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How Duplicate Online Business Listings Hurt Rankings

In local SEO, understanding how duplicate online business listings can hurt your rankings is crucial for maintaining a strong online presence. A study by Raven found that up to 29 percent of pages have duplicated content. Duplicate listings or citations confuse search engines and negatively impact your visibility in search results. This blog post will delve into duplicate listings’ causes and harmful effects on your business’s search engine rankings.

We’ll explore various scenarios that lead to duplicate content creation and discuss strategies for identifying these duplicates. Furthermore, we’ll provide valuable insights on fixing and managing duplicate content to protect your local SEO efforts and enhance the overall effectiveness of your digital marketing campaigns.

Duplicate Online Business Listings

What is a Duplicate Listing ?

A duplicate listing occurs when the same business or service appears multiple times in online search results, with different contact information associated with each listing. This can happen if the same business has multiple websites, phone numbers, addresses, or other contact information. It also happens when businesses use incorrect data for their listings (such as outdated addresses or phone numbers), and search engines like Google and Bing pick up these mistakes. As a result, several different listings for the same business may appear on search engine results pages (SERPs).

What is Not a Duplicate Listing ?

Not all listings within the same business location are necessarily duplicates. For instance, separate businesses may operate within a single location, such as a Post Office in Shoppers Drug Mart, a Rental shop, or a Subway restaurant inside Home Depot.

Additionally, multi-practitioner offices like medical centers that house several dentists, doctors, or psychologists in one building and multi-building locations such as university campuses, hospital ERs, and government buildings are also considered separate entities as long as they each have distinct names and phone numbers. This enables platforms such as Google to differentiate between these listings.

How to Avoid Duplicate Listings ?

To avoid duplicate listings, you should ensure that all your business’s contact details are accurate and up-to-date on every platform you list yourself on. Additionally, make sure that any third-party sites such as Yelp or Yellow Pages have correct information about your company listed, too – double-check this regularly. Try to link all your web pages together so they will show up under one unified name in SERPs instead of multiple versions of the same thing appearing separately. Finally, always monitor your online presence and watch for any changes made by others, which could lead to duplication issues arising later down the line.

The Benefits of Not Having Duplicate Listings

Having no duplicate listings helps create trust among potential customers who may not be familiar with your brand yet – it looks more professional than having multiple entries for the same company popping up on SERPs which could confuse them into thinking there’s something suspicious going on behind-the-scenes at your firm.

Furthermore, having only one version of yourself present across all platforms makes it easier for people searching specifically for you as they won’t have to sort through many identical entries before finding what they’re looking for – saving time & effort while still giving them access to relevant info about you quickly & easily.

Where Do Duplicate Listings Come From?

Duplicates can come from many sources, including third-party directories like Yelp or Yellow Pages; incorrect manual entry from employees; data aggregators who harvest data from websites without permission; and even competitors trying to game the system for their benefit. Additionally, Duplicate listings also primarily arise from these scenarios:

  • Automation: Automated citation building can lead to listings errors when no duplicate suppression is available.
  • Accident: Duplicating listings can happen accidentally when someone creates a new listing without realizing that one already exists.
  • Data changes: Changes in a business’s name, address, or phone number are common reasons for duplicate listings.
  • Spam: Some intentionally create multiple listings as spam to saturate the market.
  • Lack of awareness:  Some people may create listings for each service they offer without realizing that such a practice goes against the platform’s terms of service.

Ultimately, if someone has created a malicious duplicate listing with false contact information, it can make it easier for scammers and spammers to target unsuspecting victims through phishing emails and calls pretending to be from legitimate companies like yours. This can leave both parties feeling frustrated and disappointed.

Why Are Duplicate Listings Harmful?

Duplicate listings can be a major problem for businesses, especially those that rely on local customers. When two or more listings appear in search results with the same name and address, it can confuse potential customers and lead to lost sales. Here are some of the reasons why duplicate listings are harmful:

Why Are Duplicate Listings Harmful
  • Duplicate listings can confuse consumers who may not know which is accurate or up-to-date. This could result in them visiting an incorrect location or calling an outdated phone number, resulting in missed opportunities for your business.
  • One of the duplicate listings may also contain inaccurate information such as wrong hours, address, and phone number – this could cost you valuable sales if customers don’t get what they expect when they arrive at your store or call you on the phone. The findings from our Local Citations Trust Report confirm this impact, with 93% of consumers admitting to being frustrated by incorrect information in an online directory. 
  • If there are multiple duplicates with different names but similar addresses, it will be difficult for potential customers to find your actual business online as all these other “dupes” will show up first before yours does in search engine results pages (SERPs).
  • Your competitors may use duplicate listings by reporting them to Google My Business. Hence, their listing appears higher than yours in SERPs – leading to fewer leads and less visibility for your business overall than theirs!
  • Duplicate entries can also damage your brand reputation if they contain negative reviews from disgruntled customers – this could put off potential new ones who might think twice about doing business with you after seeing these bad reviews associated with your company name address online!
  • Additionally, having too many duplicate entries listed across various directories like Yelp or TripAdvisor could hurt SEO rankings since search engines view each entry as its page, thus diluting any authority signals sent back from those sites towards yours due to content duplication issues, etc., making it harder for people searching locally find you easily via organic searches instead relying solely on paid ads only!
  •  Finally, if someone has created a malicious duplicate listing using false contact details, it makes it easier for scammers & spammers alike to target unsuspecting victims through phishing emails & calls pretending to represent legitimate companies like yours, leaving both parties feeling frustrated & disappointed once again!

How Do You Find Duplicate Listings?

Finding duplicate listings can be time-consuming, but it’s an important part of local SEO. Duplicate listings can confuse customers and search engines, so they must be identified and suppressed immediately.

  • Tools

Tools like Citation Tracker or Local Listings Health Scanner can help you spot duplicate listings. These tools use advanced algorithms to identify duplicates in local directories quickly and accurately. They also provide detailed reports that show which listings should be removed or updated.

  • Manual Searching

You can also manually search for duplicate business listings by looking up your business name, address, and phone number on various online directories such as Google My Business (GMB), Yelp., Yellow Pages, Foursquare, etc. This method is more time-consuming than automated tools, but it allows you to understand better how your business appears in different directories across the web. It’s especially useful to check whether any old or outdated information about your business is still listed online somewhere.

How to Fix Duplicate Listings ?

The first step to fixing duplicate listings is to identify them. This can be done by searching online for your business name, address, and phone number on popular search engines such as Google and Bing.

For duplicates, you should also check other sites such as Yelp, Yellow Pages, and Superpages. If you find multiple listings with the same information, these are considered duplicate listings and need to be addressed immediately.

Why Are Duplicate Listings Harmful

#1. Closing Duplicates in Authoritative Directories

Once you have identified all of the duplicate listings associated with your business, it’s time to close them down one by one, starting with the most authoritative directories (e.g., Google My Business).

It’s important to close these duplicates properly so they don’t appear again in future searches or damage your reputation online due to misinformation being spread about your business across multiple platforms simultaneously.

When closing a listing, follow the instructions provided by each directory carefully so that it is closed properly without leaving behind any traces of its existence, which could still harm SEO rankings if left unchecked over time.

#2. Monitoring For Future Duplicates

To ensure there are no further issues related to duplicate listings, businesses must regularly monitor their presence online using tools that will provide an overview of all existing local listings associated with a given business along with detailed analytics on performance metrics such as impressions & clicks from potential customers looking for services similar yours within their area region, etc.

This way, businesses can easily keep track of any new duplicates appearing at any point in time, allowing them to take action quickly before things get out of hand, resulting in long-term damage caused due to incorrect or outdated information being displayed about their brand or service offerings on various websites & directories around the web.

FAQs about How Duplicate Online Business Listings Can Hurt Your Rankings

Duplicate content can be detrimental to a website’s SEO performance. Search engines use algorithms to identify and rank websites based on their content quality, including uniqueness. If multiple web pages have identical content, search engines may recognize them as a single page and show one in the results. This reduces visibility for all other versions of that same page, resulting in lower rankings and fewer visitors from organic searches.

Furthermore, duplicate content can lead to penalties imposed by search engine algorithms if they detect too much duplication across multiple sites or pages within a single domain. To ensure the best SEO performance, creating unique and original content for each website page is important.

Yes, duplicate Yelp listings can affect SEO. Google and other search engines recognize multiple identical pages as duplicates, which can lead to a lower ranking for all of them in the SERPs.

To avoid this issue, businesses should ensure that each listing has unique content with no overlap between different listings or platforms. Additionally, they should use schema markup to differentiate their profiles from one another on various sites like Yelp.

Duplicate content can detrimentally affect a website’s SEO performance, as search engines may have difficulty discerning which version of the material is most pertinent to users. Search engine algorithms prioritize original and unique content over duplicated versions. Creating fresh and unique content to maximize visibility and improve your website’s ranking potential is important.

Google advises against using replicated content on websites, as it can harm search engine rankings. Duplicate content is defined as substantial blocks of text that appear in multiple locations online and are not substantially different from each other. Creating unique and original content for your website is important to maximize its visibility and ranking potential. Ensure your new web pages or blog posts contain substantial distinctive text to prevent Google from deeming them copies of other existing pages.


To safeguard your online presence and rankings, it is critical to identify and address duplicate listings. To effectively address any issues with duplicate listings, it is essential to understand what they are and where they come from so that you can proactively monitor them.

By proactively monitoring for duplicates, regularly checking search engine results pages, and staying on top of changes within the local SEO landscape, you can ensure that any potential issues with duplicate listings are quickly addressed – protecting both your brand’s image and its visibility in organic searches.

Don’t let duplicate online business listings hurt your rankings – contact OptiLocal today for professional local marketing solutions tailored to your needs. Take control of your reputation and optimize visibility with our comprehensive suite of services.

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