn’t available on the local listing they’ve found, they could choose to go somewhere else—maybe even to one of your local competitors.