More isn’t necessarily better when it comes to online listings. Having multiple listings for a single business location can make it harder for customers to find the business and negatively impact search engine rankings. In some cases, publishers like Google may even penalize businesses in the form of suspensions if they discover duplicate listings during routine reviews.
Duplicate listings are a common occurrence in online directories. Don’t assume that your business doesn’t have any duplicate listings just because you have only “claimed” one listing on each of the directories. Duplicate listings with the same business name, address, and phone number can be added to these platforms at any time, and they’re almost always unmanaged by the business.
Sometimes they occur because the data used to populate the directory is scraped by an aggregator. Other times they occur because customers have inadvertently created their own listings when they “checked in” to the business on platforms like Facebook or Foursquare. Regardless of the cause, duplicate listings can be a thorn in the side of local business owners.
Here is what to do if you find yourself with duplicate listings in online directories:
Suppress, Merge, and Remove Business owners who want to fix duplicate listings will have to decide which course of action to take--suppression, merging, or removal.
Suppressing duplicate listings involves masking the duplicate data for a certain period of time. The process doesn’t actually remove the duplicate listing, but it does hide it for a certain number of weeks or months. Some companies will charge businesses to suppress duplicate listings, however those listings will return when the paid relationship ends.
Merging duplicate listings is a more popular approach. Merging duplicate listings involves combining two or more listings into a master listing. This ensures that incorrect data is permanently removed from the local ecosystem and that URLs for merged listings are redirected appropriately.
Most publishing platforms have forms that businesses can fill out to request that duplicate listings be merged or removed, however the process itself can be lengthy.
Companies like Brandify help businesses expedite the merging and removal of duplicate listings by connecting directly with their own publishing and data aggregation partners. This process is done using a combination of technology and human effort to identify all duplicates, interact with entities at the multiple publishing platforms, resolve any ownership conflicts, and provide ongoing support to the business in claiming rogue listings that may appear in the future.
Click here to learn more about Brandify’s approach to listing deduplication.